The Plains of Passage: Earth's Children, Book Four Mass Market Paperback – Oct 1 1991
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From Publishers Weekly
The long-awaited fourth installment of the Earth's Children series is as warm and inviting as its campfire milieu. sure fire bestseller. Auel again describes her characters' travails, a passionate interest of millions of readers, in impeccably researched detail. The continuous recitation of flora and fauna, coupled with flashbacks to events in the previous books, becomes somewhat tiresome, however. (Would that our "memory" were as instinctual as that of the Clan.) The saga continues the cross-continental journey of Ayla, her mate Jondalar and their menagerie to his homeland. En route, they encounter a variety of problems, yet manage to find panaceas for each. Their enlightened compilation of skills, inventions, therapies and recipes transforms the voyagers into spirit-like personas providing The Others with constant awe. A brief encounter with the Neanderthal Clan rekindles the unique charm of the first (and strongest) book. Such locutions as "out of the cooking skin into the coals" or "Mother's path of milk" for the Milky Way are coyly anachronistic. Nonetheless, this volume is as welcome as letters from a long-lost friend. A novel 1.25 million first printing; major ad/promo; first serial to Ladies' Home Journal; BOMC main selection; author tour.
Copyright 1990 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
From School Library Journal
YA-- Auel follows the successful formula of the other books in this series--man's emergence from primitivism to civilization. Ayla and Jondalar continue their journey, accompanied by Whinny, Racer, and Wolf, closely observing the terrain and prudently, even inventively, developing "modern" techniques to deal with danger and evil. Perhaps most interesting is Ayla's triumph over the matriarchal despot Attaroa; the reverberating echoes of the women's movement's attendant strengths and weaknesses lend a nice touch of irony. The love scenes are not quite as steamy as in the other books. The conclusion is too abrupt, coming just as the characters reach their destination, but The Plains of Passage is still satisfying.
- Joan L. Reynolds, West Potomac High School, Fairfax County, VA
Copyright 1991 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
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Top Customer Reviews
Readers do not appreciate being treated as though they lack intelligence, and the extreme repetition found in this book (and in the fifth book) sends the reader the message that she is just too stupid to remember what went on before.
So much of the book became tedious and boring. Even the [love] scenes were repetitive. You could sum it all up by saying that Jondalar is quite a lover. Jondalar has a really big .... manhood. Ayla is as vunerable as a virgin, yet deep enough to take in all of Jondalar, which Jondalar really digs.
Readers feel cheated because the first book was so very, very good. But now it seems that all we are getting for our loyalty and anticipation is a lazy, repetitive effort.
I have to say, this fourth book bored me stupid. I am not one to pass a sex scene by, but puh-lease! After the first one (a repeat performance of all the ones in "The Mammoth Hunters") I could stand no more. Between boring sex scenes, endless descriptions of pleistocene plant life (thanks Jean, we know you did some research, but enough already!) and a male lead I couldn't stand (Jondular), I probably skipped half the book in Fast Forward mode!
Am I the only person who just despised this guy Ayla was with? Who wanted her to tell him where to shove his moods and protectiveness, and run back to the place where she was happy (The Lion Camp)? Auel tried very hard to make you like this guy, but he was a whiner and wasn't going to be happy unless Ayla was bound up in a tent, unable to move and "get into danger." I really did try to like him, but couldn't see past his actions to actually doing so! The highlight of the book for me is when he gets caught by the tribe of women. As you can probably guess, Ayla goes bounding in to save him - and quite honestly, I don't think she should have bothered! He goes straight back to whining the second she hauls him out of there (he's desperate to get home and stops her from having any fun all the way through - except when he fancies a bit of nookie!)
In the unlikely event Ms Auel reads this, I am still intrigued to know how Ayla does in her new home, but please - no more repetitions!!Read more ›
Seriously, it read like a travel log.
Day 1 - they saw these plants, these animals. They ate this and that... They had a truly ridiculous conversation to recap the previous books just in case the reader hasn't read them yet.
Day 2 - repeat of day one with different plants and animals and food and another utterly stupid conversation...
Frankly, I skipped the other day-to-day travel descriptions, skimming ahead until they encountered other people just so I wouldn't have to read the horrific conversations the two of them had with each other. I told my husband that if we ever got to the point where we had conversations like that during our travels I would have to kill him. Yes, the author needed to recap the other 3 books just in case the reader hasn't read them, but honestly I felt it could have been done in a much more interesting way. Anyone who read this book without reading the others probably wouldn't read the previous (and much better) books strictly because no one wants to read about characters stupid enough to have these idiotic "remember when" conversations.
The characters didn't grow with this section of the saga. With the previous books, you could see improvements in the characters, ways that they grew spiritually, emotionally, intellectually, whatever. In this book, they appeared to be stuck in traveler's limbo. The characters themselves became boring and stagnant, making me wonder if they will continue to be characters that I truly want to read about. Truthfully, if I hadn't already purchased "Shelters of Stone", I think I would just pass. However, there is hope since I have started reading the 5th book in the series and so far, it is much better than the 4th.
I feel I could have skipped this segment of the saga entirely and not really missed anything.
Most recent customer reviews
Really gives you some insight into how the world began and how creative and industrious the human brain can be. This book is well researched and the characters well rounded.Published 3 months ago by Valerie Bell
Have not read this book yet as I am reading book three right now. I am positive book four will be as excellent as the first three and I can't wait to get to it.Published 15 months ago by Lily girl
I have read all of the books in this series and enjoy them all. If you are interested in early history, I recommend it.Published on April 3 2013 by Donna Jean Jones
This is one long, lousy novel. The sex scenes amount to little more than caveman porn; modesty forbids quotation, but trust me it's fairly laughable, as these characters step out... Read morePublished on June 11 2004
I am fourteen, and for a fourteen year old I am an avid reader. Jean's 4th book made me see what reading could do. Read morePublished on April 9 2004
Number 4 in the Earth Children Series, that should have stopped at number 3. This book details Ayla and Jondalar as they return to his home on the other side of Europe. Read morePublished on March 20 2004
The Plains of Passage was nothing short of amazing. All of Auel's books have left me with wanting for the next one. Read morePublished on March 17 2004 by Chelsea G. Humphrey
In the 4th part of this amazing story about unusual Ayla, you"ll find yourself always interested- this is just amazing. Read morePublished on Feb. 14 2004
I enjoyed this book, but not quite as well as the 3 previous. It was a little too detailed at times, and tended to drag on a little. Read morePublished on Oct. 27 2003