Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Book Review: The Pillars of the Earth by Ken Follett

The Pillars of the Earth by Ken Follett
Age Group: Adult
Genre: Historical Fiction
Length: 983 pages

In 12th-century England, the building of a mighty Gothic cathedral signals the dawn of a new age. This majestic creation will bond clergy and kings, knights and peasants together in a story of toil, faith, ambition and rivalry. A sweeping tale of the turbulent middle ages, The Pillars of the Earth is a masterpiece from one of the world's most popular authors.

Review: When I go on a long vacation, I typically bring a really, really big book to keep me occupied on the long car ride--in this case a total of thirty hours. I selected The Pillars of the Earth at the last minute, on a half-remembered recommendation from a few years ago, and it turned out to be the perfect book.

Everything about this book drew me in from the very beginning. There was a perfect balance between action and character development to keep me enthralled both by what was happening and what was going to happen. Even with the dozens of different characters, I didn't find it difficult to keep track of which was which because they all had their own personalities and ways of doing things that distinguished them from the others.

It was interesting seeing the characters grow and change, as well. This book spans many decades and changes from one main character to the next as they aged or died, and each time the book focused on a character I fell in love with them (or began to hate them passionately, which is often just as good).

One word of warning, though--at over 900 pages, this book should definitely be started when you have a lot of time to read it, because it will take a while to get through. And it requires a good bit of energy to read, too, because there are a lot of plots to keep track of. It's definitely not light reading, but it's fantastic in a situation like mine where I had a lot of time to devote to truly enjoying it.

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  1. I've been wanting to read this but keep passing it up because it looks like a brick. I'm glad to know it's worth reading!

  2. What a book! 900+ pages and five stars (whoa, that must be a huge book!). But it sounds like an amazing read- reading several lifetimes of different characters sounds so cool :D

  3. It's definitely a large book to pick up, but well worth it in my opinion.

  4. Some of those books loke really good, exspecially the Salem one. Oh yea you got awards.

  5. Wonderful review and congratulations on tackling this book. Although it has gotten lots of acclamations I haven't been able to bring myself to read it! I tend to stick with shorter books so I can read more of them. :) Hmmm- I wonder if that's shallow of me.