Customer Reviews


152 Reviews
5 star:
 (72)
4 star:
 (44)
3 star:
 (15)
2 star:
 (13)
1 star:
 (8)
 
 
 
 
 
Average Customer Review
Share your thoughts with other customers
Create your own review
 
 

The most helpful favourable review
The most helpful critical review


4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Leonarda da Stoneage meets He-Man
After reading Clan of the Cave Bear, of course I had to read The Valley of Horses to find out what happened to Ayla.
Although I felt sometimes reminded of "The Island of The Blue Dolphins" by Scott O'Dell, I found the author's descriptions of Ayla's life in the valley interesting and this is the only reason why I give this book four stars.
The story of...
Published on July 7 2004 by Nico1908

versus
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Yuck
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...
Published on Nov. 18 2002 by red


‹ Previous | 1 216 | Next ›
Most Helpful First | Newest First

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Leonarda da Stoneage meets He-Man, July 7 2004
After reading Clan of the Cave Bear, of course I had to read The Valley of Horses to find out what happened to Ayla.
Although I felt sometimes reminded of "The Island of The Blue Dolphins" by Scott O'Dell, I found the author's descriptions of Ayla's life in the valley interesting and this is the only reason why I give this book four stars.
The story of Jondalar and his brother was often boring and towards the end of the book, I skip-read most of it. I find Mighty Hung Jon one of the most irritating characters I've ever encountered in a book. It would have done the story a lot of good if he hadn't been created as such a (physically) perfect specimAn.
The book as a whole would have profited from more thorough editing, especially the deletion of unnecessary and boring descriptions (e.g. of boat building). 100 pages less would have made a big difference!
All in all, I found it a nice, easy read for a lazy Saturday. The story is mostly predictable. No challenge whatsoever, except (sometimes) of my patience.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Yuck, Nov. 18 2002
By 
red (California) - See all my reviews
This review is from: The Valley of Horses (Hardcover)
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.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Not as good as the first one, but enjoyable, March 20 2004
By A Customer
This review is from: The Valley of Horses: Earth's Children, Book Two (Mass Market Paperback)
Ayla's character is still strong and interesting. She survives years on her own in a land of beauty and danger. This part of the book is good, but the rest of the book details the travels of Jondalar, a physically perfect specimen with the mind of a 16-year old. His inner struggle with life-long prejudices and worries over social status become boring. And contrasting with the first book, this second book introduces numerous graphic sexual encounters that add nothing to the story. While the "Clan of the Cave Bears" is a wonderful book for teenagers, this one is definitely not. The best way to read it is to skip every other chapter and just follow the story of Ayla's survival.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


2.0 out of 5 stars Stone Age Smut, June 2 2004
This review is from: The Valley of Horses: Earth's Children, Book Two (Mass Market Paperback)
Any books that are sanctioned by Cosmo and Playboy should be a red flag for me, but my 76 year old grandmother raved so much about this series that I thought I should give it a shot. She even gave me the last two books as a bonus, so what the heck.
I am beginning to wonder about granny.
It's difficult to say what genre this series falls into. With the amount of painstaking research Auel put into the story, one would expect more of a historical fiction flavor. Perhaps the first book had more of that, but it's clear that once Auel snagged a readership she jumped ship with a schizophrenic flair and landed smack dab in the middle of a grossly explicit and superficial romanticism that I find unnecessary and distasteful. One should not have to provide page after page of explicit sexual descriptors with phrases such as "throbbing manhood" to give a masculine character dimension... As if a man's reproductive organ and the number of eager devotees it finds is the sum total of his worth. The highly revered and well traveled member (and Jondalar's inability to control it) sorely detracts from what could have been a good character in Jondalar. Not only that, but it relegates sexual intimacy (and I use the word intimacy lightly) to the class of lower functions of "relieving" oneself, no matter how nice he is about it. An odious association at best.
The first book had some believable characters (some with integrity and the seminal buds of good, philosophical questions) and interesting plot twists although Auel does tend toward the pedantic in her overly descriptive divulgence of vast knowledge. I was a little disappointed by her tendency to tell the reader about the story rather than leading her readers to experience the plights of the characters. The overall plot and characterizations of the first book, in addition to the clever religious nuances, made the flaws easy to overlook in most instances, but the second book-though it raises a number of wonderful philosophical and anthropological issues that could have added some real depth to the story and characters-is not as palatable. I have no idea whether I will finish this series.
In summary: If you are looking for a great historical fiction series with exciting, intellectually seductive material, try something by Dorothy Dunnett instead. Dunnett tends toward the sexual in many ways (Esp. in the House of Niccolo series), but the differnce in how she presents the material (mostly by seductive implication) places her characters head and shoulders above Auel.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


4.0 out of 5 stars Not as good as the first volume, Jan. 8 2004
By 
M. R. (United States) - See all my reviews
This review is from: The Valley of Horses: Earth's Children, Book Two (Mass Market Paperback)
After reading the Clan of the Cavebear, I was slightly disappointed by parts of this book--while it has some truly magnificent spots, it lags and gets extremely repetitive in others. For the first 350 or so pages, the book alternates between the continuing story of Ayla and the story of the newly introduced characters, Jondalar and his brother Thonolan.
Ayla's story begins with her journey from the Clan to the Valley of the Horses, which while interesting at first begins to drag after the third nearly identical description of the process by which she goes about crossing a river. Her sections of the book pick up considerably after she arrives at the Valley. Here, her story evolves into a look at how one person could survive without the aid of a Clan in a way that would rival any wilderness survival story. However, Auel seems to want to give Ayla credit for every single invention of the period. After explaining how remarkable the ideas are and how no one else on the entire planet could ever have considered them, Ayla is given credit for discovering the use of flint and steel to make fire, pit traps, the travois, the overall idea of altering the physical environment to suit her needs, the domestication of the horse, and so on. Auel also splices in liberal quotations from the Clan of the Cavebear about minor and for the most part not even very relevant discussions and events that Ayla remembers.
Jondalar and his brother are similarly on a Journey of their own in which they meet the inhabitants of other Caves, during which they have a number of gratuitous and overly described yet prosaic sexual encounters. This storyline seemed artificial, more like a progression of scenes forced together to jam some bland English 101 style characterization down the readers' throats. By far, the chapters about these brothers are the weakest section of the novel.
There are also a few moments that interrupt the flow of the story in which Auel talks about the changes of this or that geological feature up to the present time, which I found to be interesting and well written. However, mentions to events over the countless years after this story takes place are nonetheless rather distracting, and even somewhat inappropriate to the world of the story.
With a bit more editing, this could have been an excellent book, as Clan of the Cavebear was from cover to cover. This is also a very good book, but it often wanders off as if it does not know where it is going. The end result still left me with enough hope for the series to get the third book, but not much more.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


5.0 out of 5 stars The best in the series, Jan. 3 2004
By 
Ms. H. Sinton "dragondrums" (Ingleby Barwick. U.K.) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: The Valley of Horses: Earth's Children, Book Two (Mass Market Paperback)
The Valley of Horses is the second book in Jean M Auels magnificent 'Earth's Children' series. Having been exiled from the clan that raised her, Ayla now has to set out on a journey to find the 'others', cro-magnons like herself.
This is the epic tale of a young girl's struggle to survive by overcoming fear and adapting to being alone in a strange and hostile environment.
During her travels Ayla discovers the valley that becomes her home and her haven and it is here that she find much longed for companionship with the horse she raises from being a foal.
Running parallel to this is the story of two cro-magnon brothers who have set off on a journey in search of adventure. Ms Auel manages to handle these two story strands with ease and switching between them never 'jars'. Eventually the two tales intertwine and become one as Ayla finally comes face to face with one of her own kind. As rich in detail as the first book in the series, this book is an absorbing read and is difficult to put down. Highly recommended.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


4.0 out of 5 stars thought-provoking and gripping, Feb. 18 2003
This review is from: The Valley of Horses: Earth's Children, Book Two (Mass Market Paperback)
After really enjoying the Clan of the Cave Bear, I was slightly apprehensive about the next book as it left the familiarity of the clan and focused more on contact with the Others. However, the writer did a good job of keeping my interest with Ayla's storyline - initially, I wondered whether it would still be gripping now that Ayla had settled in one place and was very much alone, but the descriptions of her new discoveries were fascinating, if slightly unbelievable that they all occurred so close to each other, and with such fortuitous timing. I also found Ayla's self-monologues a bit distracting at times, although it did reinforce how alone she was.
My problem was with Jondalar's storyline - as the book progressed, I found myself identifying less and less with his character, partly because of the way he was portrayed as so sexually driven (graphic details of the sex scenes jolted a bit). Also, I felt his character was quite flat, despite that half the book was devoted to building it and his culture up. The writer spent a lot of the chapters about the Others describing in detail their society and crafts, and the book creaked under the weight of getting all that information across at times (for example, the in-depth description of boat-building dragged for me).
I had been looking forward to the meeting between Ayla and Jondalar ever since it became clear that was what the book was leading up to, but I thought it was quite a let-down in reality. Ayla's sudden grasp of the language (through a dream?!) was jarring and unbelievable, although I did like the scene where Jondalar's prejudice about the 'Flatheads' was finally revealed.
In summary, the book was very good, but at times there was too much detail about a certain event or procedure; the reader lost touch with the central human and character-based side of the novel. I felt like the book switched too much from almost non-fictional explanation suddenly to a character passage, and consequently I never felt, especially with the Jondalar plotline, that I really knew much about the character - we never got deep enough into their thoughts and feelings, and some of the emotional passages weren't satisfying enough for me. However, I have given this book 4 stars, so it was good - I've just concentrated on its negative aspects, but despite its flaws it's a gripping and entertaining story and I'm keen to read the rest in the series.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


4.0 out of 5 stars The Great Goddess, Feb. 2 2003
By 
Mitch R. Confesor (Davao City, Philippines) - See all my reviews
This review is from: The Valley of Horses: Earth's Children, Book Two (Mass Market Paperback)
...
From the eye-opening Clan of the Cave Bear to the serene Valley of Horses, from the thought-provoking Mammoth Hunters to the uplifting Plains of Passage, readers are immersed into the world of a young girl as she is transformed into a teenage mother and high-spirited woman -- her heart, her mind, her values, her fears, her triumphs. Losing her family after an earthquake, blond-haired and bluish-gray-eyed Ayla is raised by creatures of the land far different from her. They call themselves the Clan, but the white men call them "flatheads" -- or worse, "animals."
In the Earth's Children series, Ayla is more than just a three-dimensional heroine as we sense her every struggle and will to live and survive in a cruel world peopled with crueler humans, mostly people of her own kind, whom the Neanderthals call "the Others."
Skillfully, author Jean Auel has molded Ayla into a four-(or even five-)dimensional character we can see, hear, smell, feel -- and even taste! The people whom Ayla has inspired and whose lives she touched along the way are all inclined to believe that she is the Mother of the Earth herself. But come to think of it, Jean Auel herself -- the Omniscient Writer and Researcher, the Pleistocene Pre-historian and Chronicler -- could just be the Great Earth Mother of the last 25,000 years.
This is no Middle Earth or Hogwarts fake. Neanderthal bones found at the Shanidar Cave north of Turkey are evidence enough that Auel's "flatheads" did exist. They're not orcs or hobbits, much less elves or witches. They may not be anatomically modern men but they are intelligent breathing beings who make tools and gaze on stars and, perhaps, communicate through sign language.
Jean Auel has humanized and personified what could have been an abstract or even boring topic in history -- or pre-history, for that matter. Like the fire in a subterranean hearth, Auel has warmed up what could have been an aloof and cold topic as the Ice Age and the glacial epoch. Tell me. Who would be bored at the sight of big ice walls and white snow fields, or red loess soil and dry arid plains? Who would be bored at the sound of woolly mammoths and giant cave lions, at the odor of vicious hyenas and gigantic cave bears, at the touch of domesticated horses and docile wolves -- at the flavor of warm human contact and affection amidst the fury of the Pleistocene Era?
Who would not be mesmerized at the crystal clear waters of the rampaging Great Mother River (the present-day Danube), which runs all the way to the Beran Sea (the modern-day Black Sea) in the early days of the vast European continent? Who would not savor the taste of fresh caviar, the eggs from the bosom of 10-foot-long beluga sturgeons which were once abundant and now extremely scarce for being the most expensive and sought-after food in the entire universe?
The only thing missing in Earth's Children is the saber-toothed tiger, although there was a brief mention of this dirk-toothed feline. And if Michael Crichton's dinosaurs in Jurassic Park and Lost World were comical enough in the film versions, wait until right-minded people in Hollywood breathe life into the chase for fantastic bisons and huge mammoths, into the hunt for white arctic foxes and pesky little wolverines.
As a skillful and classy craftswoman in her own genre, Auel has perfected a work of art as fine as the blade of an expert Zelandonii toolmaker and flint knapper, as sheer as the chiseled tusks of a master Mamutoi ivory carver. In fact, the entire Earth's Children series are more than just a "survival manual" and an "environmentalist's handbook," as some critics view them. Any book in the series would be worthy anytime of a shelf space just beside the Holy Bible, considered as the greatest work of all time.
As for Auel, well, She's just heaven-sent. A great Goddess.
MITCH R. CONFESOR
Associate Editor
Mindanao TIMES
Davao City, Philippines
CANDLEBOX column
February 3, 2003
"Children of the Earth"
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


4.0 out of 5 stars The Great Goddess, Feb. 2 2003
By 
Mitch R. Confesor (Davao City, Philippines) - See all my reviews
This review is from: The Valley of Horses: Earth's Children, Book Two (Mass Market Paperback)
The Great Goddess
SOME people have gone gaga over the witches and warlocks of J.K. Rowling's seven-part Harry Potter mania. And some have equally gone crazy over the elves and hobbits of the non-existent "existentialist" Middle Earth in J.R.R. Tolkien's three-part Lord of the Rings fad. But dear, I choose to be neither, as I would rather go for the real-life Homo sapiens and extinct Neanderthals in the long forgotten world of Jean Auel's six-part Earth's Children classic.
As it is, Earth's Children is realist, justifiable, worldly, down-to-earth. For earthy reasons, I will tell you why. So here's why ... .
From the eye-opening Clan of the Cave Bear to the serene Valley of Horses, from the thought-provoking Mammoth Hunters to the uplifting Plains of Passage, readers are immersed into the world of a young girl as she is transformed into a teenage mother and high-spirited woman -- her heart, her mind, her values, her fears, her triumphs. Losing her family after an earthquake, blond-haired and bluish-gray-eyed Ayla is raised by creatures of the land far different from her. They call themselves the Clan, but the white men call them "flatheads" -- or worse, "animals."
In the Earth's Children series, Ayla is more than just a three-dimensional heroine as we sense her every struggle and will to live and survive in a cruel world peopled with crueler humans, mostly people of her own kind, whom the Neanderthals call "the Others."
Skillfully, author Jean Auel has molded Ayla into a four-(or even five-)dimensional character we can see, hear, smell, feel -- and even taste! The people whom Ayla has inspired and whose lives she touched along the way are all inclined to believe that she is the Mother of the Earth herself. But come to think of it, Jean Auel herself -- the Omniscient Writer and Researcher, the Pleistocene Pre-historian and Chronicler -- could just be the Great Earth Mother of the last 25,000 years.
This is no Middle Earth or Hogwarts fake. Neanderthal bones found at the Shanidar Cave north of Turkey are evidence enough that Auel's "flatheads" did exist. They're not orcs or hobbits, much less elves or witches. They may not be anatomically modern men but they are intelligent breathing beings who make tools and gaze on stars and, perhaps, communicate through sign language.
Jean Auel has humanized and personified what could have been an abstract or even boring topic in history -- or pre-history, for that matter. Like the fire in a subterranean hearth, Auel has warmed up what could have been an aloof and cold topic as the Ice Age and the glacial epoch. Tell me. Who would be bored at the sight of big ice walls and white snow fields, or red loess soil and dry arid plains? Who would be bored at the sound of woolly mammoths and giant cave lions, at the odor of vicious hyenas and gigantic cave bears, at the touch of domesticated horses and docile wolves -- at the flavor of warm human contact and affection amidst the fury of the Pleistocene Era?
Who would not be mesmerized at the crystal clear waters of the rampaging Great Mother River (the present-day Danube), which runs all the way to the Beran Sea (the modern-day Black Sea) in the early days of the vast European continent? Who would not savor the taste of fresh caviar, the eggs from the bosom of 10-foot-long beluga sturgeons which were once abundant and now extremely scarce for being the most expensive and sought-after food in the entire universe?
The only thing missing in Earth's Children is the saber-toothed tiger, although there was a brief mention of this dirk-toothed feline. And if Michael Crichton's dinosaurs in Jurassic Park and Lost World were comical enough in the film versions, wait until right-minded people in Hollywood breathe life into the chase for fantastic bisons and huge mammoths, into the hunt for white arctic foxes and pesky little wolverines.
As a skillful and classy craftswoman in her own genre, Auel has perfected a work of art as fine as the blade of an expert Zelandonii toolmaker and flint knapper, as sheer as the chiseled tusks of a master Mamutoi ivory carver. In fact, the entire Earth's Children series are more than just a "survival manual" and an "environmentalist's handbook," as some critics view them. Any book in the series would be worthy anytime of a shelf space just beside the Holy Bible, considered as the greatest work of all time.
As for Auel, well, She's just heaven-sent. A great Goddess.
MITCH R. CONFESOR
Associate Editor
Mindanao TIMES
Davao City, Philippines
CANDLEBOX column
February 3, 2003
"Children of the Earth"
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


4.0 out of 5 stars Don't believe all the negative talk, Jan. 10 2003
By A Customer
This review is from: The Valley of Horses: Earth's Children, Book Two (Mass Market Paperback)
Reading the recent reviews I was struck by the fact that this is fiction. It contains historical data, but it is still fiction and fiction writers can take some liberties.
The characters are well developed and the interplay between them is well written and interesting. It may very well be the best book of the series for this ellement.
Yes the book contains explicit sexual depictions although not anywhere near as distastful as some. Auel uses sex to demonstrate or cause changes in the characters, which is what any author should convey and use sex for.
I suspect the negative reviews are more a result of some people finding the material outside of their personal comfort zone, while others having found a wealth of great data about the time period forgot this was a novel and when something obviously non-historical appeared were left disappointed. This perhaps points out the series one great weakness - namely that blending history and fiction is not always an easy marriage.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


‹ Previous | 1 216 | Next ›
Most Helpful First | Newest First

This product

The Valley of Horses: Earth's Children, Book Two
The Valley of Horses: Earth's Children, Book Two by Jean M. Auel (Mass Market Paperback - Nov. 1 1984)
CDN$ 9.99 CDN$ 9.49
In Stock
Add to cart Add to wishlist
Only search this product's reviews