Fiona's Reviews > The Pillars of the Earth

The Pillars of the Earth by Ken Follett
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's review
Oct 31, 09

liked it
bookshelves: series, 2009, historical, setting-england
Read in October, 2009

Phew, finished!

I put this book of for so long that I'm angry I deprived myself of a good read for so many months. This is a book you can sit down, wrap yourself up in and exclude the rest of the world for a bit.

Follett is not a historical author, he usually writes thillers and this reflects in his style of writing. The sentences are short and almost clumsy, which after a while can be grating on your nerves. He has this habit of explaining everything to you as if you couldn't understand a pretty clear concept. Maybe this is the mistake of an author, unfamiliar with writing for this kind of audience, underestimating their ability to actually read and process information at the same time. It is rather annoying but I ended up scanning past those parts.

That sounds rather damning, doesn't it? Normally that would have irritated me so much I'd have tossed the book aside. But to me, there is a tipping point in how I enjoy a book. A good story vs. great writing. Well, great writing this is not, but it is a fantastic story with an excellent cast of characters all whom you find yourself either loving (and wanting to bash them around the head at some point too) and hating so much you want to do nothing more then see them burn in a vat of acid.

That tipped the scales for me. The writing is at least unpretentious, it is plain and without grace. But Follett doesn't try to be something he is not. He is a great story teller and he manages to captivate the feeling and atmosphere of the medieval era in your imagination without the use of flowery adjectives or the over use of description.

The Pillars of the Earth, once you are sucked in you cannot remove yourself very well, it's a bit of a train journey. There are the many criticisms (the constant rocking of the pram where good things happen followed by bad, followed by good and so on...) but in the end I really enjoyed reading this book, every page of it and I can't wait to continue with World Without End even though it is set about 200 years after Pillars.

I'm glad to have finished this book though. It wasn't one which had me turning the last page over and being disappointed there was no more on the other side. You feel satisfied when you finally finish it and take your bookmark out, closing the covers for the last time... unless you want to re-read it of course. I think it does have re-readability but I don't think I will any time in the future. Maybe the far future I will want to re-visit this.
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Reading Progress

10/13 page 1
10/13 page 43
3.95% "i'm hooked too"
10/14 page 94
8.64% "Terribly tired today." 1 comment
10/15 page 125
11.49% "i am a slow coach but i am really enjoying this"
10/17 page 200
18.38% 3 comments
10/18 page 245
22.52% 2 comments
10/20 page 327
30.06% "at least it looks as if i've read a good chunk even if i have 749 more to go! worried about aliena, want to kick william very hard."
10/24 page 431
39.61% 3 comments
10/25 page 448
41.18% "i hate william. I hope he has a long, painful agonising death. Maybe hung drawn and quartered after many days on the rack."
10/25 page 468
43.01% "horrah philip, too good to be a monk"
10/25 page 512
47.06% "I really hate that Waleran git as well"
10/26 page 538
49.45% "exactly... half way!!"
10/26 page 558
51.29% "yeah listening to the angels and demons soundtrack!"
10/27 page 600
55.15% "still got 476 pages to go will this book ever end? I kinda don't want it to."
10/28 page 629
57.81% "oh i love Jack :("
10/28 page 651
59.83% "gulp"
10/28 page 660
60.66% "onto the 4th part of the book, ch 11..."
10/28 page 660
60.66% "i hope this book is happily ever after and no bitter sweet endings please!!! don't say a word if you know."
10/29 page 716
65.81% "i'm completely glued" 7 comments
10/29 page 726
66.73% "uhoh"
10/29 page 778
71.51% "oooh hopefully i'll finish by the weekend!"
10/29 page 818
75.18% "oh no not again!!!" 2 comments
10/30 page 862
79.23% "this book is not doing my sleeping pattern any good."
10/30 page 903
83.0% "grrrr morons"
10/30 page 942
86.58% "i hope nothing bad happens"
10/30 page 968
88.97% "what, noooo...! stupid person!"
10/30 page 984
90.44% "yay less then 100 pages go go!"
02/28 marked as: read
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Comments (showing 1-12 of 12) (12 new)

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Kristine Have fun reading this! I quite enjoyed this one :)

message 2: by Laura (new)

Laura Does your copy have 1087 pages?? EGADS!

Fiona Yes! Lol, daunting. Not as bad as Shogun's 1385 or so though. And that took me only 2 weeks!

Beth Knight The version of Pillars I have only has 973 pages, LOL! I want to read Shogun sometime soon!

Fiona yesyesyes!

Beth Knight Well, you and Em have gotten me very curious about it. You've both made it sound so good so how can I resist?

Fiona You can't. Shogun is irresistible I can't begin to describe how much I loved that.

Beth Knight I'll have to start Shogun after finishing Pillars. I think long books are good for the Fall and Winter!

Fiona Haha yeah they seem to be heehee!

message 10: by Beth (new) - rated it 4 stars

Beth Knight Now I'm excited to read Shogun!

Becky Homestretch!! I should be finishing mine tonight as well. :D

Fiona Yeah! You've speeded through it faster then old Speedy. I'm looking forward to the end now and to starting something new!

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