Book Review: The Valley of the Horses. Book Two of the Earth's Children Series by Jean M. Auel.

3년 전

The Valley of the Horses

By Jean M. Auel

Currently owned copy

This book is actually two story lines that converge two thirds of the way through the book. The first is of course Aylas story. Now banished from the Clan and forced to leave her son behind, Ayla travels North to find her own kind. During her travels she finds a nice cave in a sheltered valley/canyon in the middle of the northern steppes. Tired of travelling and worried about the coming winter, having found a cave she can live in, she decides to stay there, 'just till spring' but ends up finding peace and freedom there.

She hunts a horse and finds a baby filly she had unintentionally orphaned and so takes the filly in and looks after it. Time and affection forges a bond between Ayla and the horse and she teaches herself how to ride and accidentally invents the travois with her long spears during a hunting trip. During one of her hunting trips, Ayla causes a herd of deer to stampede and she finds a baby cave lion injured during the stampede. Ayla takes him in as well and raises him along side her now adult horse.

The second story line is that of Thonolan and Jondalar. Two brothers originally from ancient France who make an epic three year journey to follow the danube river, known in this series as 'the great mother river', all the way to it's end. Starting from it's source, a glacier in south Germany, all the way to Ukraine and south Russia/Belarus.

Edition I grew up with. (Currently owned by parentals)

There's is a tale of discovery, learning, tragedy and love. One of the was even ready to settle down and create a family until he loses his new bride in child birth. Driven by grief he continues his adventure, followed by his brother trying to make sure he doesn't do anything reckless, that is until he does do something fatally stupid and meets a very particular adult Cave Lion and a very particular valley.

Ayla finds the brothers, one dead and one dying. She is able to remove the dying one to safety due to her relationship with this particular Cave lion. She nurses him to health and he teaches her to talk. Literally how to talk since she has long forgotten how to use the finer controls of her vocal abilities.


This book contains sex scenes, gore, death and character experiencing suicidal depression.

When I first read this book Thonolan and Jondalars story used to drive me bonkers and I just couldn't wait to get back to Aylas story. Now as an older reader and also as a re-reader, I appreciate it more because it contains a lot of world building and plot history that makes the series as a whole more thought out.

Also as an older reader I appreciate the research that the author did which can be seen in the first few pages that reference different carvings found around the regions, a few of them referenced in the book. It adds a level of realism that makes the story feel more like it could have potentially been true.

Another thing this series does is describe the building/making process of many things. From how ancient cro-magnon/homo sapiens made boats to methods used to knapp flint into tools. It makes the reader feel like they could almost do it them selves if it wasn't for the fact that the minds eye can only imagine so much that it's never seen before.

Also Auel does a fantastic job of choosing names of the different people and their beliefs because it correlates well with the real world . Like Thonolan and Jondalars people call the great mother goddess 'Doni' and next group of people to the east call her 'Duna'. The brothers are follow the 'Great Mother River' now known as the Danube or the Donau. The direct correlations build believability into the story.

I give this book 8.8/10

The storylines are good but it is a well known fact that I dislike books that split up the plot from one characters perspective to another. Also Ayla raising a cave lion makes it harder to believe simply because regular humans raising regular lions are prone to being attacked by their own beloved pets. Let alone an even bigger creature. I think the story line had the potential to be just as good without him and left the story line more believable, if a little less magical.

That being said though I do love the beautiful juxtaposition of a GIANT cavelion being named 'Baby'.

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I remember reading that series. I loved it but like you grew impatient with the back and forth preferring Aylas story. Maybe I will go back anf read them all again one day.
It is always interesting to go back decades later just to see how my own perceptions have changed.
Sounds like you do the same.

Wow, thank you for introducing me to this book. I am going to purchase this today as this fits several of my favorite genre categories. I appreciate the fact that you didn't give too much of the book away but just enough to peak my interest. Good post!

You have done detailed story book review @ursa, sometimes difficult to decide if to take a book or no especially if you do not know what is inside. I like the way your described it and stories themselves sound adventurous. I also like your warning section, you never know how we people different one like that adn another not :)

Cheers, from Art-supporting blog @art-venture

Sounds like the book has plenty of happenings to keep the reader engage. Never read the book but I could relate well with the part where you mentioned it better with little less magical. It's hard to have fun when your logic is grounded with reality too much even when reading fiction for the sake of entertainment. I have that curse when reading sci-fi novels that even technical terms just don't add up well with the plot to make sense. This was an insightful review in terms of how you approach the book analysis. Congratulations on the curie upvote.

Great review. You brought back memories of when I read this years ago. I loved the first book, was slightly disappointed with this one and never finished the rest of them. Congrats on the @curie vote!

  ·  3년 전

Cheers! In my opinion the first and second-to-last books are the best in the series but all of them are worth reading.

Personally i never mind books that split up the plot from one characters perspective to another. My only requirement is that the book flows well regardless of characters or story lines. If the story flows well i will get drawn into it from start to finish. Loving to read anyway that counts as the majority of books for me but there are a few exceptions to the rule.

This book contains sex scenes, gore, death and character experiencing suicidal depression.

Also this is always a plus to me.

  ·  3년 전

The book flows relatively wellnin the way that the time line for one side of the character story happens at roughly the same time as the following chapter of the other. However since for two thirds of the book the characters a hundreds of kilometers apart, the transition of ones experience to another is jarring since they are not experiencing the same events till the last third of the book.


I can see why you weren't that happy with it then. If the relevance isn't there between the two stories it can be fairly frustrating to go back and forth for no apparent reason. Obviously in the last third the two storyline converge. But was it really nessessary to do it this way? I don't know.

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You did a great job with the book review, it actually left me wanting to go read the book. Well, an 8.8 rating is quite high. I am quite the opposite of you, i do love books that splits into different perspectives, I think it helps relate the story in through different (and maybe interesting) lenses.

I do love a well researched book as well, it definitely does add to the "realistic feel" of the book..

Hey dear @ursa, fantastic book review from you :-)

My wife is very much interessted in horses and riding and stuff about. So I would recommend the book to her... also because your conclusion of nearly 9 is very high. 👍

Fantastic job, and really well deserved up from curie :-)

  ·  3년 전

Thanks! I hope she does read the series. Let me know if she does and what she thinks of it.


👌 i will let you know dear 😀 keep going on with steemit :-)

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Hi ursa,

This post has been upvoted by the Curie community curation project and associated vote trail as exceptional content (human curated and reviewed). Have a great day :)

Visit or join the Curie Discord community to learn more.

Great review, I do enjoy books that actually use some historical/geographical references. One of my favorite authors would generally do that as well Louis L'Amour. I do typically enjoy a semi-historical fiction I may have to see if I can find a copy of this one.