Thursday, September 22, 2011

Earth's Children 1-4 by Jean M. Auel

Recently (a.k.a 2 days ago) I finished the fourth book of this collection, and let me tell you...WOW. If you don't know the main story, here is the link to Wikipedia ( but what you have to know is that is WAY more than the story of a Cro-Magnon girl 30.000 years or so ago. No, is so beautiful the way Jean Auel embellishes her attitudes, but the part I like the most is the way she describes when Ayla (the main character) has an idea…an idea that will change history. Personally, I think the books are brilliant, so I highly recommend them…the movie based on the first book, not so much. I will comment a bit on each book, but please have in mind that some spoilers might be there. I will try to spear tiny details, because the books are completely worth it.

So, the first book: The Clan of the Cave Bear. Ayla loses her family after an earthquake and is not another Cro-Magnon group that finds her but a group of Neanderthals. This book basically tells the story of how she has to get used to the ways of The Clan (the way the Neanderthals call themselves) against what her brain and past tells her. Don’t worry she makes it. However if you have strong feminist feeling, I would strongly recommend to take the book slowly. You see, The Clan ways often portray way too obedient women…what the man says goes…literally. At the same time, Ayla is such an empowering character that you will be happy to know that she breaks a lot of rules. Don’t forget however that this Clan become her family, so sometimes the love she feels for the group will make her overlook a lot of things that we would not accept now. The book ends sadly, so be sure to have the second book close to you to know what happens next.

The Valley of Horses

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…

The Mammoth Hunters

Out of the valley Ayla and Jondalar meet this new Cro-Magnon group called the Mamutoi…the mammoth hunters. They join them and live with them for a while. I will tell you that in this book I wasn’t the biggest fan of Jondalar…you see, he has a serious jealousy issues. When they arrive to the cavern where the Mamutoi live, they met Ranec, a black Cro-Magnon that turns out to be really attractive to Ayla. Off course Jondalar doesn’t like this and because of his jealousy Ayla and him, fall into a ridiculous fight. Obviously the book doesn’t talk exclusively about this, is with this group that Ayla starts feeling part of the Cro-Magnon people again. She learns about The Mother which is the deity they have in the group, as well as she gets in touch with her affinity with the Mother. A new animal joins the group in this group, Wolf, which will make you remember the most playful dog you have ever met. At the end, Jondalar and Ayla are back together, but not before falling apart greatly, founding each other again and remembering how much they love each other.

The Plains of Passage

The last book I have read, but there are still 2 others. Ayla and Jondalar are travelling back to the region Jondalar comes from.  Once again the descriptions of the scenery made by Auel are magnificent, but for me is the constant dynamics between Ayla and Jondalar that caught me. Once again they will meet with groups that Jondalar met in the second book, and also a couple of new ones. The way the different societies visited are described reflects a lot of communities now a days, without losing the back in time feeling. Ayla keeps being haunted by these dreams that remind her of her life with The Clan,but at the same time show her the way to a future.


I am going to stop here; I really don’t want to give away any more information. Please try to read it, I can assure you that you won’t regret it 

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