Auel's second installment in the Earth's Children series does start out fairly slow. Not only does the plot follow Ayla and her newly-found animal companions but it also focuses on Jondalar, the handsome blonde-haired, blue-eyed wonder, and his brother, Thonalon. Most of the first half of the book tends to make you want to skip pages to get to "the good part" however, again, there is a wealth of knowledge about the Ice Age throughout the pages. Auel even uses several pages to discuss flint knapping. For those of you who aren't interested in the historical perspective, you may find the book rather dull until Ayla and Jondalar finally meet.
This book continues the story of Ayla. I found it enjoyable, but there were often parts that got boring that I skimmed, such as descriptions of how to hunt. It's information heavy, but it's still an enjoyable story. Some of the people don't seem real, but those are minor characters so it's forgivable. The summary above is a pretty accurate description of how I feel about this book.