The Valley of Horses (Earth's Children, Book 2)

by Jean M. Auel

Paperback, 1984



Call number

PS3551 .U36


Bantam (1984), 592 pages


This odyssey into the distant past carries us back to the awesome mysteries of the exotic, primeval world of The Clan of the Cave Bear, and to Ayla, now grown into a beautiful and courageous young woman. Cruelly cast out by the new leader of the ancient Clan that adopted her as a child, Ayla leaves those she loves behind and travels alone through a stark, open land filled with dangerous animals but few people, searching for the Others, tall and fair like herself. Living with the Clan has taught Ayla many skills but not real hunting. She finally knows she can survive when she traps a horse, which gives her meat and a warm pelt for the winter, but fate has bestowed a greater gift, an orphaned foal with whom she develops a unique kinship. One winter extends to more; she discovers a way to make fire more quickly and a wounded cave lion cub joins her unusual family, but her beloved animals don't fulfill her restless need for human companionship. Then she hears the sound of a man screaming in pain. She saves tall, handsome Jondalar, who brings her a language to speak and an awakening of love and desire, but Ayla is torn between her fear of leaving her valley and her hope of living with her own kind. Second in the acclaimed Earth's Children(R) series… (more)

User reviews

LibraryThing member surreality
Plot: Robinson Crusoe meets the stone age. It's interesting to follow the main character along in her struggle for survival, even though not much happens plot-wise. The second plotline is a travel plot that heralds the bad things to come in later books - snail-speed motion due to soap opera elements, cheap drama and bad pacing. Once the two plots unite, unfortunately, the bad plot wins over and the rest of the book is a combination of romance, boring sex and not much happening.

Characters: Ayla's progress from clan member to solitary individual is interesting to see and fairly well done, but she is the only one who actually develops. The rest of the characters are out-of-the box and often only serve as a template to demonstrate stone age life.

Style: As always with the series, an abundance of information on prehistoric life, flora, fauna, climate patterns, geological phenomena and household techniques. The writing gets tiring pretty quickly since the prose is quite boring. Badly written dialogues, even more badly written sex.

Plus: The depth of research done for the book.

Minus: The need to show off said research. The discovery of the boring sex scenes. Too much soap opera drama.

Summary: It's not as good as Clan of the Cave Bear, but especially the earlier parts are not bad. The cheesiness factor increases dramatically towards the end.
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LibraryThing member auraesque
Can't....stop...reading...this...series. Ayla is ridiculous--she discovers everything. OMG she has a fricken Snow White moment and calls the birds too her---the hell? But I can't stop reading the series now.
LibraryThing member andreablythe
Despite there being many problems with The Clan of the Cave Bear, the book ended on something of a cliff hanger and was interesting enough that I had to go ahead and pick up the sequel. The Valley of the Horses begins right after Clan of the Cave Bear ends, so I'll try not to get into too many details but keep in mind that there will be spoilers ahead.

The first half of the book is split between Ayla's and Jondalar's point of views. Ayla finds her own cave and is surviving alone, finding comfort only by taking in stray infant animals and caring for them. Jondalar meanwhile leaves his tribe by going on a journey with his brother, meeting up with several other tribe and having various encounters. The result is that the first half of the book dragged for me (it wasn't until Ayla and Jondalar FINALLY met each other that the pace picked up), and because Ayla is alone and Jondalar spends only short periods of time with any group of people, you don't get an in-depth look at any one culture as you did in Clan of the Cave Bear.

What you do get though is a brief looks at a variety of the Others (as Jondalar's people are described by the Cave Bear Clan), seeing how there is a mixture of perspectives and societies with different survival innovations — something you never saw among the Cave Bear Clan because of the problematic concept of racial memory. Auel also presents how the Others view the Clan as nothing more than animals. It's interesting, because for all that the Jondalar's peoples are good hearted with complex cultures, they are seen and stupidly and profoundly ignorant when it comes to the Cave Bear Clan. Their hatred is revealed to be illogical, especially when Ayla begins to reveal their humanity as she describes the Clan culture to Jondalar. It's an interesting complexity in terms of racial discussions, because for all that you want to like Jondalar's peoples, their clear racism against the Clan is disturbing, especially if you have read the first book first and grown attached to the Clan characters. So, the discussion of race in the sequel is still problematic, but at least it's an interesting problematic that opens potential for discussion.

And again this book, like the first, has some head scratching geographical and biological anomalies to it. Did buffaloes and antelopes and hyenas and wooly rhinos and horses and cave lions and mammoths all ever mix in the same location? I don't know, but I don't think so.

Another thing that had me wondering was the whole free love approach to sex that the author presents. Sex is a gift of Pleasures from the Mother and should be delighted in to honor her? Um. I'm not opposed to the idea per se, but I'm not convinced that the peoples were quite so free wheeling about that sort of thing back then. Maybe, but... Anyway, I guess despite the author's supposed research she can have her "historical" society be anyway she wants.

The character Jondalar is amusing, too, because he brings a Romance Novel aspects into the storyline that wasn't present in the first book. I remember a discussion with my college friends, when one said something like, "I know the book is totally ridiculous, but I still kind of want my own Jondalar." I can understand why. He's meant to be the perfect man, handsome, strong, tall, kind-hearted, giving in life and in love, and the perfect lover (remember what I said about the Pleasures), and of course the only person perfect enough for him to fall in love with is.... guess.

Oh! And there's the Shamud, a holy person of one of the tribes that Jondalar meets. The Shamud was interesting because the Shamud was presented as a male with the desires of a woman or a woman with the desires of a male. Jondalar keeps trying to guess which gender the Shamud is, but finally gives up under the assumption that it doesn't matter. The Shamud is powerful because of the lack of assigned gender, and is respected. Though I'm sure the portrayal isn't entirely without problems, I liked the Shamud character and how the author managed to skillfully avoid assigning gender pronouns, so that the character can remain both human and gender neutral.

Anyway, despite a lingering curiosity about what happens to Jondalar and Ayla now, the whole thing is pretty ridiculous and I think I'm pretty much done with this series, especially if the next book is going to be as slow going as the beginning of this one was.
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LibraryThing member littlebookworm
I was severely disappointed in this book. I found the first, Clan of the Cave Bear, to be wonderful and interesting. At some point, this novel, and the rest of the series, turns into a succession of sex scenes - not something I had wanted or expected from a series about prehistorical humans. A true shame.
LibraryThing member LibraryCin
3.25 stars

A continuation of “The Clan of the Cave Bear”, I won’t say too much about how it happened, but in this book, Ayla is on her own, trying to survive, and looking for what the Clan call “the Others” – that is, people of her kind. She finds a nice spot to settle and manages to tame a horse, and raise a lion cub! Meanwhile (and I missed the circumstances around it), two brothers, Jondalar and Thonalan are travelling. Thonalan becomes injured, so they find a group of people to stay with while he improves.

I listened to the audio, so I did miss some things. Overall, I liked the story (I preferred Ayla’s chapters), but (and I will use terminology I found in other reviews), I didn’t think the “caveman porn” was necessary (though there was less of it than I expected, based on reviews). I could have done without the majority of it, though. I do hear it gets worse as the series goes on, but I think (for now), the story is interesting enough for me to continue to the next book. I also thought, for a prehistoric man, Jondalar was maybe a bit too contemporary in his attitudes toward women. Not everything was contemporary, but certainly more than I expected, although I guess we don’t really know what prehistoric culture was like. I did enjoy learning about the making of fire, tools, and the survival strategies and I loved Ayla’s animal companions. ¼ star was taken off for the caveman porn aspect.
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LibraryThing member JCO123
Same as Clan of The Cave Bear, but the author is starting to get addicted to the antics of Ayla 'McGyver' and her man with the infamous shlong.
LibraryThing member Bookmarque
Slow mover for the Ayla alone side of the story. More action with the brothers. Interesting reactions when she stumbles upon J after Baby kills his brother. Eventually trust grows and then lust....or is it the other way around?
LibraryThing member jennmurphy
The second book in the clan of the cave bear series. Not as engaging as the first, but still a good read. I became attached to the characters and could not wait to see what happened next. This book cronicles Ayla's trials alone in a valley, with no clan to help her. It gets a little heavy on the sex scenes, considering the previous book did not have any, but still the plot makes up for it.… (more)
LibraryThing member dragonasbreath
Ayla has been forced out of her Clan, to survive on her own. Although told to find her own people, she finds a valley instead. Winter's coming in, she must prepare - and teaches herself things that will make her a valuable member of her future society.
That is, of course, if she can overcome the death curse, survive and FIND a people to join.
And if they can accept a woman who rides on, and talks to, animals!
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LibraryThing member Wuzzlicious
This second installment of the Earth's Children series follows Aylsa's exile from the tribe she grew up in during Clan Of The Cave Bear. Much like Castaway was a difficult movie to portray with only one character, Ayla on her own could have been difficult to write, but Auel did an excellent job of it. Ayla found herself drawn to the animals that helped her survive by providing tools and hunting knowledge and the relationship was fasinating to watch develop. Even more interesting, was Ayla's first interaction with people of her own kind, which occurs in the later part of the book. Well worth continuing the series for.… (more)
LibraryThing member myrie
I think it´s a great book, and suits the series with it´s content and it´s romance. it might be a bit soap opera drama, but, is it? really? someone has to tell the noncomplicated and happy, simplistic love stories, too. it´s still very touching, I think, and exciting. Auel is a good writer. and for the sex scenes, well, as I said, someone has to tell about basic sexdrives, give tribute to our human bodies and the mystique and the simple life of innocent lustful homidiaes. and it´s so nice with a self-confident woman. I like this book and always gets joyful of it.… (more)
LibraryThing member The_Hibernator
In the second of Auel's Earth's Children series, Ayla travels in hopes of finding her own people. She meets up with Jondalar, a young man of the others who is likewise traveling. The research for these books is fantastic, it is too bad that Auel made it into chick lit by adding too much explicit sex and the deflowerings. She also makes Ayla just a little too inventive to be realistic, but I think this was supposed to have symbolic meaning.… (more)
LibraryThing member mnleona
This second book by Jean Auel about Earth's Children is about Ayla after she leaves the Clan where she was raised. Because she is alone, she must depend on herself to live. Alya raises a horse, Whinney ,and a cub lion named Baby who help and comfort her in her journey. Alya saves the life of Jondalar of`the Zelandonii and they continue her quest to find the Others, of which Alya was born.
I liked this book. The author goes into great detail about the area, rivers, herbs, plants, trees, animals and more.
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LibraryThing member HoladayB
Pretty much my favorite of the series by Auel. I live in the Pacific NW so actually sort of met her once at a Jazz festival. I really like her last one, The Shelters of Stone, as well. But Valley still made me a true fan.
LibraryThing member annbury
The second of the "Earth's Children" novels, and a worthy successor to "The Clan of the Cave Bear". This one is also fascinating from a "what was pre-historic life like" perspective, and has a compelling story line -- maybe even more compelling than the "Bear". But a few fault lines begin to emerge: the lead characters are too perfect, and the cliches in the writing start to pile up. In the rest of the series, those faults become dominant, while the strong story line weakens dramatically. The first two books, however, are worth reading and reading again.… (more)
LibraryThing member DavidBurrows
Follows on from Clan of the Cave Bear and is a very good read with a good love interest. Jean Auel's view of prehistoric times seems spot on and her interpretation of how hominids and Neanderthal’s seems amazingly believable.
LibraryThing member Clueless
This is my favorite in the Clan of the Cave Bear series. The first book I found far far too sad--if you have a small child you will understand. But this one...okay I know it's completely implausible that ONE WOMEN; 1) was the first to make fire with flint 2) domesticated horses 3 )invented the sewing needle and lord know what else. But, but I find it an absolutely terrific fantasy to spend five years alone in a cave weaving baskets and carving wooden bowls. Can you tell I'm an introvert? lol.… (more)
LibraryThing member jezmynne
my favorite of the five - extremely detailed and a richly written.
LibraryThing member MaryRunyan
Following the life of Ayla has been dramatic. You can feel her losses and discoveries. Jane Auel was great with her descriptions. I didn't mind the steamy parts either!!!
LibraryThing member jayne_charles
The second book in the Earth's Children series, and Ayla has now left the Clan. Though the book takes us through new discoveries, I found myself wishing we could see more of the Clan. Neanderthals only have bit-parts in this book, which introduces new characters from a Cro-Magnon tribe, along with a whole lot of new customs, languages, relationships. It's clear that Ayla is going to meet one or all of them by the end of the book but it takes an awful long time for that to happen! I'm beginning to sound as though I didn't like this book - I did like it, very much. It's just that Clan of the Cave Bear is one of my favourites of all time, and it would be very hard for any book to live up to that.… (more)
LibraryThing member Krista23
This book carries on from the first, we follow Ayla, now alone into a world she knows very little about. She must find shelter and food in the ever growing need to find others like herself. Most of this book is Ayla learning how to hunt and make things, gaining friends in animals and learning that they can be domesticated.
LibraryThing member bilja
Ayla leaves the Clan seeeking for the Others. She heads North where she believes they live and stops for the winter in a gorgeous valley along the river where she finds a protected cave, previous home to a cave lioness. Struggling to survive, she saves a filly and a cave lion pup, eventually she saves a stranger Jondalar of the Zelandonii and falls in love with him.
I love this book because Ayla stands on her feet, she looks for the others but she doesn't need them any longer. The approach to the first of them is full of misunderstanding, progress, respect and insults: everybody is different and living together is not easy, different habits and different languages need a lot of time and patience butit is worth it as every married couple knows
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LibraryThing member CaroPg
Ayla is alone for the most part of this book. No, wait, that is not accurate. She doesn’t have “human” company for most of the book. However…remember the thrill of the first time leaving alone? Well, she is not particularly thrilled, but she learns to survive all by herself, and that journey of she getting to know herself and what she is capable of is quite amazing. In the way she will befriend a horse, a magnificent mare that you will learn to love, and a cave Lion. For some readers this book may be hard to take in since there is not a lot of dialog, but keep on reading, it is worth it. On the other side of the story you have Jondalar and Thonalan, 2 Cro-Magnon men (around 18 years old) travelling in Europe…think backpack kids getting to know new cultures. This part I really enjoyed, the way the meet new groups of people and they learn of them, love them, etc. As you may have guessed Jondalar and Ayla will get to know each other…under sad circumstances at first, but they will fall in love. The way they have to learn from each other is really interesting, and the way the keep misunderstanding each other because of the different backgrounds is almost funny sometimes. The book ends with them leaving the cave in which Ayla lived while being in the valley, to explore more of the same valley…but a surprise awaits…… (more)
LibraryThing member Riyale
Why I even bothered after the first book in the series I don't know. I was young and stupid I guess. This book is just too unbelievable and more romance novel than anything else.
LibraryThing member janiereader
Since Auel is coming out with a new book in the series, I decided to listen to the books to be reacquainted with the characters and premise. It is a bit hard to listen to, I had a harder time with this one than the first. My plan was to listen to the whole series, but I don't think I can take the "Oooh Jondalars" and "Oh Donis" it just smacks of prehistoric porn. I wish she hadn't try to write Ayla as so wonderful, it comes off smarmy. I don't know if I can stand to listen to the next book, I may have to read it.… (more)


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0553250531 / 9780553250534
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