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36 of 38 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars New characters, new settings and a new adventure
Ayla has been exiled from the Clan of Neanderthals that raised her since she was five years old. Iza and Creb have died and now that she is in exile Ayla has had to leave her son Durc behind with her sister Uba. Alone and with very little possessions for her survival Ayla travels across the country in search of "the others", Cro-Magnon people to whom she was born. However...
Published on 18 Jan 2004

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13 of 15 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars The same wonderful environments, but the characterisations suffer
"Clan of the Cave Bear" was a decent book that kept me turning the pages and one that I truly enjoyed. The ending definitely made me want to go out and buy this sequel, "The Valley of Horses". Sadly the sequel was not up to the standards of the first book, although there are plenty of aspects to recommend it.

The richly created environments and vivid...
Published on 14 Oct 2010 by Isis


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36 of 38 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars New characters, new settings and a new adventure, 18 Jan 2004
By A Customer
Ayla has been exiled from the Clan of Neanderthals that raised her since she was five years old. Iza and Creb have died and now that she is in exile Ayla has had to leave her son Durc behind with her sister Uba. Alone and with very little possessions for her survival Ayla travels across the country in search of "the others", Cro-Magnon people to whom she was born. However eager to find a home for the winter Ayla stays in a Valley in which she finds a foal which she raises and cares for to ease her loneliness. Aylas caring nature also causes her to adopt a lion cub, however the lion cub had a greater impact on her fate than even Ayla could image. At the same time as Ayla is finding her independence two Cro-Magnon brothers Jondalar and Thonolan are travelling across the continent from their home in Southern France in search of the end of the Great Mother River and adventure. Jean M Auel has surpassed herself this book is even greater than the one before. The circumstances which unite Ayla and Jondalar are well thought out and just like the Clan of the Cave Bear the world in which Ayla lives in is thoroughly researched and detailed. Jondalar and Thonolans adventure gives the reader knowledge of "the others" and the many different cultures present in this one race of people. Through this writing technique the reader is fully informed not only about the customs and culture of the Neanderthal people but the Cro-Magnon people aswell. Auel has provided this book with a great collection of new characters and settings to move the story along whet ever happens in future books this one is the best yet. I challenge anyone to read this book and criticise it!
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A moving book about survival, 2 Nov 2001
By A Customer
A sequel to CLAN OF THE CAVE BEAR but this time concentrating on the way of life of the 'Others'. In relation to their extreme prejudice towards 'Flatheads', the author suggests that racism is as old as humankind itself. That what makes the book so interesting. In writing it, Jean Auel almost talks about today.
How Ayla survives in that hostile environment on her own is amazing. She would have been an unusual woman, even for those times. And her taming of a horse suggests that human relationships with those animals which eventually were to become domesticated didn't just happen overnight.
There's not much fiction around about prehistoric times so Jean Auel's books situated around that time more than makes up for it. She is a talented and imaginative writer. She shares her talent with Wilbur Smith, another writer who is also good at describing the landscape and animals in vivid detail.
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15 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The best in the series, 2 Sep 2003
By 
Ms. H. Sinton "dragondrums" (Ingleby Barwick. U.K.) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
The Valley of Horses is the second book in Jean M Auel's magnificent Earth's Children series. Having been exiled from the clan of neanderthal's that had raised her, Ayla now has to journey alone and find ' the others', cro-magnons like her.
This is an epic and moving story of a young girl's struggle to survive and adapt to the fear of being totally alone in a strange and hostile environment.
Whilst travelling, Ayla discovers a valley that becomes her haven and her home and here she finds longed for companionship with a horse she raises from a foal.
Parallel to the story of Ayla is the tale of cro-magnon brothers who are 'journeying' in search of adventure. Ms Auel manages to handle these two seperate story strands with ease and switching between them never 'jars'. eventually the stories 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 one that is difficult to put down. Highly recommended.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A game of two halves..., 11 Mar 2008
The problem with sequels is that they face the difficult task of preserving the spirit of their predecessor, while introducing enough new elements that they don't feel like a retread of previous ground. For the most part I'm pleased to say that Valley of Horses manages to walk this tightrope. It wobbles on a few occasions and doesn't always proceed gracefully, but it makes it to the end without taking a tumble, and that's impressive.

Valley of Horses picks up more or less where Clan of the Cave Bear left off. Ayla, freshly banished from the Clan, is left to wander the world alone with the vague goal of finding her own people and living happily ever after. After some tedious wandering, and with winter fast approaching, she happens upon a sheltered valley where she decides to hole up and plan her next move. Time passes however and she becomes increasingly reluctant to leave her refuge.

Meanwhile, on the other side of the continent, Jondalar is setting out on a Journey with his younger (and more interesting) brother Thonolan. Basically it's the ice age equivalent of a road trip; a chance to spread their wings and have a few adventures before settling down. One doesn't have to be psychic to realise that all doesn't go according to plan for them, and that an encounter with Ayla is as inevitable as a rain-washed British summer.

Let's get the bad stuff out of the way first. The problem with this book is that for about two thirds of its length, it's essentially two completely different and unrelated stories, and sometimes the switch can be a little jarring. Just when you're really getting into a particular character's story, the book abruptly switches to the other character thousands of miles away.

Also, the two plot arcs are oddly unbalanced. Jondalar's section features more progression and interaction, yet Ayla's is arguably the more compelling story. Perhaps because Ayla is the only character remaining from Clan of the Cave Bear, Jondalar sometimes feels like an unwelcome guest - like someone you passed on the street suddenly appearing at your front door asking to come in for tea and biscuits.

Ultimately this is kind of a moot point anyway, since the real meat of the story doesn't occur until Jondalar and Ayla finally encounter each other. I have to admit, I've never been a huge fan of Jondalar as a character, but this part of the novel is pure gold. With nobody else around and no distractions, their relationship is stripped right down to the bare bones, and it's fascinating to read. How do people from such vastly different backgrounds relate to each other? How do they build the beginnings of a friendship when they don't even have a common language?

Admittedly the book does throw in a little too much cliched romance at times (a theme that would land like an obese mammoth on the next book in the series) but for the most part it's actually quite well handled. There's a certain charming innocence to their interactions, like school kids awkwardly groping for a way to express their feelings. The outwardly competent but socially naive Ayla is a sharp contrast to the emotionally troubled and immature Jondalar, and the two play off well against each other.

Valley of Horses is a solid, well written book, utilising Auel's uncomplicated style to paint a rich picture of the world her characters inhabit. She really seems to have hit her stride in this book, and very few sections struck me as rough or underdeveloped.

Having said that, the dreaded descriptions of plants, tools and animals are back. Again, they interfere with the narrative flow like they did in Clan of the Cave Bear, though their impact is lessened in Ayla's sections by virtue of the fact that nothing else is going on around her. In those instances, it can actually (and I can't believe I'm about to say this) sometimes be fun to learn about flint knapping or spear making. Watching Ayla gradually throw of the shackles of Clan beliefs during her time in isolation is an absolute joy, and one almost shares her sense of accomplishment at every little step she takes. Of course, her sense of loneliness and longing for human contact is equally palpable, making her story of survival as much a battle of the mind as the elements.

Many fans of the series point to Valley of Horses as their favourite, and while I'd caution readers that its storyline isn't as compelling or moving as Clan of the Cave Bear, I'd be inclined to agree with them. It takes the main character in a new direction, introducing new elements while never losing sight of where it came from. Overall, Valley of Horses is a worthy follow up to a great novel, and a genuinely satisfying progression in the series.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars What a book!, 2 Oct 2000
By A Customer
Jean Auel takes us back to the frozen lands of pre-history, in this fantastically written saga of Ayla's struggle to survive in the harsh climate of the Ice-Age. Ayla befriends a motherless foal, and also becomes the very first cat lover! This is a tale of how Ayla meets one of the "Others" and how she learns their very strange ways, so very different from her Neanderthal upbringing. This book, and the others in the "Earth's Children" series are so addictive, I read them constantly in rotation. All I can finish with is Absolutely Wonderful. Roll on the next instalment.
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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A fantastic story and the best in the series., 2 July 2002
By A Customer
This is the second instalment in the Earth's Children series and follows the beautiful Ayla after she is expelled from the clan that raised her and is forced to fight for survival in a harsh and unfamiliar land. Heading north she searches for her own people but eventually settles alone in a small valley to wait out the oncoming winter. The story also introduces Jondalar, a charismatic young man who follows his brother on a journey to find the end of the Great Mother river.
This book is probably the best in the Earth's Children saga. Auel deftly blends a compelling tale discovery with authentic detail to paint a captivating view of life in the ice age. Above all, she imbues with book with a rare sense of passion that truly involves the reader in the story. We feel for the characters' triumphs and sorrows and experience a building sense of anticipation as their journeys lead them towards one another.
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A story of survival and determination, 23 July 2002
By A Customer
The heroine of The Clan of the Cave Bear, Ayla, sets out alone and discovers a lush valley surrounded by bleak steppes. Feeling the loneliness of her situation, she adopts an orphaned foal and rescues an injured lion cub from a certain death. While she lives in the valley for three years without human contact, a young man, Jondalar, sets out with his restless younger brother who is eager to see the world.
When the two finally meet, it is the first time Ayla meets one of her own since losing her parents who she doesn't remember. At the same time Jondalar is drawn to this strange and beautiful woman who lacks social skills but has a talent for healing.
This second instalment should not only appeal to those who want to know what happens next to Ayla after she leaves the Clan but can also be enjoyed as a great read on its own. This book is well written and shows up the author's imaginative talent as well as her well-researched knowledge of wildlife and landscape of Ice Age Europe.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars THE BEST READ EVER, 11 Feb 2000
By A Customer
What a brillian t read this series is. I urge every lover of historical fiction/science fiction/fanatsy to rush out and buy this series. Books 5 & 6 are on the way and I can hardly wait. It's been a long time since Jean Auel published and I am sure all her fans are as eager as I am for the next installment.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Outstandin, 17 May 2002
This is the second novel in Jean M. Aul’s Earth’s Children saga. We met Ayla in 'The Clan of the Cave Bear' a young Cro-Magnon female found and raised by a group of Neanderthals. Ayla is forced to leave her adoptive family and make her way alone. She is seeking others like herself and stumbles on a valley occupied by horses. Her skills as a hunter, the very skills which meant her rejection by the clan, stand her in good stead. She not only thrives on her own she learns how to make fire, and domesticate a horse, a lion and a wolf. Running parallel to her story of survival is the adventure of a young man travelling East from his people. The two meet and have a stormy romance due to misunderstandings by him and her lack of social skills. Aul shows considerable knowledge of prehistoric man and convinces us that this is how it really was.
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13 of 15 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars The same wonderful environments, but the characterisations suffer, 14 Oct 2010
By 
Isis (London, UK) - See all my reviews
(TOP 1000 REVIEWER)   
"Clan of the Cave Bear" was a decent book that kept me turning the pages and one that I truly enjoyed. The ending definitely made me want to go out and buy this sequel, "The Valley of Horses". Sadly the sequel was not up to the standards of the first book, although there are plenty of aspects to recommend it.

The richly created environments and vivid descriptions, particularly the environment of the amazing valley of horses where Ayla makes her home, are amazing and definitely one of the strongest things to recommend this book. There's also a lot more action in this book than its prequel, which I was heartened to see, in the form of hunting scenes, but the sequences are a long way from being gripping or thrilling. Ayla's time alone in the valley did seem to drag a bit - I was looking forwards in this book to seeing Ayla finding her own people at last, but she doesn't even meet another Cro-Magnon until about three-quarters of the way through the book! Unfortunately, Ayla turns into a bit of an all-too-perfect Palaeolithic princess - in the book Ayla discovers not just one major discovery of the human race, but several. Highly unlikely that Ayla would invent even one of these revolutionary technologies. Also, she is described as literally charming birds from the trees, taming a savage cave lion even to the point of being able to ride it, and her golden hair and toned body are expounded on much throughout the book. And, what a surprise, she is the only woman who can satisfy Jondalar in all of his years of travel.

Jondalar is described as incredibly tall, broad shouldered, firm-chested, with extremely rare blue eyes plus the same golden hair as Ayla. He has virtually no depth, excepting his constant angst about not being able to fall in love with any woman, which frankly I found whiny, and the reasons for this incapability are never really explained or explored at all... yet of course Ayla is his perfect woman and the only one he can fall in love with. As a result, their romance felt way too set up. That said, Ayla and Jondalar's actual courtship was well done, full of realistic steps backwards through confusion, assumption and misunderstanding, which I thought was quite true to life.

Auel still picks up points for tackling this little written about period, however, and she creates more cultural details in this book, this time of the Cro-Magnon race. The earth mother goddess worship is accurate, and the artefacts of carved female fertility figurines are genuine, however the idea that representing her face is sacrilege and that Jondalar carves Ayla's face on his goddess figurine (based on an actual artefact on which braided hair and a face have been carved, whereas the very few other figurines have this) is, I fear, sentimental fiction. There's no evidence that representing the mother goddess' face was sacrilege to Cro-Magnon people, the very few number of figurines we have cannot imply this with any certainty, and the fact that one of them does bear this representation suggests that it was not sacrilege at all, and may have been frequently done. The other cultural suppositions Auel makes are just that.

A fair sequel, but it doesn't top the first book. My recommendation is to enjoy the first two books as the high points of the series, as, regrettably, it goes downhill from here.
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The Valley of Horses (Earths Children 2)
The Valley of Horses (Earths Children 2) by Jean M. Auel (Paperback - 23 Dec 2010)
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