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In The Valley of Horses, Ayla, the unforgettable heroine of The Clan of the Cave Bear, sets out on her own odyssey of discovery away from the nurturing adoptive family and friends of the Clan. She is in search of others like herself and in search of love.
Sharing a hidden valley with a herd of steppe horses, Ayla finds a unique friendship with animals as vulnerable as herself and ingeniously discovers the complex skills needed to survive - skills no Clan member was ever able to master.
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Torn between her desire for human companionship and her fear of the unknown Others, she struggles against her deep attraction to the handsome Jondalar. It is Jondalar who teaches her the meaning of true friendship and love.
I read the first book in this series shortly after it first came out and was captivated by the story and the setting. Auel had an excellent idea for a story and did a bang up job of telling it. The next four books in this series I grabbed as soon as they were released. When these books became available as audio books on cassette I bought them and listened to them again and again over the years. Now I have the entire series again through Audible. Good investment in money and great investment in time. Personally I think Sandra Burr does a good job with the series. My only complaint is that it has been 31 years since the first book in the series came out and Auel said at that time it would be a six book series. For anyone that's interested book 6 'Land of Painted Caves' will finally be released in book stores on March 29, 2011. I hope Audible makes it available then as well I've been waiting on for 31 years. Actually the five books of this series that have already been published read more like one exceptionally long book. I know a lot of people don???t care for the detail that Auel goes into but I like it.
8 of 8 people found this review helpful
I don't know why I enjoy the story of Ayla and Jondalar, but I do. Both characters have a definite Mary-sueish quality to them but the rich description of life in prehistoric Europe still manages to engage me even after several readings. I'm happy to find the entire, unabridged reading on Audible.
Unfortunately, this version is let down by the narration. The reader is competent enough, but I find her voice quite nasal, and she reads too quickly for me to really enjoy the story. The 'flashbacks' to Ayla's Clan life were particularly irritating to listen to. I eventually became accustomed to the reading, but I would have preferred it had she been a little less rushed.
I gave this 4 stars, but would have given 3.5 if I could.
22 of 24 people found this review helpful
COMPLIMENTS MAKE THE SPIRITS JEALOUS
I have read all six books in this series and this one, is my favorite. Yes, you have to be patient and as those who know me,know that is not one of my virtues. Auel goes into the making of tools and how to hunt etc... in a little more detail than I care for, but the rest of the story, character development and her ability to put you in the cave with Ayla makes it worth it to me. I am an animal lover and this book is probably better liked by those who are animal lovers. With this book and this series I show some patience.
WHAT GOOD IS A HOUSE WITHOUT A BOAT
The books is split in two. One chapter will be about Ayla and the next about Jondalar. Jon is traveling, so we get to see not only his way of life, but the way of life of others at that time. Auel has done a lot of research. I have listen to a couple of her interviews and this series is her life. I pretty sure you can not get a more accurate look into this history in fiction form. The adventures of Jon could make a book in it self.
THOSE WHO SERVED THE MOTHER OFTEN SPOKE WITH A SHADOW ON THEIR TONGUE.
I find it very interesting how Auel fits gays and cross dressers into her story. She of course is assuming that these people have always been with us. I am not sure what evidence she has. For those sensitive in this area, this might bother you. Auel treats these and all people with respect and does not put anyone down.
MATCHING HIM THRUST FOR THRUST
There is sex throughout this book. The last two hours is almost nothing but. I have read and listened to a fair amount of erotica (porn) in my time. When Auel writes about it, it is far from boring. This is some of the most intense sex scenes in any book I have read. She builds the tension and just like in tool making, she includes all the details. If you don't like sex in your books, pass on this. If you like it, don't miss the last couple of hours.
The narrator has taken several hits and I will admit she does not excite me in her reading. I did not knock down her rating, cause I do not want that to stop anyone from listening to this book. The writing is good enough to override any narrator lacks. I don't believe the narrator detracts from the story, just does not add to it, as some of the better narrators do. This is also a good read in hard back, which is the way I was first introduced to it. It is a long book and I have more time to listen than to read.
17 of 19 people found this review helpful
First reading The Clan of the Cave Bear is not required in order to start The Valley of the Horses. Jean M. Auel introduces all the information necessary to bring you up to date on Ayla’s past history and starts the parallel story of two men starting their journey from the other side of the continent. You will be introduced into the landscape of the geography, animal life and cultures of other peoples existing in this period. Ms. Auel once again, shares her detailed research into all these aspects as well as the strong character development she created in Clan of the Cave Bear. Sandra Burr continues her excellent narration of the story with her rich voice ranging the scope of all the characters.
5 of 5 people found this review helpful
I read this trilogy years ago, and loved it. I am loving it all over again. For me, this second book is wonderful because Ayla is such a strong spirit and her connection with animals intrigues me. It is also nice to have more humans for her to interact with. Can't wait for the next one!
4 of 4 people found this review helpful
Love the continuing story of Ayla and her search for her people but there is a point where I wondered if I accidentally bou h t a dime store romance novella.
3 of 3 people found this review helpful
I'd read all these books previously - all but the first two as they were published.
I love the story and all the detail she wrote into it. Doesn't feel dated at all, despite being twenty years later for me.
Listening though, I felt the narration seemed rushed and somewhat difficult to get into each time I started it.
7 of 8 people found this review helpful
The tale of Ala and Jondalar is well written and well worth it. Their prehistoric surroundings and the struggle for survival adds to the excitement of their meeting and romance. From the second chapter where Jondalar is introduced I couldn't wait for them to get together, but when they finally did, toward the end of part 2, human foibles kept their romance on the brink and the story rolling.
You can tell that Jean Auel put a lot of research into her work. It shows in the long, detailed descriptions of flora and fauna. While I appreciate the detail of their daily lives, I often felt that complete descriptions of how to nap flint, dry herbs, and of the wide steppes and the numerous animals found there could have been edited out. More often than not I was wishing I could just skip this section and move back to the people and what they were doing.
As mentioned in previous reviews the narrator is a bit speedy and "flashbacks" are disconcerting in their presentation (as if we suddenly are listening to an old time radio show).
This book has a great story, exciting romance, interesting surroundings and people you can believe really existed. Despite the cons, there are more than enough pros to warrant giving this book a solid four stars.
15 of 19 people found this review helpful
This is a good story, in a series of good stories. I did NOT like the narrator, she sounded like she was reading to a group of First Graders. That would not be so bad until she was talking about the sexual scenes, it gave me the creeps.
5 of 6 people found this review helpful
What disappointed you about The Valley of Horses?
Lengthy passages dedicated to blow-by-blow sex. I'm no prude, but I found these bits neither interesting nor erotic. They were a distraction that did nothing to move the story forward.<br/><br/>The main characters are too impossibly perfect in every way. Ayla is like a stone-age Martha Stewart (in a hot body) who sets up a well-stocked cave all by herself. Where you know that Martha has a large staff helping her offstage, there is no conceivable way that one person could do everything that Ayla did on her own. Humans need community, especially primitive humans. One person cannot possibly hunt, fish, dry meat and tan hides, gather enough wood for an entire winter, harvest vegetables and herbs and enough grains to feed two horses, etc.. single-handed as Ayla does in the book. My suspension of disbelief couldn't keep up to the task.<br/><br/>Where Cave Bear was interesting in showing how people lived, and theorizing on what Neanderthals might have been like, Valley of the Horses only touches only a little on how Neanderthals and more modern humans might have perceived each other and interacted. It is marred by a descent into utter fantasy about two supermodel super-talented supersmart humans having super sex.
Has The Valley of Horses turned you off from other books in this genre?
What genre is it? I couldn't tell. I thought I was picking up a historical novel but it turned out to be more of a harlequin romance.
What about Sandra Burr’s performance did you like?
She stuck through the tedious bits like a trooper!
If you could play editor, what scene or scenes would you have cut from The Valley of Horses?
Cut 80% to 90% out of each sex scene.
Any additional comments?
This was a disappointment after Clan of the Cave Bear. I'll skip the rest of the series.
20 of 28 people found this review helpful