Friday, January 27, 2012

Pillars of the Earth

Pillars of the Earth

By: Ken Follet

Review Grade: B

This book is historical fiction set in twelfth century England.  It follows the story of a fictional town and the quest to build a cathedral in it. It traces the development of Gothic architecture and Romanesque architecture  during the struggle of power for the kingdom.

This is one long ass book.  It took me about six weeks to read it (although it over during the holidays and I also took a week break to read Night Circus for book club).  However, the storyline is intriguing.  The story isn’t told from any one character’s point of view, rather is spends time switching focus between characters.  Because it’s such a long book, the switching of characters really helped the book to keep moving and stay interesting. There are several elements to the book, including: love, defeat, deceit, triumph, and violence.  In addition, some portions were rather technical and gave lengthy descriptions about the building of a cathedral (to be honest, sometimes I just glossed over these pages).

However, one portion of the book that I didn’t care for was the graphic nature of one of the characters and the harm he caused to others.  The first time I encountered this, I was reading on the train and was mortified, like I physically felt sick and didn’t want to continue the book. (I actually sent Ben a text saying I can’t believe you suggested I read this f’in book.  I hate William!!; lol)

You know how some books/series just go by too fast and when you’re done you wish it wasn’t over?  Despite this book being so long, I still feel that way about.  The book had several places where I felt like it could have ended but the author then added another twist and element to the story. In 2010 in was made into a TV mini-series and I’m now desperate to see it. Goodreads, ranks Pillars of the Earth the third best historical fiction book (following #1-Memoirs of a Geisha (haven’t read; although I’d like too.  I’ve seen the movie?) and #2-Gone with the Wind (love!)).

Overall, this book was much difference than the typical romance/relationship books I have been reading recently or the “pop”-teen-type books.  It was a refreshing change.

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