Reader reviews and comments on The Shelters of Stone, plus links to write your own review.

Summary |  Excerpt |  Reviews |  Readalikes |  Genres & Themes |  Author Bio

The Shelters of Stone

Earth's Children #5

by Jean M. Auel

The Shelters of Stone by Jean M. Auel X
The Shelters of Stone by Jean M. Auel
  • Critics' Opinion:

    Readers' Opinion:

  • First Published:
    Apr 2002, 720 pages
    Jul 2003, 720 pages


  • Rate this book

Buy This Book

About this Book


Page 1 of 3
There are currently 19 reader reviews for The Shelters of Stone
Order Reviews by:

Write your own review!


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!!

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.
Lit by ancient stars

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.
Maria Magdanel

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.

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.
Katie Gettings

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.
Cara Randall

I just finished "Shelters of Stone", and all I can say is it's "pretty good". I am not one of those who really enjoys the continual exhaustive discussion about how every leaf, blade of grass and rock appears in the story, and I frequently start skimming when I arrive at those paragraphs. It also irritated me how I had to hear a retelling of the same discoveries made by Jondalar and Ayla OVER AND OVER within the same book, each time they met a new people (for example) we had to hear once again of how she met the animals, how she tamed them, and how they learned to make fire. While I'm sure that would be necessary to retell in real life when new people were met, I don't think it really added to the interest of the book to go over it so many times in detail.

The book is fun because of the background tension between Zelandoni Who Is First and Ayla, and her struggle to not become part of the mystical group of magicians/healers/spiritualists called the Doniers (Zelandoni). Waiting for Ayla's child to come, and reading about how Jondalar's people learn to accept her is very interesting. But endless discussion of fire rocks, spear throwers and other discoveries made on Ayla's and Jondalar's journey were tedious. In fact, considering that Ayla is just one of thousands of Others with interesting talents and learning abilities, it gets a bit far-fetched for me to swallow that Ayla has invented and created virtually every worthwhile discovery made by the Cro Magnon people. Ever notice that? She discovered how to make fire with stones, make a spear thrower, tame animals, stitch people together who have serious injury, and has guessed the true origin of babies is not from "mixing spirits, but from sex. In fact, pretty much anything that Ayla does she does perfectly, except sing. It does get old because of its predictability, and eventually when I was reading about the latest discovery attributed to Ayla that was done perfectly and would be passed down in story and legend, la la la, I started saying to myself, "Of course! She's Ayla...everything she does is perfect." and I didn't say it happily. It got on my nerves. She even started the tradition of wearing white to a wedding...naturally. A little of that goes a long way.

When I was ten years younger and reading this series, it was easier to believe in all of Ayla's perfections. Now, ten years later and three children of my own, I know life just isn't that smooth. Ayla does everything the best, knows what people are thinking, can "sense" what they really mean just by looking at their posture and the way they make unconscious gestures, has a perfect husband who loves her completely (in that unrealistic "romance-novel" kind of way that we all know is pretty much a farce in the real world)-even sexually they are perfect together, and of course she is so talented and wonderful that the Doniers consider her to be "too dangerous" not to have in their control. If Ayla was just a bit more "average cavewoman" it would be easier for me to relate to her character.

But I did like learning what happened after they reached the Zelandonii, and the way other people got accustomed to her. I do like the threatening undercurrent going on from some of the other characters who don't like Ayla for one reason or another. That was a nice touch and will make reading the next book very interesting. The ending was just awful, however. It didn't leave a person feeling at all satisfied, it left me a little upset. It seemed as if the author just decided to stop writing, almost in the middle of a conversation. I know the purpose was probably to leave me wanting more, and I will read the next book, but I would have anyway. That was a poorly-written way to try to get that to happen. The only reason I will read the last book is to finish out the story I have waited so long to see the ending of. "Clan of the Cave Bear" is one of my favorite books and favorite movies. It started out as brilliant and is ending up interesting, at best, overdone at worst. Instead of being a somewhat talented, struggling, downtrodden-but-victorious-heroine, she's becoming too perfect, almost some kind of deity herself. And the pages in "Shelters of Stone" of how the environment looked as Ayla and Jondalar wander about the area are just painful after awhile. But I will wade through the last book to pick out the good bits and finally find out what happens, because at its heart the Earth's Children's Series concept is brilliant, and will carry you through even the writing and plot difficulties.

After waiting 10 years for this book, I was disappointed that Auel felt she needed to include EVERY piece of information she'd learned in that time in the book. It was more a platform for what Auel learned through her exhaustive research rather than a continuation of Ayla's story. For the first time in this series, I found myself just paging through some of the heavy-handed showing of Auel's knowledge that did nothing to further the story. I hope she doesn't wait another 10 years, however, because --yes--I will read the last book in the series and do not care to 'just page through' any of it.
  • Page
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3

Editor's Choice

  • Book Jacket: The Liar
    The Liar
    by Ayelet Gundar-Goshen
    The Liar is a book that will make its readers uncomfortable by design; set in modern-day Israel, it ...
  • Book Jacket: The Dutch House
    The Dutch House
    by Ann Patchett

    There are a few times in life when you leap up and the past that you'd been standing on falls away ...

  • Book Jacket: The Book Woman of Troublesome Creek
    The Book Woman of Troublesome Creek
    by Kim Michele Richardson
    A loyal animal companion, treks through gorgeous but forbidding wilderness, glimpses of larger ...
  • Book Jacket: Where the Light Enters
    Where the Light Enters
    by Sara Donati
    In this thrilling follow-up to The Gilded Hour, doctors Sophie and Anna Savard take on a baffling ...

Readers Recommend

Book Club
Book Jacket
The Overstory
by Richard Powers

"Monumental… A gigantic fable of genuine truths."—Barbara Kingsolver, The New York Times Book Review

About the book
Join the discussion!
Win this book!
Win The Girl Who Reads on the Métro

The Girl Who Reads on the Métro

An enchanting story for fans of The Little Paris Bookshop and The Elegance of the Hedgehog.


Word Play

Solve this clue:

L, Damn L, A S

and be entered to win..

Books that     

 & enlighten

Visitors can view some of BookBrowse for free. Full access is for members only.

Join Today!

Your guide toexceptional          books

BookBrowse seeks out and recommends the best in contemporary fiction and nonfiction—books that not only engage and entertain but also deepen our understanding of ourselves and the world around us.