Customer Reviews


 
 
Average Customer Review
Share your thoughts with other customers
Create your own review
 
 

The most helpful favourable review
The most helpful critical review


20 of 22 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Finally we see Ayla among her own people
Ayla and Jondalar have left the security of Aylas valley and have decided to stay with the Mamutoi for the winter who decide to adopt Ayla into their Clan. This is the first time we see Ayla interact with her own race of people and as expected there are some severe confrontations especially with Frebec who dislikes Ayla because she was brought up by the Neanderthal Clan...
Published on 18 Jan. 2004

versus
12 of 15 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Read this, too.
After "The Valley of Horses" everybody must have been curious to know how Ayla would adapt to her own people and how they would adapt to her. This is told very well, although the details of stoneage life start to became a bit tedious in this third book of the series. Also, it makes you wonder why Ayla invents everything new, while other people are happily content doing as...
Published on 5 Aug. 2002 by shani76


‹ Previous | 1 25 | Next ›
Most Helpful First | Newest First

20 of 22 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Finally we see Ayla among her own people, 18 Jan. 2004
By A Customer
This review is from: The Mammoth Hunters (Earth's Children) (Paperback)
Ayla and Jondalar have left the security of Aylas valley and have decided to stay with the Mamutoi for the winter who decide to adopt Ayla into their Clan. This is the first time we see Ayla interact with her own race of people and as expected there are some severe confrontations especially with Frebec who dislikes Ayla because she was brought up by the Neanderthal Clan (Flatheads). This book shows the reader the type of prejustice Ayla will have to deal with for the rest of her life and gives us a taste of how her life will change. Ayla meets Ranec a charming carver of the Mamutoi and has to make a life changing decision - Jondalar or Ranec - to journey to Southern France in search of Jondalars people or to stay and mate Ranec and live with the Mamutoi. This book is a little slower than the other two and the extensive detail of the world around Ayla though detailed is a little tedious after a while however the plot and story line make up for the amounts of description. Even though the first two books surpass this one reading this book will be no disappointment. Aylas adventure and life story continue and it's a sheer delight to see her evolve and grow as a person both in herself and among other people of her race. No doubt this book is the bridge between Aylas earlier life of pain and loss and her future with the man she chooses and the people with whom she will live. Anyone who has read the first two books must read this one even if it is just out of sheer curiosity about what happens next. This book is part of a great series and even though it may not be the best is essential to Aylas story and life. A must read for any fan of Earth Children
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A good book mired in bad romance, 17 Mar. 2008
This review is from: The Mammoth Hunters (Earth's Children) (Paperback)
You know, books are funny things. Much like people, they often start out creative, imaginative and adventurous, but inevitably they stray down safer and more predictable paths as they get older. Such is the case with The Mammoth Hunters, the third entry in the Earth's Children series. It still manages to drive the narrative forward, but it chooses to use the tired cliché of a love triangle as the core of its story.

Now, let me clear something up before we continue - I'm not dead against romance novels. Admittedly, the genre has been used and abused more than George Bush's executive authority over the years, but it can still be used to good effect, provided it's not allowed to overshadow everything else. Unfortunately, that's exactly what happens here, and an otherwise good book suffers as a result - a bit like an Olympic sprinter trying to win a race with a dead manatee on his back.

Following on directly from The Valley of Horses, The Mammoth Hunters kicks off with Ayla's reintroduction to the world of the Others. Welcomed into a tribe called the Mamutoi, she soon sets about impressing people, making friends (and enemies), saving lives and generally proving how awesome she is at every opportunity. After all, it is Ayla. However, all is not well. Her fragile new relationship with Jondalar is showing the strain, and when she drunkenly gives in to the advances of an amorous artist, a severe bout of jealousy sets in and he promptly dumps her. This chain of events is likely to hit particularly close to home for anyone who spent a couple of years at university.

It's a shame really that the rather tedious love triangle overshadows what is otherwise quite an engaging and interesting book. Watching Ayla gradually adapt to human society after growing up with the Clan and spending years in isolation is a fascinating experience, and is almost enough to support the book in its own right. But not quite.

The problem with the romance angle is that previous objections aside, it's not particularly well handled. The whole love triangle feels forced and contrived, and everyone involved behaves in such an immature and oblivious fashion that I actually didn't care who Ayla ended up with. Neither Jondalar or Ranec distinguished themselves, while the normally perceptive Ayla seemed to be wearing her stupid hat for most of the story. Likewise, supporting characters who could potentially have resolved the whole thing with a simple explanation are inexplicably silent throughout the entire debacle. Normally I'm pretty forgiving when it comes to author intrusion, but when the plot manipulation is this thick it becomes kind of hard to ignore. It's a bit like coming home to find a walrus in your living room, but you're the only one that can see it.

As far as supporting characters go, they're all pretty much cut from standard templates. There's the elderly mentor type, the sickly child with wisdom beyond his years, the stern but well-meaning leader, the caring motherly character, the insecure girl on the verge of womanhood (insert your own `Not A Girl, Not Yet A Woman' reference here), and the troublemaker who comes good in the end. No great surprises. Still, they're mostly quite well executed, and the book's unusual setting injects a bit of freshness into the otherwise tired archetypes. The plot even summons up a few surprisingly poignant moments toward the end, reminiscent of Clan of the Cave Bear's triumphant climax.

The Mammoth Hunters has received a lot of deserved stick over the years for the aforementioned love triangle, but overall I'd rate its story as one of the best, mainly because this is the last book in the series that's genuinely fun while retaining the raw, unforgiving edge of its predecessors. In a sense, it's the high water mark for the series before it began its descent into mediocrity and tedium. Also, it marks the end of Ayla's transition into a fully developed member of human society, so in a sense it ties up most of the major plot arcs from the end of the first book.

For this reason, I reluctantly give it four stars out of five. I was really tempted to give it three, because the love triangle drags it down so badly, but I feel that the rest of the book more or less makes up for these shortcomings.
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 Earth's Children book 3, 31 Mar. 2011
By 
Sarah (Feeling Fictional) (Kent, England) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)    (TOP 500 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: The Mammoth Hunters (Earth's Children) (Paperback)
In the third installment of the Earth's Children series Ayla finally gets to meet more people of her own kind (the Cro-Magnon race she calls the Others). Spending the winter with Jondalar and the Lion Camp of the Mamutoi Ayla learns about the differences between the Others and the Clan (Neanderthals) she was brought up by. Although she suffers from prejudice from those who believe the Clan who raised her are nothing but animals she also finally finds acceptance and a sense of belonging. When the handsome carver Ranec shows an interest in her Jondalar is overcome with jealousy and Ayla is forced to make a very difficult decision. Should she stay with the people who have made her so welcome and mate with Ranec or should she leave with Jondalar and make the difficult journey to his homeland?

Although it isn't my favorite book in the series I still thoroughly enjoyed The Mammoth Hunters. I absolutely loved the Mamutoi and finding out about their way of life and also enjoyed watching Ayla interact with a group of people for the first time. Although not all of the Lion Camp are willing to accept her because of her background some of the camp go out of their way to make her feel welcome and we are introduced to some great characters. My favorite would have to be Rydag who is a child born of mixed spirits who was adopted by the mate of the camp leader. Nezzie is such a caring woman and her love for Rydag is heartwarming to see but watching the rest of the group grow to care for him after Ayla teaches them to communicate with him was one of my favorite parts of the book.

Another character I fell in love with was the newest addition to Ayla's animal family. I'm not going to say more because I don't want to spoil it for you but I defy you not to fall in love with him! His interactions with the rest of the camp and particularly with the horses made me laugh out loud and were great fun to read about.

I have to confess that the love triangle in this book drives me crazy. Although Ayla's behaviour is understandable because of her upbringing I could almost strangle Jondalar at times. He is so jealous of Ranec that he can't see straight and you want to bang his and Ayla's heads together and make them have a simple conversation that would quickly resolve everything. By the end of the book I'm almost ready to give up on him completely and hoping that Ayla will stay with Ranec and the Mamutoi! I am happy with the way things turned out in the end though.

A common complaint about this series is that Ayla is a little too perfect and that she and Jondalar seem to invent nearly every advancement made by humans throughout the Ice Age. I'll admit that this does seem to be the case but I can easily forgive this because it allows us to see in detail how these advances probably did come about. If you suspend belief that it was all discovered by 2 people I'm sure you'll find it just as interesting as I do. Another negative comment I've seen several times is the amount of detailed description Jean M Auel goes into but for me this is one of the positives of the series. She has obviously put in a great deal of research about the era and as it is something I knew practically nothing about before picking up her books I find it fascinating to read about. Some things do get a little repetitive throughout the series but I don't really find that a problem until we get to the fourth book in the series The Plains of Passage. Overall this is still an all time favorite series of mine and one I would highly recommend.
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
5.0 out of 5 stars Another journey Ayla's own humanity, 10 Sept. 2008
By 
Mr. Liam Edward Sharratt "Olmecius" (Manchester, UK) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: The Mammoth Hunters (Earth's Children) (Paperback)
Auel's third book in the 'Earth's Children' series follows Ayla along her journey from being raised by a Neanderthal Clan to her on-going discovery of her own humanity.

She, along with the man she loves, Jondalar, leave the confines of her valley and set out to explore the surrounding area. The couple chance upon the Lion Camp of the Mamutoi and Ayla is once again to embark upon a journey she could never have imagined.

Auel does not disappoint fans, as she broadens and deepens the reader's relationship with both Ayla and Jondalar; delving into their relationship with themselves, each other and Ayla's newly-adopted family, the Lion Camp. A must read for all who have enjoyed the first two in the series
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


10 of 12 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars An engrossing tale of love and jealousy., 2 July 2002
By A Customer
This review is from: The Mammoth Hunters (Earth's Children) (Paperback)
The third book in the Earth's Children series starts with Ayla and Jondalar visiting a group of mammoth hunters. They make many friends among the good-natured people who eventually offer to adopt Ayla as one of their own. Unfortunately she incurs the enmity of local troublemaker, Frebec who despises her for being raised by Flatheads. Ayla also finds herself attracted to the charismatic Ranec, a skilled carver who courts her. This incurs the jealousy of her lover, Jondalar, and it begins to look as though the two have suffered so much before finding each other may break up on bitter terms.
Like the first book in the series, The Clan of the Cave Bear, this book deals heavily with the detailed minutae of stone age life. The majority of the book concerns the two-dozen characters of the Lion Camp who adopt Ayla and her struggle to fit in with her knew people. Her attraction to Ranec and the growing jealousy of Jondalar are convincingly portrayed. Being set mainly in one place and concerning a single group of people, this book doesn't quite have the same epic quality as the second book, The Valley of Horses but is still an excellent continuation to Auel's ongoing saga.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


4.0 out of 5 stars Another great episode in the series, 20 Aug. 2010
By 
Debs "Little Chef" (London UK) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)   
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: The Mammoth Hunters (Earth's Children) (Paperback)
This is actually my second time of reading this series and I enjoyed it as much as the first. Auel's research must have been prodigious and is evident in her detailed descriptions of hide-tanning, medical plants, early art and many more. In this book, she tackles the concept of early racism insofar as the 'Others' are naturally suspicious of Rydag, a child born of two peoples, the 'Others' and the 'Flatheads'; over time, many of the 'Others' manage to conquer their distrust of Rydag and the 'Flatheads' - perhaps Auel could be accused of making their journey to a less-prejudiced outlook a little simplistic (after all, racism has still not been conquered today despite many hundreds of years of development) but the idea is nevertheless a positive one. Auel's storyline is engaging and the reader is drawn into the plot and feels involved with the characters, their triumphs and their tragedies. This is not to say it is without fault - I did become rather impatient with the extreme lack of communication between Jondalar and Ayla. I understand that Auel was demonstrating their greatly different backgrounds and thus their difficult in understand the other's viewpoint, but I do feel that near on 800 pages of misunderstood relationship might be stretching the limits somewhat. Nevertheless, this is a fantastic story, well-written and intriguing and I would recommend it to anyone who enjoys this genre.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


5.0 out of 5 stars Mammoth, 18 Aug. 2009
By 
underthethumb (UK) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)   
This, the third book in the series, is a mammoth book in more than just title as it is somewhat on the large size and took me a good deal of effort to wade through. It was quite hard going in places as the level of detail in some of the descriptions was very intricate showing the extent that Jean M Auel has gone to in her research.

There are also quite a bit of repetition from previous books for the benefit of new readers which could have been avoided as I can't imagine many people would start the series here rather than with The Clan of the Cave Bear.

It is ultimately a very rewarding book to finish and you feel that as well as having ready a very good novel you have also been educated about the lives of the people living at the time and how Northern Europe was during the last Ice Age.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


12 of 15 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Read this, too., 5 Aug. 2002
This review is from: The Mammoth Hunters (Earth's Children) (Paperback)
After "The Valley of Horses" everybody must have been curious to know how Ayla would adapt to her own people and how they would adapt to her. This is told very well, although the details of stoneage life start to became a bit tedious in this third book of the series. Also, it makes you wonder why Ayla invents everything new, while other people are happily content doing as they always did. But well, she's the heroine and after adoring her for the first two books you won't give up on her that easily.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


5.0 out of 5 stars A Magnificent Epic in a Novel, 31 July 2013
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: The Mammoth Hunters (Hardcover)
This is a meticulously researched and fascinating book of life on a glacial continent in the last Ice Age. Then two kinds of human beings shared the earth, the Neanderthal and the Cro-Magnon. Totally absorbing tale of Ayla, along with Jondalar a handsome man she has nursed back to health, who both embark on a journey that leads them to the Manutol, the Mammoth Hunters. Totally unputdownable book with its rich description of life during this time, how they hunted and lived. Its beautiful, exciting and imaginative and, in a way, quite believable.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


6 of 8 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Down the slippery slope, 14 Oct. 2010
By 
Iset (London, UK) - See all my reviews
(TOP 1000 REVIEWER)   
I was hooked into this series by the first book, "Clan of the Cave Bear", a fun, well-written novel with excellent character relationships. I instantly read the sequel, "The Valley of Horses", but found myself a bit dubious, as there were a couple of issues this time around with the characterisations and it dragged in places. Nevertheless, I persisted, convinced that "The Valley of Horses" had just been a brief dip before the series got back to the good standard of the first book. I was wrong, and I was oh so disappointed that this should be the case, but "The Mammoth Hunters" wasn't even on a par with "The Valley of Horses". Even after "The Mammoth Hunters", I persisted with this series, truly wishing for things to get better... but it was all downhill, and sadly this is the first in the series in that trend.

But there are some good things to be said. Undoubtedly one of Auel's greatest strengths as a writer are her descriptions, which we're hit with right at the beginning of the book and take on a whole new level from even her previous works so far in this series. The description of the Lion Camp's longhouse, constructed out of mammoth bones, was truly atmospheric - the darkness inside, the flickering hearths giving off smoky smells, the gathered people murmuring in hushed tones and turning to look at Ayla. For perhaps the first time in Auel's series, I felt completely and very believably transported back to an environment thousands of years ago. The description of the musical instruments and their use was another descriptive highlight, as were the interesting titbits on food sources and preparation.

It's obvious that Auel has put a great deal of research into this book, and it comes across in her detailed descriptions of period specific items and activities. I appreciate it, however, Auel takes her research too far in this novel. There are points in the text when Auel breaks off from naturally describing something as part of the story, to engaging in her own voice in a lengthy discussion that could've been lifted whole from an article in a university archaeological and anthropological journal! There are genuinely moments when it's written; "people wouldn't know it until millennia later, but..." This was so horribly jarring, to suddenly and inexplicably be dragged from a historical fiction narrative, into a modern day dry, factual, Palaeolithic site report, that this alone was a major detriment to the book!

The romance scenes were another big thumbs down. It's not that there are too many of them, or that they are too graphic. It's that they're badly written. Very badly written. You'd be forgiven for thinking the printers accidentally stuck some loose pages from a trashy Harlequin romance or cheesy bodice-ripper in the middle of "The Mammoth Hunters". Feast your eyes on such literary incredulities as; "Jondalar's large throbbing manhood", "Ayla's pink place of pleasure" and her "petal-like folds". The word "pleasure" is written with a capital P, and not only is the language used completely fatuous, and their activities are insipidly and repetitively formulaic.

All this brings me to the supposed "love triangle" which apparently forms the main plot of this book. The love triangle plot fires into action when Ranec, who has so far only watched Ayla from afar, makes known to Ayla his desire for her at her adoption ceremony into the tribe. Ayla, having been brought up like a good Neanderthal woman and apparently incapable of telling the guy "I'm just not that into you", knows that when a man makes a signal that he wants her, a woman should instantly submit. I have to say, for someone who's meant to be so brilliant, Ayla was pretty stupid about the whole love triangle thing. Since when has Ayla conformed to the Neanderthal codes? She broke them over and over in the first book, unable to resist her Cro-Magnon nature! And what about Jondalar teaching her all about Cro-Magnon relationships in the previous book? So, despite these baffling contradictions, Ayla hops into bed with Ranec whilst she's still Jondalar's girl. Jondalar is hacked off. Ayla doesn't get why he's mad, despite all the above experiences she's had and having had ample chance to observe from the Mammoth Hunters how relationships work. NO ONE from the cast of supporting characters explains to Ayla just what she has inadvertently done wrong. Because Ayla acts confused and like she has done nothing wrong, Jondalar convinces himself that she doesn't want him anymore and has chosen Ranec over him, and so pulls back from her, deciding to let her be free to make her own choice. Because Jondalar pulls back from her, Ayla thinks he doesn't love her anymore, and decides she'd better stick with Ranec even though she doesn't truly love him, because then at least she'll have someone who cares for her.

And this "misunderstanding" rambles on for over 300 pages. I swear, I was THIS close to throwing the book down in disgust. The big "love triangle" plot could've been resolved in two minutes if Ayla and Jondalar would only SPEAK to each other. And the others in the camp, who, we are given hints, can see what's really going on in the whole big mess of this misunderstanding and know that Jondalar and Ayla still love each other, inexplicably, do NOTHING! Not a single word of advice to point the unhappy couple in the right direction or to fix the relationship. Worst of all, Ayla and Jondalar ALREADY went through the big misunderstanding plot line, where he thinks she doesn't love him, she thinks he doesn't love her, in the immediately previous book! Why oh why is the EXACT same plot being used again?!

And that brings me to without a doubt the most annoying facet of the entire book. The wonderfulness of Ayla. Ayla's only flaw in this book is how she misunderstands the love triangle situation. But apart from this her achievements are endless! In the course of the series so far, Ayla has invented the double-shot technique using the sling, tamed a horse for the first time ever, tamed a lion for the first time ever, tames the very birds out of the trees, is the first person ever to discover how to make fire with flint, learns the Zelandonii language to fluency within a few months and the same for the Mamutoi language, tames a wolf for the first time ever thus creating the first ever domesticated dog, invents the needle, and saves a prematurely born baby using her medical skills. In addition to all this, the Mamutoi shaman tells Ayla that she has the whole kit and caboodle of shamanic powers! I wouldn't be surprised if she invents the wheel and achieves world peace in the next book! She is completely unrealistic in her talents, skills, achievements, and attractiveness. I understand what her fans are saying, that someone's got to make all these prehistoric discoveries, and I'd go along with it if it was just one thing she invents, but no single individual invented all those things. It's archaeological and historical fact, these items and features appeared at different periods, millennia apart, it's simply not possible. The annoying thing about Ayla in this book is that she's flat as a character, she has no deeper levels, she has no dark side, she's always honest, helpful, and naive, and she ultimately comes off as both boring and irritatingly over-powered. It doesn't exactly inspire interest or confidence when the two leads of this series have become so riddled with problems. I don't care what happens to Ayla or Jondalar, and I wouldn't have been upset if Jondalar had ridden off alone, or even if the other camps of the Mamutoi banded together witch-hunt style and chased off Ayla due to her Neanderthal connections. All the other characters are complete cardboard stereotypes

Finally, as far as I can see, this book was just a completely unnecessary detour from the main plot of Jondalar and Ayla travelling back to his homeland. At the start of the book they intend only to stay with the Mamutoi a few days and then continue on their way... and by the end of the book, not much has happened at all and Ayla and Jondalar continue on their way.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


‹ Previous | 1 25 | Next ›
Most Helpful First | Newest First

This product

The Mammoth Hunters (Earth's Children)
The Mammoth Hunters (Earth's Children) by Jean M. Auel (Paperback - 4 April 2002)
Used & New from: £0.01
Add to wishlist See buying options
Only search this product's reviews