I liked it, I did. I wanted to love it, for it's Neil Gaiman, and so many others praise this as his best work. Maybe I would have liked the shorter, n...moreI liked it, I did. I wanted to love it, for it's Neil Gaiman, and so many others praise this as his best work. Maybe I would have liked the shorter, non-anniversary edition more. I am not a fast reader, but a book that I thought was amazing would not take me a month to read, even a big one.
Still, Gaiman is an amazing writer. I heard his voice in my head when I read Shadow's lines. The characters are intense, varied, deep. One complaint--there are just too many of them. Three-quarters of the way through names were being dropped and characters were showing up that I know I had met earlier, yet I just could not remember them. And I couldn't be bothered to search through the book to find out exactly what part they played in Shadow's grand journey.
I cared about what happened at the end, and enjoyed most of the weird side-turns the characters took to get to their inevitable climactic scene. The ending was quite fulfilling. Next, I might need to try his current novel, The Ocean at the End of the Lane.(less)
I wanted to like this book, since I have fond memories of enjoying The Pillars of the Earth. But I ended up skimming through most of it. While I perso...moreI wanted to like this book, since I have fond memories of enjoying The Pillars of the Earth. But I ended up skimming through most of it. While I personally turned every page in this monster of a book, I did not read the ones that dealt with war or religion. What on earth did I read, then? I liked the character interaction, and that is what I focused on. After a while even that became weak. I recognize that Follett wanted his wide list of characters to become intermingled, but it just felt forced to me.
Maybe it wasn't the right time for me and this book, trying to digest in the summertime this many pages of (hardcover!) WWI with sprinklings of religion and too-similar sex scenes. I am glad so many have enjoyed this; they have more to look forward to in the future, it seems. As for me, even though I skipped so much of it, I still noticed several times that Follett would spend a few paragraphs at the start of a section providing background information and reiterating what those characters did some 300 or whatever pages earlier. Ugh. I expect a bit of reminding between books in a series, but in the same book? Maybe it's time to cut your book size down!(less)
I added the original shelves and rating on July 19, 2010--around the time I joined Goodreads and was adding my collection.
Now I'm reading it aloud to...moreI added the original shelves and rating on July 19, 2010--around the time I joined Goodreads and was adding my collection.
Now I'm reading it aloud to my sons (14 and 12), something I've waited a long, long time to do. I hope they like it at least almost as much as I did, and I hope I still love it.
*EDIT, now that I've finished reading it to my sons*
I'm leaving my original rating of 5 stars, because I'm sure I felt that way about the book a few years ago when I added it, or at least when I initially read it, way back in the '90s. Sadly, if I were to rate it today, I wouldn't give it 5 stars. Maybe it's the extra 20ish years I have behind me now, along with a different perspective, a different title (mother), and the inevitable changes that we undergo as people. Or maybe it's the reading it aloud that lessened it for me, or heck, just reading it *again*, something I don't usually do.
My 12 year old would give it 3 stars. He found it too violent for his liking. He enjoys lighter, more humorous (and fantasy oriented) fare. Still, he was willing to read the sequel.
My 14 year old said it was okay, though he didn't like how most of the book was devoted to the build-up. Then the big build-up is just a small part of the book. He found it repetitive, all the battleschool skirmishes and such.
All that said, it's still a great book, and my whole family is looking forward to seeing the movie this fall. (less)