Oh, frabjous day! This is the last time I have to write about these books, callooh callay! Let’s dive right in, shall we?
‘kay. This book had the fewest not-remotely-sexy-in-any-way sex scenes of any book in the series, so I guess that’s something. We start out when our dearest Ayla Sue is about 20. She’s a new mommy and of course her oh-so-beautiful daughter (with the stupidest name in a world full of stupid names) is the most
boring perfect child ever. She doesn’t fuss, she doesn’t need to wear diapers because she can “hold her water” until Ayla takes her out of her wrap and can pee on the ground, and she’s got her daddy’s glacial blue eyes. This is important to Jaundice Jondalar because it means she’s a child “of his spirit” and not just “of his hearth.”
When Jonayla is about six months old, all of the Zelandonii caves in the immediate area head to the Summer Meeting (I told you guys last week this ish was important!) and Ayla starts her acolyte training in earnest. She’s already the best healer in all the land, she just needs to be trained as what is essentially a religious leader.
While they’re there, Ayla learns about all of this weird crap she’s going to have to do before she’s “called to serve the Mother.” There will be a year where she stays up all night to mark the location of the sunset and sunrise every single day, and a bunch of other stuff – I’ll be honest, I was kind of skimming by this point – that I really can’t remember right now. One of the things that is apparently of utmost importance is what’s called a donier tour. This is where prospective zelandoni schlepp around southwest Europe to look at paintings in a bunch of caves, this is obviously the precursor to the Grand Tours taken thousands of years later.
(I feel I should mention at this point – because I somehow forgot to before – that there’s this ridiculous song that’s featured prominently throughout the final two books. It’s referred to as The Mother’s Song, and it’s basically a creation myth. It is long. Incredibly long – at least six pages – and it’s repeated in its entirety several times.)
So, they started with the caves in the local area and there were a bunch of drawings that were described in great detail. Great. Detail. Let me say that for you one more time. Great detail. I was skimming again, because once you’ve had a drawing of a mammoth on a cave wall described to you one time, you kind of get the picture. Ayla meets lots of people, and they all comment on (a.) her accent/speech impediment (b.) how gorgeous she is…oh, and they all get introduced to Wolf. [sigh]
Skip ahead a few years with no warning. Now it’s finally time to go on the big part of the donier tour. This was the part where I started drinking. No, really. I made a little drinking game out of it. I drank every time mention was made of the following things:
- Notice of Ayla’s accent/speech impediment
- Mention of Jondalar’s eyes
- Bits from previous books copied and pasted
- Spear-thrower/sling/fire stone demonstration
- Tea (bonus drink if it was made spicy and sweet with Linden flowers)
- Formal introductions (with or without Wolf)
- Mother Song (bonus drink if it was the full thing)
- Redundant descriptions of cave drawings
Spear-thrower and sling demonstration AND Wolf introduction. Drink!
Formal introductions, Ayla’s speech impediment and introduction to Wolf. Drink!
Speech impediment, Wolf. Drink!
Oh! More formal introductions! Another drink!
Fire stones! Drink!
Cave drawings! Mysterious
red and black dots. Drink! ticking noise
Making tea! Drink!
11:34 pm (I guess I took a break from reading for a bit, here)
Introductions (long winded), Ayla’s accent, meet the animals, Ayla is gorgeous, Jondalar has the bluest eyes ever. DRINK!
Painted caves and firestones! Drink!
Gratuitous drug use, caves, Mother Song! Driiiiiiiiink
More introductions (people and Wolf), accent, beautiful Ayla, pasted bits from other books (primarily VoH and MH), and so on. Drink! …aaaaaaaand, I think I’m done drinking for tonight. Heather, don’t worry, I’ve been drinking lots of water and I’ll take some motrin before bed. <3
So, when I got up the next morning (surprisingly un-hungover), I was all set to finish this behemoth. Didn’t happen that day. What I did read was one of the foreign zelandoni giving Ayla a dime bag that was flavoured with mint so that she could “experiment” with it with her mentor, the first recorded instance of the measles and Ayla and Jondalar capturing a roving band of malcontents that had been raping and pillaging their way across southern France. The men they captured were brutally attacked (and some were killed) in what might be the first example of mob justice. This left Ayla with a bad taste in her mouth, but she was helpless to prevent it.
Fast forward a few more years (with no real indication), and Ayla’s doing that whole keeping track of the sunrise/sunset thing. She’s reflecting on how it means she’s had little time to spend with her family, and how she’s pretty bummed that she ain’t been gettin’ any with any regularity and decides to bail out early one night to go get her some. Of course, after, she realizes that she’s lapsed on taking her contraceptive herbs and wonders if she might get knocked up again. She secretly hopes so.
The whole Cave is getting ready for another Summer Meeting, but Ayla has to stay behind because she’s almost done with her star chart whatever thingy. The night she finishes, she makes herself a cup of tea up on the ledge where she watches and accidentally drinks the druggy herbs given to her by the foreign zelandoni a few years ago.
She spends the next three days hallucinating in a cave. In the dark. She might have been stuck there forever, but Wolf comes to save her. While she’s in there, she miscarries, has a vision of an addendum to the Mother Song (indicating that men are necessary to create babies), and finds a bag that’s been hidden that contains a lamp and a water skin.
For about 3 more days, she’s super sad about losing the baby, but then she remembers that she was right all along about a man’s essence creating life within a woman. She decides she’s going to leave for the Summer Meeting RIGHT NOW and find Jondalar to have him put another baby in her belly.
She gets to the Meeting and goes off to find Jondalar. He’s nowhere to be found and she decides she wants to clean up before he sees her anyway, so she heads off to the little glade where they spent their honeymoon.
As she walks up, she hears voices, so decides to snoop on them through the trees and witnesses Jondalar getting a BJ from that bitch, Marona. Of course she freaks out and starts yelling about how she’s just lost a baby and she can’t believe he’s doing someone other than her – but since jealousy is frowned upon, she just walks away instead of punching that man-stealer (or the man, for that matter) in the face, which would be totally deserved.
They spend the next several days not talking. This is reminiscent of the time when they were both sure the other didn’t love them anymore a few books ago. The night Ayla is inducted into the zelandonia, the entire crowd is given the information about the necessity of men for life to continue, then they all have a huge drunken party.
Ayla gets super trashed on barma, and picks the WORST PERSON EVER to revengescrew…Laramar, the barma maker. Not only does she make sure Jondalar knows this is who she’s chosen, SHE DOES IT IN PUBLIC. Jondalar freaks the eff out and pulls him off of her.
While he’s pounding the crap out of the dude, he screams repeatedly what is possibly the best line of dialogue in the entire series:
HE’S MAKING MY BABY!!!!
I know, right? Take a minute to laugh at that. I had to put the book down because I couldn’t concentrate through the giggles.
For whatever reason, Ayla decides it’ll be a good idea to take those roots she first experienced (accidentally) with Creb, then later with Mamut so she can experiment further as a full Zelandoni. She almost dies, and is in a coma-like state for a long time. Finally, someone thinks to send Wolf to find Jondalar because he’s the one who pulled her back the last time.
Jondalar saves her, they realize they love each other and they both swear never to sleep with anyone else ever again. Then he gets called before a tribunal to determine what kind of reparations he’s going to have to make for knocking out all of Laramar’s teeth. He ends up having to pay alimony and child support (FOR LIFE) for a wife and five kids that weren’t even his…or were they? No, really – they weren’t.
That’s…pretty much it. An anti-climactic ending to a series. No further information on the son Ayla had to abandon, no resolution to the Flathead conflict…just monogamy and the coining of the word ‘father’ (it’s a contraction of Far Mother, if you were wondering). For what it’s worth, there are rumours of a seventh book (after all, there are SO MANY PEOPLE Jondalar hasn’t slept with yet)…if that happens, you can be sure I’ll be on top of it.
Thank goodness I’m done reading this trash, but I’m glad to have read it so you didn’t have to. Next week, we leave the stone age behind to visit a present-day New York filled with vampires, angels, demons, werewolves and warlocks. See you then!