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Title: Valley of Horses
Author: Jean M. Auel
ISB N: 0553250531 / 978-0553250534
Price: 8.99 $
Source: bought with my Christmas money
Previous Book: 1. The Clan of the Cave Bear
Following Books: 3. The Mammoth Hunters, 4. The Plains of Passage, 5. The Shelters of Stone, 6. The Land of Painted Caves
Just like in The Clan of the Cave Bear (see link above to get to my review on that book) this novel is based around the girl Ayla living in the Stone Age. She was thrown out of the Clave's cave at the end of the first book and now has to find her way to 'the Others' - whoever that might be, she only knows that they look like her. After a long time of journeying she finds a huge valley that she decides to stay in for the winter. She calls it "Valley of Horses" because she encounters a flock of horses, plus, she raises a foal called Winnie, who's mother she had killed as a result of hunting. So until the foal has grown up, Ayla can't leave her valley, at a later hunt she also finds a hurt lion baby she names Baby and raises as well.
Parallely the story of brothers Jondhalar and Thonolan is told who are on their way to find the end of the Big-Mother-River (today: Donau). On their way there, they encounter many dangerous adventures and also a couple of other tribes, amongst one of them Thonolan actually finds his big love Jetamio with whom he wants to stay. Also Jondhalar plans to find a companion.
How will the journey end up for them? (Will they ever reach the end of the big river?) Will Ayla ever find 'the Others' and if so, will they accept her?
To sum it up before I started: I really liked this book. The chapters were alternated between the Ayla-plotline and the Jondhalar and Thonolan-plotline and honestly, I preferred the chapters with the brothers because quite frankly, the Ayla-chapters just lacked direct speech. Sure, Ayla thought a lot and also talked to Baby and Winnie, but there were too many descriptions and too few direct speech (which I can totally understand since there wouldn't bee much talking if you were alone by yourself in a big valley).
I have to admit, during the middle of the book it got veeeeery boring, I actually stopped reading it because I didn't find it appealing anymore. I was even more disappointed because I loved the first book so much.
Half a year later I remembered that I loved the chapters with the brothers so much, so I started reading again. The plot got more interesting and I felt very close to the characters, especially Thonolan who is my favourite character which is why I think it's unfair that it happened to him (you know what I'm talking about if you read the book) instead of Jondhalar (I didn't really like him that much since he always got everything and everyone because of his looks x_x) and I cried. When I was reading that part of the book, I was on my graduation excurse (sailing) a few minutes before dinner: I cried into my rice and chicken and everybody thought that my boyfriend had broken up with me or something xD.
Towards the end of the book, where Winnie grows up to a mare, it gets kind of perverted. Winnie 'says' goodbye to Ayla and finds a stallion (no worries, she comes back later on :)). It gets pretty detailed in the description and you'd nearly think you'd be reading one of those sex stories you can read for free online.
My mum had read the first book and recommended it to me - I'm pretty happy I was the one who read the second book first because if she were the one she probably wouldn't have allowed me to read the Valley of Horses. In fact, I think when she's finished with the book, my mum will tell me "You're not gonna buy the third book if it's as perverted as this one is!"
But I still liked it :)