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4.7 out of 5 stars121
4.7 out of 5 stars
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
I like a good `will they, won't they' scenario as much as the next person, but when this scenario stretches on for a good 600+ pages it starts to get just a little bit irritating!

Yes, it's on to the third book of the Earth's Children saga- and thankfully it's another mesmerising, unforgettable tale of primeval man. Ayla and Jondalar, the mysterious man whose life she saved in book two, have now embarked on a journey away from the Valley of Horses to find more people and have encountered them, much to Ayla's excitement and consternation. They eventually settle into the Mamutoi tribe and whilst Ayla finds it strange to be with other people, and more to the point people who look like her for a change, instead of the `Flatheads' of her former adopted clan, her differences to the Mamutoi actually make her all the more appealing, especially to the charming carver, Ranec...

Another fabulous story written in such an imaginative, skilful way- Jean M Auel has really done her research into the time of primeval man, tribes, their tools and the continents at that time and it really gets your mind ticking to try and understand a time so different from ours. I just love these books and the depth of explanation in them, but as I've suggested- the love triangle depicted here between Jondalar, Ranec and Ayla got just a little bit annoying and diverted some attention away from other more exciting goings on in the story. That aside, this was such a wonderful book anyway, that if you can see past that aspect then you're in for a treat of a read.

This is ultimately a story of acceptance, love and overcoming differences and I never thought that I would enjoy these novels as much as I have. The characters are all incredibly well developed- though be warned, there are a lot of them and their names sound a bit similar, so pay attention! I even found myself shedding a little tear here at one point- one character in particular is so well depicted that at certain events I found myself with a lump in my throat- and Ayla's understanding and acceptance of him was heart-warming.

I honestly wouldn't hesitate to recommend this series to anyone who really enjoys stories with well-written characters and a plot-line with great depth- and is looking for a read that is just a little bit different from the norm. I would however recommend reading them in their intended order- you need to understand how Ayla has got to where she is now and her past, which may be a bit confusing if you haven't at least read book one.

I am now eagerly anticipating reading book four and plan on starting this very soon.
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12 of 14 people found the following review helpful
on 16 December 2011
I first read Clan of the Cave Bear and Valley of the Horses before this third volume was published. I loved both of them, especially the second volume. I was delighted when the 3rd book came out. However while The Mammoth Hunters is readable I found it to be nowhere near as enjoyable as the first two. The main reason was the love triangle theme. This involved both Jondalar and Ayla spending far too much time self-analysing, something I hate in books. Also the scope of this volume seemed much more limited as basically they go nowhere once they hook up with this tribe. Thankfully the 4th book was back on form and is now by some margin my favourite of the series. For a long time I was sure that was as far as it was going, as it was 12 years before the 5th book was published and in truth I now wish that book 4 had been the last as book 5 was so dull that I struggled to finish it and at the end realised nothing had happened other than Ayala meeting Jondalar's tribe. For that reason when 9 year later book 6 came out I did not hurry to buy it. Sadly in the end I did in the hope that as book 4 was so much better than book 3, that book 6 may be good, but I was wrong it was even worse than book 5. Sorry for rambling but this is all one story and there is no point in buying The Mammonth Hunters without fore knowledge of the quality of what follows.
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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.
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on 15 July 2013
I have just finished this book yesterday and i have to say i am still very much enjoying this series! It's hard to immagine what could happen in these books if you have not read them, it's about cave men, what could possibly happen? As it turns out a lot can happen and it does.

This book is about Ayla being introduced to 'the others' and how she adapts to her new life with civilization again after her 3 years alone after leaving 'the clan,' the people who raised her. The people she is with now are so different to the Clan that she stuggles to understand the culture and how they think and feel, although she does learn the language very quickly. Things start to go wrong between her and Jondalar (the first man she ever met of her own people) and due to a barrier of culture and upbringing they struggle to know how to fix things, which ultimately leads to more misunderstandings and distance between them.

The tension between Ayla and Jondalar is unbearable at times. I was desperate to find out what happens between them, very well written.
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9 of 11 people found the following review helpful
on 7 February 2011
Continuing the story from the end of the previous novel - The Valley of the Horses, this volume introduces Ayla for the first time to numbers of "the others" humans like her. She meets and deals with a variety of situations ranging from mystical to prejudice, and finds and domesticates Wolf.
an excellent book. Auel in my view takes a lot of beating. His is one of thebetter books in the series. I highly recommend it.
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on 7 July 2013
I have not bought the next book after reading other reviews.
The same old same old cutting pasting from previous chapters and books.
Who knew if you wanted to write a book series you could get way with simply writing the same stuff over and over again and someone would pay you for it?
The author has hinted at things to come and then ignored these tantalising glimpses to bleat on about stuff we just don't care about.
Why doesn't the village all get wolves and start breeding them and horses and then capture a goat and begin farming?!
Surely this is what she is trying to hint at? Who cares about the earth mother?
Just read the first two books and stop there, the rest just cut and copy from these anyway with nothing much interesting happening. Shame the author couldn't fulfil the promise these books had.
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The Mammoth Hunters (3) is quite different to the two previous cave-dwelling stories in this series.

Ayla and Jondalar meet a tribe on the open tundra who have no trees for building materials. They use the bones, tusks and hide of the mammoths which they hunt, to make a large permanent shelter. This was an early longhouse or large yurt. As there is no wood to burn, the scraps of mammoth bone are burnt, and in order to do this the people have dug an air chute to draw fresh air in from outside to feed the fire oxygen. The demands of building and surviving in this house had forced the people to become ingenious and able builders. The entire tribe and visitors have to live in the same house all winter eating stored food and this creates tensions, jealousies and betrayals.
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on 7 December 2011
Having read the Clan of the Cavebear and The Valley of Horses to learn the human Ayla's fate after being banished by her adopted Neanderthal man clan at the age of 5. The incedibly beautiful blond young teenager has found love and survived what a human would unlikely to survive in today's known world. She learns to speak with animals and learns more about the human world she lost age 5 to an earthquake. From page one of the first book in the series to the end of this third in the series I am gripped from page to page. I can't get enough of this fascinating story and am excited to read the fourth. I love these novels. I wish they would never end.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on 27 September 2013
I have read all of the published 'Earth's Children' series and recently started re reading them (heaven knows why) I enjoyed the Clan of the Cave Bear probably because it was like nothing I've read before, The Valley of Horses became a little too far fetched for me with our plucky heroine inventing everything from fire lighters to surgical stitches, horse riding and lion taming. I found the adoption of the lion cub too ridiculous to laugh at, and Jondalar's manly bits constantly referred to got boring in the end. With the Mammoth Hunters I enjoyed it for a while and then got fed up with it, more of Ayla inventing everything under the sun and frankly the passages describing sexual encounters were embarrassing, far to long, too much graphic detail, much much more than I ever wanted to know about intercourse. It puts 'Fifty shades of Grey' into the pale. There never seemed to be anyone other than Ayla coming up with new ideas and in a society living on the edge I think that everyone would have had to be an innovative thinker just to survive and for that sort of society to evolve. It did get to the point where I thought if that ruddy lion had mauled her to death would we still be running around in skins and furs chasing our dinner across the plains. I think that a stronger editor could have tightened up the writing and maybe suggested that some bits could have been toned down slightly and it might have been a better and shorter read. I will be taking this and all of the rest of these to a charity shop, I haven't got time to waste on the the other books in this series.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on 21 September 2011
A friend borrowed me the 'Clan of the Cave Bear' and i really enjoyed it so I bought 'The Valley of the Horses' and this novel with a view to buying the rest at a later date. I had already noticed in the secound book how the story could sometimes drag a little but in 'The Mamouth Hunters' I almost started tearing my hair out. I appreciate that the author has done a lot of research for these novels but she seems to want to bombard you with portrails of the landscape and tool making that are unnecessarily long (infact I started to skip these parts, which I hate doing). Also Auel has made out that Ayla is some wonder child (reminded me of Harry Potter) who has become the inventor of many pivitol processes such as using flint to make a fire, the eye in a needle, the taming of both horses and a wolf (the beginning of the relationship of mans best friend)and the muse for a spear thrower. It all just becomes too unbelievable.
By far the most annoying part was the love triangle. I know that men and women seem to come from different planets and Alya was brought up in a different culture but did it really have to be that dragged out?
I borrowed the next book from the libary and within a week took it back having only read the a quarter of the book. Normally I love reading but I was having to forse myself to read the 4th in the series, I just didn't care what happened any more so I gave up!
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The Clan of the Cave Bear (Earth's Children) by Jean M. Auel (Paperback - 23 Dec. 2010)

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