Once again Jean M Auel opens the door of a time long past to reveal an age of wonder and danger at the dawn of the modern human race With all the consummate storytelling artistry and vivid authenticity she brought to The Clan of the Cave Bear and its sequel, The Valley of Horses, Jean M Auel continues the breathtaking epic journey of the woman called Ayla Riding Whinney with Jondalar, the man she loves, and followed by the mare s colt, Ayla ventures into the land of the Mamutoi the Mammoth Hunters She has finally found the Others she has been seeking Though Ayla must learn their different customs and language, she is adopted because of her remarkable hunting ability, singular healing skills, and uncanny fire making technique Bringing back the single pup of a lone wolf she has killed, Ayla shows the way she tames animals She finds women friends and painful memories of the Clan she left behind, and meets Ranec, the dark skinned, magnetic master carver of ivory, whom she cannot refuse inciting Jondalar to a fierce jealousy that he tries to control by avoiding her Unfamiliar with the ways of the Others, Ayla misunderstands, and thinking Jondalar no longer loves her, she turns to Ranec Throughout the icy winter the tension mounts, but warming weather will bring the great mammoth hunt and the mating rituals of the Summer Meeting, when Ayla must choose to remain with Ranec and the Mamutoi, or to follow Jondalar on a long journey into an unknown future 1 The Clan of the Cave Bear 2 The Valley of Horses 3 The Mammoth Hunters Oh this book drove me crazy This has one of the most emotionally trying love triangles that I have ever encountered For 3 4 of the book I wanted to pull out my hair and slap a whole bunch of people I am glad that in the next book Ayla and Jondalar have left the Mamutoi I could not handle anyof that But I still love Ayla and Jondalar despite their cluelessness and I love this story so I am looking 1 The Clan of the Cave Bear 2 The Valley of Horses 3 The Mammoth Hunters Oh this book drove me crazy This has one of the most emotionally trying love triangles that I have ever encountered For 3 4 of the book I wanted to pull out my hair and slap a whole bunch of people I am glad that in the next book Ayla and Jondalar have left the Mamutoi I could not handle anyof that But I still love Ayla and Jondalar despite their cluelessness and I love this story so I am looking forward to book 4 WARNING This book has caused me a lot of heartache, and as I review it, I may end up in a ball of mush, blathering unintelligibly.When we last left Ayla and Jondalar, they were returning to Jondalar s family, standing smiling as they met one of the Mamutoi Now, Ayla is quivering in fear, afraid that this Other is going to see her and immediately know, somehow, that she lived with the Clan and hate her this is only 1 of the many continuity conflicts in this story Jondalar, being the perfect WARNING This book has caused me a lot of heartache, and as I review it, I may end up in a ball of mush, blathering unintelligibly.When we last left Ayla and Jondalar, they were returning to Jondalar s family, standing smiling as they met one of the Mamutoi Now, Ayla is quivering in fear, afraid that this Other is going to see her and immediately know, somehow, that she lived with the Clan and hate her this is only 1 of the many continuity conflicts in this story Jondalar, being the perfect perfectness of perfect maleness You do know, after all that Jondalar is The Mother s Gift to Women , assures her that the Mamutoi are good people, and the two hang out with the Mamutoi.Before I start my ranting, I need to say the good things about this book or I will completely forget them and start censoring profanities Firstly, Auel opens up her world and introduces us to the Mamutoi and their ways describing different cultures, digging into the past and revealing it to the audience is Auel s strong suit, and it s nice to have her back in her element At points, I was almost transported back to The Clan of the Cave Bear learning how the Mamutoi hunt, make clothes, and go about their day to day lives getting a peak into their religion learning their social structure.The plotline with Rydag was actually not that bad It gave Ayla a way to see what her child might have been like, to explore the motherliness of her character And finally, there are a lotdeveloped characters this time around and characters that I actually liked I don t think I cared for ANY of the characters in The Valley of Horses My favorite was Ranec he was such a jolly guy, so friendly, outgoing, clever, witty, and smart It would have been interesting to see tries to breath slowly what would have happened if he had ended up with Ayla I liked Deejee Ayla hasn t had a chance to interact with many females, so it was great that she had a strong female friend And many of the other clan were pretty well done.Now that I ve done my duty and said all the good things about this book, I can focus on the 75% of the crap that bugged the hell out of me and nearly broke me.This book has all the stuff we saw in Valley of the Horses We are treated to at least six really bad sex scenes the wording in each is almost identical, the sex is uncomfortable and not sexy at all, the times people have sex is really odd Auel steps away from the story to go into Textbook Mode, describing concepts these people would have no knowledge of permafrost, homogeneous crystalline silica or flint, asides into what would happen thousands of years later, etc Ayla invents the needle, domesticates a Wolf cub, possesses shamanic powers that the Mamut spiritual leader of the Mamutoi encourages her to use to see visions , and generally grows to be an even bigger Mary Sue than even the first two books made her out to be and that is a feat, lemme tell you.But none of those elements really compare to the most horrible thing that nearly destroyed all the good things this book had going for it What did the most destruction to the goodness of this book was one of the absolute stupidest, most inane, childish, disgusting, vapid, retarded Big Misunderstandings in the world of Big Misunderstandings.I can live with the info dumping even if it is terribly boring, distracting to the plot , and way above the knowledge of the characters I can even enjoy the really bad sex scenes in a MST3K way if you enjoy reading about Jondalar s manhood and Ayla s petals , this is your book But when an author resorts to having her characters act like lobotomized chimpanzees in order to drive a plot that should have been wrapped up in nothan a chapter and probablylike a paragraphI draw the line After Ayla and Jondalar meet up with the Mamutoi, almost immediately, Ranec wants the Perfect, Majestic, Mother Incarnate Ayla He eyeballs her, makes constant jokes about bedding her, and makes it so that generally everyone knows what he wants.Well, everyone EXCEPT AYLA.Eventually, the Mamutoi agree to adopt Ayla At her adoption ceremony, Ranec kisses her and tells her he wants to bed her Ayla, being raised as a Clan member to drop and spread em at a man s whim, agrees Meanwhile, Jondalar stands in a corner and pouts and complains and whines, How could she be going with another man when he was waiting for her No woman had ever chosen someone else when he wanted her Uh, Jondalar, don t you remember Ayla talking about how THAT IS HOW SHE S BEEN TRAINED Oh, right, it was just after having sex you were asleep.Normal human beings would approach each other after the incident and have it out But nooooooooooooooooooooooo Instead, Ayla and Jondalar begin a painful, stupid, nonsensical falling out They avoid each other, thinking the other doesn t care for them any They stop having really bad sex and talking about the origin of babies, which was a great disappointment to me, as I enjoyed counting the times in the last book that that topic appeared They sleep on opposite sides of the bed At one point, they fight over Ayla s adoption of a Wolf cub cleverly named Wolf , and he moves out All the while, they both have googly eyes for each other, lust after each other, dance around talking to each otherbut never actually have the conversation that would fix this problem.You know what s even worse Yes, I did say worse I MAYBE could understand this happening if they were in a vacuum But there is a whole TRIBE of people around them And you know what THEY DON T FRAKKIN BOTHER TO SAY ANYTHING TO THIS COUPLE All these supposedly open and blunt Mamutoi in the previous book and even earlier in this book SUDDENLY really respect private thoughts and REFUSE TO CLARIFY A SITUATION THAT WOULD TAKE TWO SECONDS TO CLEAR UP Hyperventilates This goes onand onand onfor the REST OF THE BOOK.And do you want know how it is resolved view spoiler After a bajillion times of saying he is going to leave, Jondalar finally does Ayla is like, OMGWTFBBQJONDALARISGONE to Nezzie and Nezzie is like, Well, like, jah, he, like, totally loved you And Ayla is like, OMGWTFBBQJONDALARISGONE And Nezzie is like, Jah, he, like, thought you, like, didn t, like, love him And Ayla is like, BUT I LUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUURVE JONDALAR And she runs off to him And she does her Clan kneeling before him And she FINALLY FRAKKIN TELLS HIM SHE LOVES HIM AND HE FINALLY FRAKKIN TELLS HER HE LOVES HER.And you know what else YES THAT IS NOT ALL THAT S IT They f % it s the same generic, cute and paste, graphic sex that we ve seen the other bajillion times in this series , and it s over There is no yelling, no HOW DARE YOU HAVE SEX WITH RANEC , no HOW DARE YOU WHORE YOURSELF OUT , no BUT I THOUGHT I RAPED YOU ON THE HILLS AND YOU WERE CRYING BECAUSE I HURT YOU , it s just OVER If THAT is how you are going to end this plotWHY did you make me go through HALF THE BOOK, drag this plotline out WAY past its point of believability, and suffer through the AGONIZING, REPETITIOUS DOES HE SHE LUUUUUURVE ME hide spoiler is shackled and chained up And THIS is what ruins a book that otherwise wouldn t have been too bad Auel made her supposedly smart perfect characters act stupid for 50% of the book, just to have a half ssed plot.This book did NOT need a Big Misunderstanding to be interesting You could have had some actual Mammoth Hunting there is only ONE scene, and it is so short, I almost missed it You could have had some conflict with characters who think that the Clan are a bunch of animals and not the mustache twirling Friebag who immediately is converted to Ayla ism when Ayla saves his wife from labor You could have had an interesting conflict with Jondalar being ashamed of Ayla living with the Clan and how his family would take it that actually wasn t too bad You could have had some interesting stories just with Ayla and Jondalar living with the Mamutoi Hell, I would have GLADLY taken a Romantic Triangle with Ranec if it meant NO BIG MISUNDERSTANDING It s stupid, it s insulting, it s unbelievable that two GROWN ADULTS one of whom SHOULD HAVE KNOWN BETTER and that would be Jondalar would act in such a stupid, childish fashion.I ve wandered all over the place, wondering if it is as good as or worse than Valley In the end, I m voting it down lower YES LOWER than Valley Even with the boring Jonalar Thonalan segments in Valley, at least it didn t strain credibility of the characters intelligence with a prolonged Big Misunderstanding.NOT RECOMMENDED.P.S Even though this book made me want to go postal, I am STILL proceeding with the rest of the series I will NOT let this be the book series that breaks me.P.P.S I think there s a lot of stuff I ve also missed in my attempt to rehashing the gruesomeness of the Big Misunderstanding Just take a peek at my status updates for this book to see the other off the wall stuff I didn t talk about in this review In the distant unknown , murky past no history books to tell their stories , during the era of the caveman , two groups of people struggle to survive in a cruel territory that someday the nation of Ukraine will be established our ancestors the Cro Magnon man, the new arrivals from Africa, where the human race was born and theprimitive Neanderthals who have been in Europe for at least 200,000 years, never very numerous, short but quite powerful , very durable too and contrary to the mo In the distant unknown , murky past no history books to tell their stories , during the era of the caveman , two groups of people struggle to survive in a cruel territory that someday the nation of Ukraine will be established our ancestors the Cro Magnon man, the new arrivals from Africa, where the human race was born and theprimitive Neanderthals who have been in Europe for at least 200,000 years, never very numerous, short but quite powerful , very durable too and contrary to the modern view of themintelligent, even speaking a language that will never be heard again Nevertheless a weakness that proves fatal , a failure to progress, they have remained static unable or an unwillingness to improve or change for 1,000 centuries The Others continue to seek a better life, new tools made, weapons, shelters , clothes , food andlands to settle Anything to make them abide..increasing their population in contrast to the rivals , who they despise and the same sentiment is mutual from the enemy the obvious conclusion is confirmed, the bleak future no surprise, for one branch of mankind Ayla a talented woman without a clan, banished in fact by the Neanderthals who found the orphan 5 year old , her parents succumbed in a devastating earthquake and raised her with a companion the man she loves Jondalar Big , strong , attractive with brains that women find irresistible After leaving Ayla s valley of horses at Jondalar s insistence they encounter a group of fierce Mammoth huntersfriendly though She , her bold man , and strange menagerie, two horses, Whinney and Racer and soon a baby wolf..naturally called Wolf we won t even mention the gigantic cave lion The hunters are shocked seeing the teenage girl riding a horseback then these animals were eaten The wolf a feared predator , she befriends, the young, tall, blonde haired, beautiful girl of 17, must be some kind of a mighty ominous spirit , yet seems quite a normal looking person they are accepted In a land of astonishing blue ice, the massive freezing glaciers , little food supply , only a tribe that adopts to the inclement weather elements , can hope to prosper , always needing to be alert in this unforgiving environment Ayla meets another man, Ranec, she feels an attraction for and with no rules back then anything goes stay or follow the jealous traveler Jondalar in his dream to return home, she must decide but first an exciting , and dangerous mammoth hunt in the cold north, if the nearby apocalyptic volcano doesn t become too violent This extremely popular book series 45 million copies sold and counting, maybe not quite accurate as new research has shown, yet is the closest anyone today can experience the atmosphere of the crude time, no civilization , intensely superstitious people, harsh customs, strange ways and only the fittest prevailed 5 STARSWow These books are good Now I m beginning to see how they became such a craze back in the eighties It boggles the mind how much research and simple creative story telling the author has pulled together to make this epic story come to life And yes, it is a love story.My only complaint is the length The author occasionally goes a bit overboard with her descriptive explanations of tool making and hide curing etc etc etc Very interesting, but I think they could be honed down a good bit 5 STARSWow These books are good Now I m beginning to see how they became such a craze back in the eighties It boggles the mind how much research and simple creative story telling the author has pulled together to make this epic story come to life And yes, it is a love story.My only complaint is the length The author occasionally goes a bit overboard with her descriptive explanations of tool making and hide curing etc etc etc Very interesting, but I think they could be honed down a good bit no pun intended There was also a good bit of animosity and misunderstanding in this part of the story And as a reader it was absolutely maddening There was way too much stupid going on between Ayla and Jondalar, and the results were nearly disastrous And considering the sheer length of the book the resolution was far too long in coming But I have to admit it kept me glued to the book So with that said, and the story finally moving forward in its proper direction, I will proceed on to the next and even longer book in the series I am listening to the audio books, and I have to say that the narrator, Sandra Burr has really stepped up her game from the first book Sometimes I can t believe that it s only one person doing all of these voices She really is quite talented And even though my enthusiasm seems a bit subdued for my usual 5 star reads, all I can say is that it must be sheer exhaustion from my loss of sleep and emotional turmoil of getting through the book I definitely couldn t have given it any less So now that I am rested and recovered on to book 4