Jul 10, 08
Read in July, 2008
This is another guilty pleasure. Purely guilty pleasure. I love the story, the characters are interesting and well-rounded (in that no one character is a saint), and the plot moves well. It's one of those books that just sucks you in like a TV show, and you could do nothing but read it for days and be perfectly happy.
I have two complaints with Ken Follet, though:
1) He doesn't give his readers enough credit. My memory isn't awesome, but I can recall the story arc for any particular character throughout a novel. I know the big events in their life during the book. For some reason, Follet doesn't think enough people have this ability, so after the first 150 pages of the novel, he begins to recap the characters' lives each time they resurface. I try to imagine if a famous novelist had done this... "Elizabeth Bennett walked along the road, remembering how her family didn't have much money and recalled the fact that she and Darcy hated each other because of his pride and her prejudice..." It's a bit insufferable. I prefer the author to allow me to remember the characters on my own.
2) He doesn't seem to know when to end his books. This one, like Pillars of the Earth, was about 100 pages too long. The story dead-ends, then continues, then ends for real. If he could manage to just cut things off at the right point, his novels would be even better. Though, I'm sure it's hard to decide where to stop telling a story after you've followed characters through 30 years of their lives.