Ashley's Reviews > World Without End

World Without End by Ken Follett
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's review
Feb 18, 2011

it was ok
Read from February 18 to March 05, 2011

This is a hard book to review because whether you love it or not is going to be totally a matter of personal preference. Is it a well-written, well-researched book full of well-drawn characters, drama, political battles, and unrequited love? You betcha. It was a great book. I just didn't like it. Too sad. The good guys kept losing and losing and losing. All the "bad" people kept getting their way, to the detriment of everyone else. Even when triumphs did occur for the people I cared about, it was anticlimactic, or they only occurred at the end of a long life (40 years or so is most of a lifetime in the mid-1300's!). I'm not talking about the sadness and misery caused by historical events, and there was plenty of that, but an emotional frustration.

The events of the novel take place about 200 years after the events in "Pillars of the Earth" in the same fictional town of Kingsbridge, England. Many of the characters are even descendants of the characters from "Pillars." By the middle of the book, I finally realized that every new twist just beat down the main characters even more. There was NO balance of happiness for all the sad, selfish, evil, brutal, cruelty of the world. "Pillars" was a much more balanced book, and I enjoyed it. I just wanted this one to end so I could see the resolution. I was even aware of the point I just emotionally pulled out of the book and said, "OK, I'm detaching, because this is too painful to keep caring."

I never truly connected with one of the main characters, Caris. I couldn't get a handle on her. I started out liking her, but then I couldn't relate to her choices. Ironically, I found the most interesting character to be one of the "bad" guys - Ralph. He actually grows and develops through the novel, although never into someone I'd like. In the first book, "Pillars," the bad guy is more evil and sadistic - way less normal. Ralph is just a completely selfish, unfeeling character, but sadly, very realistic. You could say depressingly realistic. Ah well. I haven't looked at other reviews, but I'm sure tons of people loved this book, including my husband. Just not me...
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