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The Shelters of Stone

Earth's Children #5

By Jean M. Auel

The Shelters of Stone
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  • Hardcover: Apr 2002,
    720 pages.
    Paperback: Jul 2003,
    720 pages.

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There are currently 19 reader reviews for The Shelters of Stone
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Jen (01/11/10)

Missed the target!
As a huge fan of Clan & Valley, I have to agree with the other reviewers that Mammoth, Plains & Shelters fell short.
I have been hooked by the storyline of the first two books. Shelters (and Plains) is like a meal that looks delicious but has no taste, you will keep taking bites in hopes that the next one will have flavor!
Ayla has become, in her quest to fit in, normal and boring. Perhaps what the character wanted but not what the readers hoped for.
I found myself flipping through pages and pages of research references on the regions plant & animal life, cave dwellings and complete rehashes of the past 4 books over and over again.
I found that the Zelandonii had lost their primal ice age quality and had taken a Flintstones type of modern stone age way of living. Next we will find out how they had refrigerators and microwaves made of sticks and stone.
The book has lost touch with what I think most readers wanted to read about: Aylas uniqueness and struggles in an alien society.
JULIE (09/12/08)

Shelters of Stone - too long in the preparation
I found this a book a disappointment. It took many years to prepare, and was eagerly awaited by her millions of fans and the research was second to none. BUT, it did not have the suspense nor the excitement of the previous books. There were no real voyages of discovery and Ayla as a "strong and unique" woman in her earlier roles became a bit of a washed out drip in this book. The anthropology and historical context was awe inspiring but I was left feeling that I had read a prehistoric history not a novel. Bring back the Mills and Boon element please and lets have some more of the magical clever inventive Ayla character coming through in the next book please.
Katie Gettings (03/14/07)

Why???
I have religiously read this series since I was a young girl. The only thing that we can seem to agree on is that the first book was the best. I will read the final book. Just so I can finish this whole thing out. I also had to read the books in secret after a while. What mother wants her ten year old daughter to actually read graphic descriptions of sex? { valley of horses} But read them I did. And I have remained a loyal fan since then. It's been twenty years since I started the books, I really don't feel like waiting another thirteen or fifteen years to read the final one. I admit that after the first read through, Plains of passage is pretty just earmarked so I don't have to read the crap I don't want to.
Another Actual Guy (08/04/06)

a love-HATE relationship
My experience with this series can be compared to a drug addiction. I don’t like it but I need more. As a young adolescent I traversed the Jack London/Louis L'Amour historical novel landscape. One day I decided to venture into pre-historical novels when I heard about Jean M. Auel’s research for her books. She actually walked along the land, like Louis and Jack did.



I loved Clan of the Cave Bear. Great book. The Valley of the Horses wasn’t bad, except for the ending turning into a ROMANCE NOVEL!



I was hooked on the characters. Hook line and sinker! I feel like I was talked into buying a set of encyclopedias.



Mammoth Hunters & Plains of Passage, I had to read in secrecy. I was actually reading romance novels! One after the other, I couldn’t believe it. This did my egos no favors. Now a couple of the love scenes I did appreciate, but SERIOUSLY, so much? My purpose for reading the books wasn’t to get off.



After recently reading The Shelters of Stone I have come to a conclusion about Jean M. Auel’s writing: She writes every book with the assumption that the reader has not read the previous books. Thus the exhausting rehash of everything, to everybody new she meets. Did I need to know how every person of Zelandonii reacted to Wolf, to her accent, to the horses, to her magnificent beauty? Geeez.



Just because some of Jean M. Auel’s previous books were quite long, she feels she needs to churn out an equal number of pages in every book. I would not object to a 450 page, hell a 300 page book. Especially, if the alternative is filler the likes of which resembles my 12th grade (25 page minimum) term paper on censorship. Ugh.



Jean m. Auel obviously possess a vast reservoir of pre-history knowledge and doesn’t hesitate to share in an attempt to fill more pages to reach her telephone book quota. I wish the storytelling was worked on with the same fervor as the fact cramming was. However in the previous books there was always an artifact section of actually excavated tools, vessels, statuettes, etc. – which Jean M. Auel had woven into the story. I missed this in The Shelters of the Stone. I enjoyed that section in the previous books.



By the way, all the love scenes and the times we read about Ayla’s beauty have been ruined by the thought that nobody really shaved then, unless Jondalar and Ayla single-handedly thrust the Zelondonii people into the Iron Age. I’ll bet any money, Ayla and Jondalar develop the wheel in the next book.



This book could have been easily edited down to a slim 450 pages and it would have been good, but reading the 800 some page book is the literary version of hitting yourself in the forehead with a wooden plank, over and over and over again, and liking it.



Hey “An Actual Guy”, you forgot about the reunion of Ayla and Durc during a Clan summer meeting where Ayla leads a delegation of animals and Zelondonii traders in order to open communication and trading lines. But Ayla does not exist to the clan because she has a death curse – and hilarity shall ensue.
Lit by ancient stars (01/15/05)

I thought the Shelters of Stone was an interesting read, though the pages and pages of Ayla's herbal knowledge did become a bit tedious after a while. The funny thing is that I actually didn't know this book or the Plains of Passage existed untill about 6 months ago! I thought the story ended at the Mammoth Hunters and you had to just imagine Jondalar and Ayla got home safetly, "mated" and had children, but the problem with that was I was hungry for more!!
I've read the Plains of Passage and the Shelters of Stone twice now, and although they are as thick as the telephone book, don't despair- you'll get a detailed and interesting read.
Shawna (04/14/04)

I think that all of auel's novels are wonderful. The Earth's Children series is so well written and detailed. When i read about ayla and her adventures i feel as if i am in the novel standing right there with her.
The clan of the cave bear was my most favorite out of the series. I could not put it down and read it within two days. The valley of the horses was also good, however i became just as bored as alya was when there was no other human interaction within the book. The mammoth hunters was also good. However, the plains of passage put me to sleep. reading about plant life and hearing her adventures told over and over again to every people that alyal met on her journey was boring. i read this book just so i could begin the next.
The shelters of stone is good so far. i just began to read. What i dislike about this book is how repatitive it is. Does auel think that i dont remember what happened in the last four books!!
Lorelei (08/25/03)

I'd like to thank many of you for your reviews. I thought I was the only one disappointed with the content of some of this series...

I thought Clan of the Cave Bear was amazing and wonderful. It brought me to a very different place, time and people and sucked me in. Most of all, I could feel these people. Both their differences and their similarities to people of today.

So I read the second book, The Valley of Horses. Also, quite cool. How would any of us deal with being isolated and alone for so long? The little details in this book were very real and human- befriending animals and carving a face into snow (remember Wilson in Cast Away?) Then finally meeting someone and not being able to speak, let alone falling in love and getting romantic. Lots more fun in this book, but...

The Mammoth Hunters. Here's where I found I could no longer read through another description of plants or Ayla's and Jondalars sex-capades. Forgive me, but the sex scenes got trite in the second book and didn't improve in this third book. Although, there were more sex scenes, making me wonder if this was deemed necessary in order to sell the book. Last but not least, the long winded 'break up' between Jondalar and Ayla was unbelievable and tedious.

But I had hope, really. My fertile imagination was already imagining all the possibilities for the fourth book. I read one reviewer in this discussion who had some great ideas for the last book. While his story line wouldn't be mine, it was more interesting than what I read in Mammoth Hunters or Plains of Passage.

Plains of Passage is agonizing and boring. We meet various societies, most of which are slight variations of each other. If you cut out the sex scenes, the plants, the repetition, and consolidate the groups of people into one (because that's all you've got, one basic societal frame work) you probably have a 35 page book filled with short adventures. Only two scenes worth keeping in this book: the abduction of Jondalar by the 'evil' women and saved by Ayla (too funny) and their encounter with the Clan couple.

I'm about half way through Shelters of Stone. So far it is a summary of the previous books. Obviously the author thinks I'm an idiot and can't possibly remember anything from the previous books (or within three pages of this book). After 400 pages, filled mainly with repeated introductions of long winded names and the wonders of the great Ayla, the only interesting/ new things could have been written in a 15 page short story. Though I must admit, meeting the love of Jondalar's life (before Ayla) and finding she's the size of a small cow made me giggle. Ayla insisting on wearing boy's long underwear and puberty belt is also rather funny, but is this worth 400 pages?

They say it ain't over 'til the fat lady sings... well, Jondalar's ex-girlfriend did that around page 340 so there's only 543 pages to go. That seems to sum it up.

(I won't be reading the next book unless I hear something good about it... there are too many great books out there to waste time re-reading this same stuff over and over and over and over and over and over....)
Maria Magdanel (07/26/03)

i just think all her books are sooo interesting, and since i plan to be an archiologist, it's really taught me a lot about those ancient people.
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