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text 2018-05-07 14:08
The Land of Painted Caves (Earth's Children #6) by Jean M. Auel
The Land of Painted Caves: Earth's Children Series - Jean M Auel,Rowena Cooper,Hodder Headline Limited
This is the final book in the Earth's Children series and it follows the journey of Ayla, as she attempts to become a Zelandonia (read: medicine woman) of her adopted tribe the Zelandonii. Ayla must survive in a prehistoric world in which danger lurks at every corner and life is dependent upon gathering from the land, while going through rigorous training which will test all of the skills that she has developed to date. Most people who train for the Zelandonii are not mated, let alone have children and so this journey will test Ayla's  relationship with Jondalar - the first human she met after being expelled from the Clan.  Will Ayla finally come full circle and be welcomed and cherished by the others from whom she was seperated from so many years ago?
 
I know that normally when we a review a series, we start with book one and follow through until the end but because I first read clan of the Cave Bear when I was a pre-teen and didn't know until recently that Auel had finally gotten around to finishing the series, starting at the beginning just felt like too much. Including a review of The Land of Painted Caves is a bit of a stretch on Fangs for the Fantasy given that it's not exactly paranormal; however, it does fall clearly into the realm of historical fantasy.  Auel has clearly done a lot of research into the tools used in prehistoric times and created a world which includes a creation myth and a religion that we can only imagine because not much survives from this time.  
 
The Land of Painted Caves is seven hundred and fifty-seven pages long and could easily have been cut down by a minimum of three hundred pages.  It was only my determination to see this story through to the end because of the fact that I started this series so young which caused me to  persevere to the end. It's quite possible to skip entire pages at a time and not miss a single thread of the story. The Land of Painted Caves is absolutely the definition of over written and pointless. 
 
It's not surprising that given the fact that modern science as we understand it is thousands of years away in The Land of Painted Caves that Auel had her characters worship natural spirits.  It makes sense to me that Auel had the Zelandonii practice a form of earth based religion; however, said worship quickly became tedious. Because the Zelandonii are in a pre written word stage of development, they practice an oral tradition of passing on information.  Auel took this oral tradition too far because she insisted on writing "The Mother's Song" repeatedly throughout the novel.  
 
Out of the darkness, the chaos of time,
the whirlwind gave birth to the Mother sublime.
She woke to Herself knowing life had great worth,
the dark empty void grieved the Great Mother Earth.
The Mother was lonely. She was the only.
 
From the dust of Her birth she created the other,
A pale shining friend, a companion, a brother.
They grew up together, learned to love and to care,
And when She was ready, they decided to pair.
Around Her he'd hover. Her pale shining lover.
 
She was happy at first with her one counterpart.
Then the Mother grew restless, unsure in Her heart.
She loved Her fair friend, Her dear complement,
But something was missing, Her love was unspent.
She was the Mother. She needed another.
 
She dared the great void, the chaos, the dark,
To find the cold home of the life-giving spark.
The whirlwind was fearsome, the darkness complete.
Chaos was freezing, and reached for Her heat. 
The mother was brave. the danger was grave.
 
She drew from cold chaos the creative source,
Then conceiving within, She fled with life force.
She grew with life that She carried inside.
And gave of Herself with love and with pride.
The Mother was hearing. her life She was sharing.
 
With a thunderous roar Her stones split asunder,
And from the great cave that opened deep under,
She birthed once again from her cavernous heart,
Bringing forth all the creatures of Earth from the start,
From the Mother forlorn, more children were born.
 
Each child was different, some were large and some small, 
Some could walk and some fly, some could swim and some crawl.
But each form was perfect, each spirit complete,
Each one was a model whose shape could repeat.
The Mother was willing. The green earth was filling,
 
All the birds an the fish and the animals born,
Would not leave the Mother, this time, to mourn.
Each kind would live near the place of its birth,
And share the expanse of the Great Mother Earth.
Close to Her they would stay. They could not run away.
 
They all were her children, they filled her with pride
But they used up the life force she carried inside.
She had enough left for a last innovation,
A child who'd remember Who made the creation,
A child who'd respect. And learn to protect. 
 
First Woman was born full frown and alive,
And given the Gifts she would need to survive.
Life was the First Gift, and like Mother Earth,
She woke to herself knowing life had great worth.
First Woman defined. The first of her kind.
 
Next was the Gift of Perception, of learning,
The desire to know, the Gift of Discovering,
First Woman was given the knowledge within,
That would help her to live, then impart to her kin.
First Woman would know. How to learn, how to grow. 
 
Her life force near gone, the Mother was spent,
To pass on Life's Spirit had been Her intent.
She caused all of Her children to create life anew,
And Woman was blessed to bring forth life, too.
But Woman was lonely. She was the only.
 
The Mother remembered Her own loneliness
The love of Her friend and his hovering caress,
With the last spark remaining, Her labor began,
To share life with Woman, She created First Man.
Again She was giving, One more was living.
 
To Woman and Man the Mother gave birth,
And then for their home, She gave them the Earth,
The water, the land, and all Her creation.
To use them with care was their obligation. 
It was their home to use, But never abuse.
 
For the Children of Earth the Mother provided,
The Gifts to survive, and then She decided,
To give them the Gift of Pleasure and caring,
That honors the Mother with the joy of their sharing.
The Gifts are well earned, When honor's returned.
 
The Mother was pleased with the pair she created,
She taught them to love and to care when they mated.
She mad them desire to join with each other,
The Gift of their Pleasures came from the Mother.
Before She was through, Her children loved too.
 
Her last Gift, the Knowledge that man has his part.
His need must be spent before new life can start.
It honors the Mother when the couple is paired,
Because woman conceived when Pleasures are shared.
Earth's Children were blessed. The could rest. 
 
Reading this horrendous poem one time in an over seven hundred word tome, is not necessarily a bad thing but reading it repeatedly because for some bizarre reason, Auel was determined that readers be beat over the head with her creation myth is just not forgivable. I perhaps could have gotten over the poem that just wouldn't end if Auel didn't decide to send Ayla on a tour of supposed sacred caves. On Ayla's first trip in, I read through the speculation as to why there were paintings on the cave walls, as well as justifications as to why said cave was supposedly sacred (note: because of echos apparently) and I really was fine with it but by about the tenth cave I was done. I found myself begging for mercy. How many times does one have to read about how amazing the long forgotten artist was or how important it was to create an echo to prove sacredness? Give it a rest already.  By the half way point, anytime they entered a cave I started skimming for the sake of my own sanity. 
 
 
 
 
Source: www.fangsforthefantasy.com/2018/05/the-land-of-painted-caves-earths.html
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text 2018-01-02 18:01
My top reads of 2017 - the top 3!
Bad Sister - Sam Carrington
I Am Watching You - Teresa O'Driscoll
Tastes Like Fear: DI Marnie Rome 3 - Headline Digital,Sarah Hilary,Imogen Church
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review 2017-05-28 13:57
Highly original polished cyber thriller
Playing with Death - Doug Headline,Simon Scarrow,Linda Francis Lee

This is an edgy, pacy, futuristic and oh so very polished cyber thriller. At its centre is the author's idea of what life could be like beyond "Second Life" (virtual world for the sad and lonely geeks!) The skin suit:  a totally immersive online experience from software giants Wadesoft....."where the person wearing the suit can be made to feel the physical sensations of whatever software simulation the program is running...." Once the user enhances his body by wearing the skin he can enter the Streamplex where all his needs and wants can be realized in a virtual environment.

 

FBI agent Rose Blake has failed in her mission to capture and incarcerate  Shane Koenig, a killer who performs the most heinous deaths on this victims before uploading the video to his KKillKam site which is viewed by those who troll the shadowy side of the internet...the darknet. She has no time to dwell on past mistakes and must now use all her energy to investigate a suspected arson. However when a body is discovered Rose will commence a journey that will see her become engrossed in a world of online fantasy and video games, a world without rules or regulation and a world where she will encounter unexpected help in the form of project DIVA (an intelligence that can think for itself and make decisions) amidst "an orgy of virtual massacre and destruction."

 

Having not read Simon Scarrow's historical novels ( a mistake I plan to rectify) I was intrigued by his latest offering an almost futuristic crime thriller which goes beyond the virtual world giving a glimpse of what might be possible and how those possibilities create a frightening but not unreasonable scenario. I felt a  certain warmth towards agent Blake her love for her son Robbie and her worry about husband Jeff who held lustful thoughts for the lovely Pandora and when not reciprocated purchases his own skin suit, enters Streamplex there hoping to realize his dark inner self. This novel is filled with intelligent, perceptive thought and analysis, a compassionate hero and a deadly foe who will stop at nothing to damage and destroy. Will Shane Koenig by finally stopped? Will Rose successfully navigate the virtual world of Streamplex? Will Jeff be saved from his overworked labido? All will become clear in an exciting and very fulfilling conclusion that leaves open the possibility of further novels in the series. Thanks to netgalley for this gratis copy in exchange for an honest review and that is what I have written.

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review 2017-05-02 02:39
Review: Quieter Than Killing (D. I. Marnie Rome #4) by Sarah Hilary
Quieter Than Killing - Sarah Hilary

Published by: Headline (9 March 2017) 

 

ISBN: 978-1472241108

 

Source:  Publisher provided proof copy

 

Rating: 4*

 

Synopsis:

It's winter, the nights are dark and freezing, and a series of seemingly random assaults is pulling DI Marnie Rome and DS Noah Jake out onto the streets of London. When Marnie's family home is ransacked, there are signs that the burglary can have only been committed by someone who knows her. Then a child goes missing, yet no-one has reported it. Suddenly, events seem connected, and it's personal.

Someone out there is playing games. It is time for both Marnie and Noah to face the truth about the creeping, chilling reaches of a troubled upbringing. Keeping quiet can be a means of survival, but the effects can be as terrible as killing.

 

Review:

Another case for Marnie typically means everything else takes a back seat until I've finished it, a few days at the most. For one reason or another, it's taken me a few weeks to finish this one. I found it quite hard to get into the story at the start, it didn't seem to 'grab' me as instantly as the first three in the series had. Then again, I was also struggling physically, so managing to read for any decent amount of time most nights was proving very difficult too. Maybe this was why I had found it such hard going?

 

I loved that we got to find out more about Marnie's and, in particular, Noah's home lives in this book. Finding out a little more each time as well as following along with a new case is brilliant. I really enjoy finding out what makes them tick as people too, and its great to see them in a setting other than work.

 

There are a lot of characters to keep track of in this book, something I'm not sure I managed very effectively all of the time. There are a couple that it would be great to see again in another book some time, including DCS Ferguson. We also see Stephen Keele again here, he is truly vile and makes my skin crawl! Sarah has written him so well! I defy anyone to do anything but despise him!

 

A chilling, gritty case of the kind you rarely hear reported makes for hard reading. Sarah has a unique way of writing so that you feel empathy with the perpetrators too. How does she do that?! That is some talent! Once I got into my stride,I couldn't put this book down. Now, I'm impatient for #5! Thanks to Headline for the proof in return for my unbiased review.

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review 2017-04-08 03:42
Review: Tastes Like Fear (D. I. Marnie Rome #3) by Sarah Hilary
Tastes Like Fear: DI Marnie Rome 3 - Headline Digital,Sarah Hilary,Imogen Church

Published by: Headline (28 July 2016)

 

ISBN : 978-1472226433

 

Source: Publisher 

 

Rating: 5*

 

Synopsis:

The fragile young girl who causes the fatal car crash disappears from the scene. A runaway who doesn't want to be found, she only wants to return to the man who understands her and offers her warmth, comfort, a home. He gives her gives her shelter. Just as he gives shelter to the other lost girls who live in his house.

 

He's the head of her new family.

 

D.I. Marnie Rome has faced many dangerous criminals but she has never come up against a man like Harm. She thinks that she knows families, their secrets and their fault lines. But as she begins investigating the girl's disappearance nothing can prepare her for what she's about to face.

 

Review:

Detective Inspector Marnie Rome feels like a friend I've not seen seen for a while; she's one of my favourite female detective characters and I was really looking forward to getting stuck into another case alongside her. 

 

The way the book starts is quite shocking and immediately awakens your senses. Just like Marnie and her team, you're left wondering who the girl is and what her story is, where she came from and where she has gone.  I was hooked from that first page.

 

We then see how things are in Harm's house. All is fine as long as everything is carried out according to his strictly ordered routine. I found this so darkly disturbing, it really gave me the creeps and made my skin crawl! Sarah Hilary seems to be so good at describing the environment and actions that have that effect. 

 

As Marnie's team do a bit more digging after speaking to witnesses, it seems no one is quite what they seem! The list of suspects grows, with more twists and a couple of genuine jaw dropping moments that I didn't see coming. It's scarily good!

 

Sarah's writing flawlessly flows from one chilling scene to the next, surpassing all but the very best of her contemporaries. 

 

Thanks to Headline for providing an ARC in return for my honest review.

 

 

 

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