Wednesday, December 3

Pillars of the Earth

Title: Pillars of the Earth

Author: Ken Follet

Pages: 983

Summary: As a new age dawns in England’s twelfth century, the building of a mighty Gothic cathedral sets the stage for a story of intrigue and power, revenge and betrayal. It is in this rich tapestry, where kings and queens are corrupt, that the common man shows eternal promise-and one majestic creation will bond them forever . . . .

My Rating: 6/10

What I liked/disliked about the book: The book was just “okay”. And I am being nicer about it then I think I should. There are many issues I had with this book, least of all the inaccuracies of some things especially language (the term fuck in relation to intercourse for example). I understand that the language needed to be changed so readers today can understand it, because using terms that they used back in would be ridiculous and almost no one would understand it. But at least try to not use slang terminology that wasn’t used the way it is used today, in a way it was never used then.

Also, I found the characters to be very one dimensional, the good guys were always the good guys, they were also always down on their luck and struggled none stop, with hurdle after hurdle hitting them on their way. They did nothing bad. The bad guys won a lot, they had easy ways to winning because they were bad and evil. For the most part all the characters were the stereotypical cookie cutter evil bad guy or holy good guy. Few instances of anything different were evident.

One of the biggest issues I had with this book is and before I get into it, just remember, this is about a cathedral being built. The issue is the grotesque, multiple and un-need rape scenes or attempted rape scenes this book has combined to the harlequin romance scenes.
I understand the author was trying to portray the horrific things men did to woman them, and how society was like back them. But to do it in such grotesque detail is disgusting and disturbing. It ruined the entire book for me. If the book was about a rapist, I could see having multiple rape scenes and describing it. But, this wasn’t. It was distasteful and there was no need to go into every little detail. There are ways to set up the scene, informing the reading the horrific scene that is about to happen, then leave off for the reader to imagine. Not to mention, was it really necessary to have multiple rape scenes in this book. We get it! William is a rapist. I started thinking that the author is a disturbed, or b he isn’t creative enough to think of anything, so lets just through in a rape scene.
Going in the harlequin romance, it was a little much. Again, we get it! There were two many times, where random acts or attempted acts of sex in all the details, were in the novel. They’re walking down a street and a woman bared her breasts, character a grabbed and pinched breast of character b, lets describe how they look and feel. Come on enough! I was hoping for a story like the summary says, knowing that yes there will be some sexual scenes, violence and violence against woman, because it what happened then. But I found they took away from what the book was about, they scenes make you forget your reading about a story of a community coming together to build this cathedral.

There was some good about the book, because I did finish it. Describing the scene of these old cathedrals and villages was amazing. You could actually see then in your head as you read the book, which I enjoyed. Also, with the exception of what I said above, the story was interesting, I just found that there were a lot of things that ruined it. Even with the absence of those things. The book is still just a “good” book. I really don’t see anything AMAZING about it that everyone else says it to be. Am I missing something here? Because I honestly don’t see what the huge hype of the book is.
An “okay” book that could have been a “good” book, if certain scenes as I addressed above had been dealt with differently.

Would I recommend it to read: I’m really not sure. Everyone seems to love the book. And I just didn’t feel it. If you like historical fiction, then you may enjoy the book. But fair warning there are some explicit and grotesque scenes in the book.

What to read next: There is a sequel World Without an End that is out. That may be a starting point. But I’m not sure what to read next. I’m not a fan of Follett, so I don’t think I’d read anymore of his work, but I have limited experiences with Historical fiction. So, check out what LibraryThigns and Goodreads has to say.


  1. I totally agree with your review - I tried to read the book twice, and never finished. The "grotesques" scenes you are describing were too much for me and runed the pleasure of reading an otherwise good story.

    I am glad to see I am not the only one who dislike this novel! :-)

  2. I know how you feel. A lot of people highly recommend the book, and I felt like one of the very few who didn't like it. There is a lot of us though (which is good to know)