Time to Break Out the Firestones

As you can see from the photo, My Pal Nanook has joined me in re-reading the first four books of the Earth’s Children series written by Jean Auel. We’ve been reading the series somewhat out of order — starting with The Mammoth Hunters (Book 3), then on to The Plains of Passage (Book 4), now we’re on The Valley of Horses (Book 2), and we’ll soon be finishing up with The Clan of the Cave Bear (Book 1). This is all in preparation for the release of the fifth book The Shelters of Stone on or about April 30, 2002.

Nanook mugging on Valley of Horses dust jacket

So, which book is my favorite? It’s easily The Valley of Horses, though, oddly enough, the book I most often pick up to read sequences from is The Plains of Passage. The book I read the least is The Clan of the Cave Bear. Mostly, it’s because Broud is a schmuck. Nookie’s favorite is also The Valley of Horses. I’d have thought that the later books would be since Wolf features so prominently. But no, his favorite character is Baby.

The Shelters of Stone is supposed to be rather lengthy. I don’t mind that. I’ve been waiting over a decade. If it had come in at 250 pages, I’d have been a bit disappointed. I expect that it will be a good read, and a book I’ll re-read in the future. However, I do have some reservations.

The last couple of books have been rather heavy on the gratuitous sex scenes. We get it. Ayla, Jondalar, and the people who lust for them are randy folks. Fine. I don’t mind them having a diddle — I just get tired of having to read about it so much and in detail. It’s boring and it’s filler. I’d rather have plot.

The other thing I’m sort of dreading is the almost inevitable conflict of miscommunication. When Jondalar is confronted with the likely less-than-heartfelt welcome his mother has for Ayla, as well has having to deal with his jilted fiancee, and his shell of a love half-sister, the situation is just perfect for a lot of not talking. I hope that’s not the case, I feel like it’s been done to death in The Mammoth Hunters, but there are only just so many plot devices out there to use.

Well, I could go on and on about this.

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