Amazon.com: Customer Reviews: The Valley of Horses (Earth's Children)
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on April 28, 2000
I first read the Earth's Children series when I was in about seventh grade, while looking in a used book store for a book to do a report on. At first, I could not put Valley of Horses down, it compelled me! And I freely admit, I am a frustrating reader. I skipped every chapter with Jondalar and Thonolan, until of course, Jondalar and Ayla met, and then went back and skimmed. Even though I virtually (and literally) hacked my way through the book, Auel kept me enthralled. I couldn't leave it alone.
Then came the sex. I must admit, at thirteen years old, I was completely apalled that someone would have the gall to write such ilicite materiel. I skipped the sections, and completely missed out on the meaning of Ayla's awakening.
It wasn't until three years down the road, as a junior, that I found a replacement for my decapitated Valley of Horses. This time, I actually read from page one to the end without bouncing around, or skipping. I think it took being older, a mature mind, and the knowlege of the power of sexual relations between two people in love to truly appreciate Auel's masterpiece.
And it wasn't just the story and the sex that kept me into the book. It was the excellent insider view into the life of a prehistoric person. I could see myself walking on the beach with Ayla, digging pits to trap horses, and sitting next to Jondalar, watching him knap flint. Auel has researched so much; from botany, to hunting, to skills of the Ice Age that it isn't hard to accept something thirty five thousand years behind us.
I would encourage people to read this book, if you don't, you're missing out on a real treat.
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on November 26, 2005
Auel's second installment in the Earth's Children series does start out fairly slow. Not only does the plot follow Ayla and her newly-found animal companions but it also focuses on Jondalar, the handsome blonde-haired, blue-eyed wonder, and his brother, Thonalon. Most of the first half of the book tends to make you want to skip pages to get to "the good part" however, again, there is a wealth of knowledge about the Ice Age throughout the pages. Auel even uses several pages to discuss flint knapping. For those of you who aren't interested in the historical perspective, you may find the book rather dull until Ayla and Jondalar finally meet.
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on October 28, 1999
After finishing Clan Of the Cave Bear, I didn't know there was a sequel until a few years later. I was in sixth grade I think. As soon as I found out though, I instantly had to rush out to buy it. I was thrilled to find it had the same wonderful descriptive details I loved in the first one. I learned more from the books than I did in school in a week.
Jean M. Auel has outdone herself with this sequel to Clan Of The Cave Bear. I couldn't put it done, and my mother had to force me to do my chores. This was a wonderful and compelling novel to read. It was an extremely well written account of life for Ayla in the prehistoric times.
I enjoyed the plot given, the tale of her meeting Jondalar and her animals Whinny and Baby. I sometimes wished I was in her place. I sincerely recommend this book. Ayla was a wonderful heroine to read about.
Please, look beyond the graphic sex. Sex is a part of life. You can't shelter yourself from it. Those scenes were there to help tell the story of Ayla and her sexual awakening. Without it, the book would not have been complete. This book deserves more than five stars. I give it two thumbs way up.
P.S. Yes, I was a sixth grader when I read it. I've also read the other four books and await the fifth in earnest. Those of you who think that the sex in all of the books makes them trashy, get a damn life!
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on October 22, 2008
I, like many others, really liked Clan of the Cave Bear. I liked Valley of Horses up til the latter half when the wanton and repetitive, graphic sex began. I mean, I don't mind an occasional sex scene in a book, but this got to the point of monotony. It continues in The Mammoth Hunters which I was unable to finish. I found myself skipping over the sex scenes to get to the plot which became repetitive in itself. The author tries too hard to make Ayla into a superwoman and Jondalar into the ultimate ladies man. Then when they get together, they become bumbling idiots who can't even look at each other without jumping in the sack. I was so disappointed with the direction the author decided to go with this series.
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on July 7, 1998
It sounds a bit harsh, but there it is. As I was reading "Valley of Horses," I could hard;ly understand how a woman who could write something as enchanting and interesting as "Clan of the Cave Bear" could degenerate to such...drivel. Here's the story: Ayla, the plucky cro-magnon raised by neanderthals is all alone, playing a sort of female Dr. Doolittle/Pamela Lee to the animals in the valley she inhabits. All she really wants is to belong somewhere...i.e. to have a mate of her own. Enter Jondalar, a sort of paleolithic Fabio, on a journey toward...whatever destiny lies before him. On the way he has fun hopping into bed (VERY graphically) with just about every pretty cave-woman he comes across. WHAT HAPPENED? The beauty of the last book was the originality and believability of the characters. You really felt for them, especially Ayla, Iza, Creb, Brun, and some of the others. This Jondalar is a two-dimensional male-pinup admired far and wide for his incredible schlong (I'm not kidding). Ayla whines incessantly. Her animal friends don't provide too much snappy conversation. There really ARE no other characters, except maybe Jondalar's younger brother, who's about as fascinating as a slice of spam. It's also not so well-written. Do we really need three chapters on the building of a boat? I mean all the little intricate details? Do we need all these lengthy descriptions of food, tupper ware, and so on? Better if Auel had used all those chapters and pages to work on her plot and her characters. Here's the thing: "Clan" is REALLY good book. Don't let this review dissuade you from it by any means! Read it! Enjoy it! I certainly did! Just pretend it's the ONLY book in the series. Or make up your own ending.
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on January 23, 2005
First off, I liked Clan of the Cave Bear because of its imagination. This book is not as good. For one thing, everything in the book gets repeated, and then repeated again, and then repeated again. We aren't stupid, we got it the first time. For another, about 2/3 of the book is spent romanticizing an entirely unbelievable new character (Jondalar) who we don't even care about until at least mid-way through the book.

I found myself skipping entire pages and never missing having read them.

Maybe the Mammoth Hunters will be better. We'll see.
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on October 1, 2008
I couldn't even get halfway through this one because Ayla's character just becomes too ridiculous to believe. Clan of the Cave Bear was a decent book, but this sequel finds her inventing and discovering so many more things completely on her own that the plot loses all credibility. Between CotCB and the first half of this book, she:

Discovers the connection between sex and pregnancy
Invents the bra
Becomes the greatest hunter in the Clan and invents the double-stone throwing technique
Creates weavings, mats, and other wares that *of course* surpass everyone else's
Invents the hairbrush and the concept of braiding hair
Domesticates a wild horse, decides to ride it, then turns it into a draft animal after inventing the travois
Discovers how to make fire from pyrite and flint

And so on. All of this completely on her own. Plus, she's tall, blonde, and perfect with no character flaws. Or any broken bones or illnesses despite living alone for years (because she's a medicine woman, natch). I won't be reading any more of the series, but I wouldn't be surprised if Ayla winds up inventing the wheel, agriculture, aquaducts, and call waiting.

The part of the book I was not prepared for was the sex. I don't read romance novels, and I really didn't want to read a Pleistocene loincloth-ripper. I never did reach the part where Ayla meets Mr. Stud Muffin, but given the three-page description of how he brings a young girl to gasping ecstasy as he ravages her maidenhood, and the constant reminders of his throbbing manhood and chisled good looks, I knew immediately where the book was heading and I gave up in disgust.
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on November 15, 1999
When I read the Clan of the Cave Bear, I was in seventh grade.(I'm in 8th, now) I loved it, and couldn't put it down. The same wentfor The Valley of Horses. Ayla is real, as are Jondalar, Whinney and Baby. Her story is touching, realistic and enjoyable. I recomend this book to just about everyone, along with its sequels, The Mammoth Hunters and the Plains of Passage.
Yes, there is sex in this book, and the ones that follow. Lots of sex. But you know, its really just something you have to live with. It's a major part of Ayla and Jondalar's lives, and probably yours too, if you're married or older than I am. And if you can get past the sex, it really IS an excellent book.
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on November 18, 2002
An out and out bad book. The dialogue is corny, and the scenes are quite boring especially those with Jondalar and Thonolan. I skipped a lot of pages because I couldn't bear to read through their dumb scenes. It's supposed to be prehistoric times but these two characters talk like they're in 2002 L.A. with the main goal of scoring on women. Pretty [bad]. How this book ever got good reviews from the critics is beyond me. The only interesting scenes are those with Ayla. Clan of the Cave Bear is really good but don't waste your time on this one.
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on December 14, 2006
The Earths Children series by Jean Auel is one of my true favourites.

Each book in the series has a pivotal theme. If the first book "Clan of the Cave Bear" is about "culture clash" then this sequel is about "survival".

Our heroine (whom Jean is always quick to remind us is blonde and beautiful)Ayla in this story is on her own. The Neanderthal tribe of COTCB and more so their leader Brun have cast her out. Even her mixed spirit child must be left behind though not by choice.

Needing to prepare for the coming winter and stock up supplies Ayla takes advantage of a cave she stumbles across and ends up staying there for three years. From there its a story of one womans courage, ingenuity, thoughts, learnings, crafts, medicinal preparations (for she is a medicine woman from book 1), hunting & gathering techniques, exploration, as well as her emotional vulnerability to isolation and fears for her future.

A horse and a lion she finds and raises as infants become her only companions over the seasons till one day tragedy and luck bring her face to face with a man (Jondolaar) of her species. A whole new challenge unfolds as both become the others obsession.

Its 25000 BC and its like a prehistoric lesson on how good our ancestors would have had to be to survive in short. Truly fascinating when told as a story of this quality. If you have ever wondered what life might have been like that long ago - then this is as close as you will get. A fictional account of these times doesnt get any better written or researched than this with characters you will truly love.

My criticisms of the book is Jean Auel does lavish detail on Ayla and Jondolaars love making scenes. To describe it once in detail is fine, to repeat it in length again and again - well in my opinion demonstrates a lack of editing. The book can be a bit slow at times - mostly near the start - first 1/5th of the book but stay with it and you will find it a rewarding and satisfying tale. And ask yourself as you read - how would i fair in Ayla's position? It makes for an interesting thought.
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