Saturday, January 15, 2011

REVIEW: Pillars of the Earth by Ken Follet

Title:  Pillars of the Earth
Author:  Ken Follet
Date Published:  First Published in 1989
Genre:  Adult Fiction, Historical Fiction
Page Count:  976 pages
Challenges:  E-Book Challenge

book cover of The Pillars of the Earth by Ken Follet
First, let me start off by saying that this is a very long book.  A very good book, but a very long one.  The plot centers around Kingbridge priory and their endeavor to build a new cathedral after the original one burns down.  Of course this takes many years and many things are working against them.

Overall, I really liked this book.  It was long, but it was bearable, because there were so many different side stories.  You have so many characters and each of them are trying to live their own lives and accomplish their own goals, but they are all intertwined somehow in the building of the cathedral or the town of Kingsbridge.
Honestly, as I was reading through some reviews, this little snippet that I found here, could not sum it up any better. "It's got a lot of soap-opera-like twists and turns - no amnesia, but just about everything else, including mistaken identities, illicit marriages, illicit lack of marriage, illegitimate children, questionable parentage, love triangles, revenge, greed, power, a few murders, rape, witches, politics, knights, swords and horsies. OK, that last bit is not so soap-opera-like. There's also lots and lots of architecture. And it's a very long book."
To me, that is exactly what Pillars of the Earth was like. I loved the complexity of the characters and the story lines and the way that they all really come together.

There was a lot of detail. You could tell that Follet spent a lot of time researching the time period, especially in the ways of religion and day to day life. Also, the architecture of the cathedral was incredibly detailed. This was one of the biggest complaints that I had about the book. I loved the characters and the stories and everything, but Follet would spend several pages at a time explaining and describing the architecture. I read an article that stated that was one of the main reasons that he wrote this novel, his love for the architecture, but when you write a story that rich in drama, in my opinion, there's just no place for it. Some description was obviously necessary because of the content, but I felt there was just too much.

The very end was a little bit much either. You get to the end, the biggest climax occurs, but there's no neat little wrap up. It goes on for another 100 pages, and more problems are introduced and resolved all in those 100 pages. Most of those problems are within the church setting of the book. Then in the last 20 pages or so, one of the biggest villains through the book finally meet their end.

To sum it up, I really liked this book. It was incredibly long, but I loved the characters and the way that everything fit in together.  Great novel, and it was well written.  I would give this novel a 5 out of 5

Also, for those of you that didn't know, there is a mini series that Starz produced.  I watched it before I read the book, and the series was just as good as the book, though there were some major differences.  If you have Netflix you can find it there.  I highly recommend watching it.

Think you might want to give this book a try?  Read more reviews or order from      The Pillars of the Earth


Miss Page-Turner said...

Hey very good review! I watched the movie on tv and decided to read this novel, because I so loved the story and especially the character of Jack. Such a long novel, need to take some time then:-O

S. Leighanne said...

Yes, it took me about 2 months to finish it, but its so worth the read. You get so much more out of it than if you just watch the series :]

Elizabeth said...

Hey Leighanne,
I would suggest a bigger font for your reviews. I can always go and zoom the page, but this is a suggestion

S. Leighanne said...

Thanks for the input Elizabeth! I can read smaller fonts well, but I didn't even think about other people. Going through and doing some editing now :]

S. Leighanne said...

Thanks for the input Elizabeth! I can read smaller fonts well, but I didn't even think about other people. Going through and doing some editing now :]

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