on November 16, 2012
I'm reading it now .. and if I could climb into the story and kill any one of the three combatants in this on and on and ongoing love triangle, I would. I would bring an iron hammer and beat any one or two of the triangle into a mush of hide tanning brain mucus. I'm soooooo sick of hearing over and over again how the hero and heroine keep misreading each others body language but how everyone else in the community can. I wanna kill something... a mammoth in a WWE wrestling competition would be good .. or a rogue bison that runs naked through the lodge .. almost anything would allow me to suspend my disbelief again. This is an Emo book with repeated repetition of the repetitive infantile courting emotions. I'm a grown guy so I'm overly predjudiced against romance novels to start with but I love a good story. The Clan of the Cave Bear and the Valley of the Horses were very interesting stories. I could take the romance. The Mammoth Hunters belongs under a Harlequin publishing title so I and people like me who enjoy a very good adventure read with lots of educational thought would not walk into this wall of stupidity unawares.
on May 3, 2004
I have recently finished the main four books of the "Earth's Children" series, and I have decided to review "The Mammoth Hunters" because I thought that this third book is where the series started to lose some of it's charm. That doesn't mean that it isn't worth reading, though. I just have a few qualifications. "Spoilers"
In the first two books, "The Clan of the Cave Bear" and "The Valley of Horses", the huge amount of detail about the climates, landscapes, and plantlife never really bothered me too much, but in this book (and the last book, "Plains of Passage") I found it dwelt on the most trivial little things for ages! Most of the new characters are fairly likable, though none of them truly stand out, except maybe Rydag. Sometimes the author Ms. Auel seems more interested in Ayla's animal friends than in the people. A very large portion of this book is dedicated to the "love triangle" between Ayla, Jondalar, and Ranec, and this is frustrating for a number of reasons. First, it isn't really a love triangle at all; it is a "misunderstanding" between Ayla and Jondalar which causes Ranec to think that Ayla is available. Second, Ranec is an annoying and slightly creepy character, so I was never really interested in what the heck happened to him. Third, it takes over three hundred pages to resolve this issue!! Literally, three hundred pages of Ayla and Jondalar staring longingly at each other when the other one isn't looking, saying awkward things to each other, getting angry with each other, and so on. That doesn't mean that all three hundred pages are monotonous or boring. There are some very sad and touching scenes that will stay with you: Jondalar crying and clutching the wolf puppy at night while Ayla is sleeping with Ranec; Ayla sobbing to Mamut (the old MogUr-like character), asking him why Jondalar doesn't love her anymore; Jondalar losing control of himself when he's alone with Ayla and taking her by force (though she allows it); Ayla panicking and confessing her feelings when Jondalar leaves without her. These, and a few other scenes, are very endearing, though you may want to scream at Jondalar once in a while for not seeing what's so plainly obvious to everyone else. It never really leaves the reader's mind that all this drama and heartache could have been resolved in about two minutes if the two people just spoke to each other.
On a side note, there seems to be a lot of people taking issue with the sex scenes in this series and I find it very odd. There is also violence, death, and (in the first book) a brutal rape scene, but no-one seems too concerned about these things. I'd call that a serious misplacement of values. Ayla and Jondalar are both adults and in love, so what's the problem? If you're squeamish about the sex scenes, then just skip them! The explicit descriptions are pretty entertaining, if you ask me! Ms. Auel uses hilarious adjectives for the sex scenes (eg. "Jondalar's large throbbing manhood", "Ayla's pink place of pleasure", ect.) that had me laughing out loud at some points!! In the fourth book, Ayla and Jondalar even "invent" the 69 position!
In conclusion, I'll say that this book (and the fourth) is worth reading if you have already read the first two and really enjoyed them. As a stand-alone novel, it doesn't quite work. It's entertaining at times, but nowhere near as brilliant as the first, or as fun as the second.
on December 9, 2002
This is the third book of the series that I have read, and I have only started the fourth one (Plains of Passage). I loved the Clan of the Cave Bear and Valley of the Horses. I found the story of Ayla's bravery and skill to survive very inspiring, and the love story between her and Jondolar was very touching and unique. But this book I wasn't so thrilled with. It was a little overdramatic for my tastes with the saga of the love triangle b/w Ayla, Jondolar, and Ranec was not very engaging. It lacked any kind of depth or substance. Some parts I didn't even finish because they were so inane that they didn't make any sense. I also found it unrealistic that Ayla had to be good at everything, being the smart inventer, one of the best hunters and atheletes, the best cook, healer, all this and the most beautiful woman. You start to wonder if there's anything she can't do. But I still admired her courage to stand up for herself and her beliefs, her persistence, and her constant desire to learn more. There was not ample character development of the Mamutoi but enough; after all not quite everything should have to revolve around Ayla.
I'm curious to see if Ayla's relationship to Ranec was Jean Auel's way of expressing her polictical beliefs, because I found it rather odd that someone with African roots early in the Ice Age would end up in Europe. I don't disapprove of interracial relationships but I was surprised that in those times their relationship wasn't frowned upon yet her "abomination" of a half-cro magnon, half-neanderthal child was. It was obvious that their relationship wasn't as deep as her relationship with Jondolar and that she wasn't "in love" with him. Even at the end, she ends up with Jondolar. So I didn't see the point of her adding another man to the story if she was just going to end up with Jondolar anyway unless it was to make some kind of point about modern society; in the process diverging from the point of the story. Nonetheless, Ranec was a fascinating character, and I felt that Ayla probably could have treated him better instead of using him as a decoy in her lets-get-jealous game with Jondolar (and she did actually know better, because it says several times in the story that she wanted to make him mad by sleeping with Ranec). See why I found that story revolting?
I think Jean Auel is a great storyteller, but I find her feminisit views too extreme (and I'm a woman). I think she needs to focus on the story instead of to impose her personal beliefs unto the readers. If I wanted to read about Political Science I wouldn't be wandering in the Fiction section.
on September 25, 2002
If you read and loved Clan of the Cave Bear, as I did, don't expect an equivelent masterpiece with this one. The main bulk of the story is basically a plot stolen from a glorified romance novel, and while Ayla's continued transformation into her own woman is interesting, her dependance on Jondalar really makes it null. The book picks up immediately after the close of Valley of Horses, as Ayla and Jondalar find themselves in the territory of the Mamotoi, a group of mamoth hunters. Ayla feels accepted right away, as she makes new friends, learns new skills, and even aquires a few admirers. Jondalar however, is still eager to go back to his own people, and anxious to be on their way. Ayla finds herself more and more attracted to another man, which naturally makes Jondalar quite jealous, and the story basically progressess very predictably from there. The love triangle drags on for far too long, and is really only there to add some much needed variety to Ayla and Jondalar's extremelly boring and pointless relationship. By the end I was really hoping she'd ditch both the guys and go for the fourteen year old. So, while not the best in the series by a long shot, it is neccesary if you want to get the full effect of Ayla's story.
on January 9, 2002
I was a bit afraid to start this novel, after reading the reviews for this book, but since I wanted to know what happened between Ayla and Jondalar, I started it anyway. It took me close to two months to get past the first 200 pages, I did not want to read it, I was sooooooo bored with it!! But I wanted to finish the series so I forced myself into finishing it. Luckily, I didn't have to force myself too much, around the 300 pages into the novel, I got into it!
I Do agree that the novel was like a prehistoric Soap opera with the love triangle between Ayla, Jondolar and Ranec, and I didn't feel that Jondalar had to be so jealous most of the time, and it took them 300 pages to resolve it. I would've rather had Ayla ditched both of them and went with the Character from the wolf pack, who i cannot remember his name at the moment, but of course, with the formula of the novel, you know who ends up with her.
Character development was wonderful. I did find it hard to remember all of the characters, though! I kept forgetting who was male and female! lol.
My favorite part was when Ayla stood up to the people about Rydag, that gave me much joy to see how much the Lion Camp cared for her.
But all in all, If you want to read the whole series, you should read this one as well. I personally thought the book was a tad bit too long, to not really cover much. But you can still skip this novel and continue on with "Plains Of Passage"
on June 14, 2011
This book has one major flaw the love triangle between Ayla, Jondalar and a member of the new group of people they spend the winter with. This relationship is labourious to read and drags on for hundreds of pages.
The other aspects of the book are great though. The introduction of the Mammoth Hunters provides an interesting collection of new characters. The story follows Auels always interesting portrail of early man. I enjoy the theories of technological and behavioral evolution present in all the Children of the Earth series.
The great hunt scenes are fascinating and a joy to read as well. A good book for fans of the series but not one to pick up and read if you don't know the back story.
on July 2, 2002
After VOH, I was worried when I saw how long the book was. Luckily, this one moves much faster. What I liked: the pace, the new characters, and, yes, I liked the dreaded triangle. After all, it would just be weird if Jondalar was the only guy ayla was ever attracted to. Only problem was that I liked Ranec better, even though you're supposed to root for the J-man.
What I didn't like: Too much repetitive description! I like the herbal lore, but after the first few times discussing the uses of willow bark, foxglove, and datura, I think I got it. Also, this is the book where Ayla begins to become very unbelievably perfect. She does everything but create world peace and invent tupperware.
on August 2, 2002
I REALLY got bored with the discriptions of his blue eyes, exceptionally large man hood, her moist pinkness at least twice in every chapter. It was as though you could hear the editor saying "You gotta throw a sex scene in here". Ms. Auel seems to repeat herself a lot in all her books as though the reader has just dropped in and has not read the last page. Most of the books are rather far fetched (except for the location and artifact discriptions) and some of it is down right wrong. (ie. wet leather does not dry out from your body heat overnight). If you take her books as 98% pure fantasy and wishfull thinking they are OK.
on August 7, 2001
This book is definitly the worst of the series in my opinion. I absolutely loved the series, but this one was just like a pre-historic soap opera. There were some good parts in the story. I loved Auel's description of the Mamutoi's reactions to her horses and when Alya brings home a wolf pup. But the whole story was mostly just about the Alya, Jondalar, and Ranec love triangle. It's an ok book if you like that kind of thing, but if not you don't even really need to read it to understand the 4th book (which was a TON better).
on July 4, 2004
Auel's writing was entertaining enough to keep me interested throughout two thirds of the book. Then I got bored and skip-read the rest, suspecting that the "fateful decision" announced in the inside cover (of the hardcover edition) would be something very predictable, namely Ayla and Jon settling their petty squabble, having sex, and riding off into the sunset on Whinny, their (not quite white) horse.
The book was a nice easy read for a rainy Sunday, though, and it didn't annoy me too much, so I'm giving it three stars.