Review: The Pillars of the Earth

The Pillars of the Earth
The Pillars of the Earth by Ken Follett
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

What attracted me to this book was primarily because everyone was raving about it and the title was quite intriguing. I would not usually go for an epic historical fiction but… I would usually give many books a go anyway. I have to admit though that this copy has been sitting on my shelf for possibly more than 2 years!

The sheer size of the volume is intimidating. On top of that, it’s set in Medieval England – NOT my favourite setting. Life was just, more often than not, too miserable in that time of history so I try to avoid it. I don’t read to be miserable…

Aliena is a woman to be admired – she is such a strong, beautiful, and intelligent character. I couldn’t believe the number of times she was knocked down and yet, she managed to get up to get going again. And not only that, she continues to be noble, enterprising, and yet good. If I was in her shoes, I think I may have curled up & died in the first instance of terrible happenings! She is verily the strongest female character I’ve read to date (okay, so she doesn’t wield a sword but there is more to kick-ass heroine than an ability with sword).

[hums: I get knocked down / But I get up again / You’re never going to keep me down]

Tom Builder is by far the easiest character to like. Besides being overall likeable – he is an intelligent & gentle man with a penchant for beauty and a vision. His vision in life is to build the most beautiful cathedral. Whilst he is not of nobility, he is noble in his intention (most of the time) and will stand for what is right despite the dangers. I’m just a bit sad that this character wasn’t taken further (‘Nuff said – without being spoiler-ish).

Phillip, on the other hand, makes you wonder whether you would like him in real life or not. Reading him on these pages and having access to his thoughts are what makes him likeable and even, at times, admirable. A through & through man of God, he represents the truly faithful.

This book definitely caught me by surprise though – or better put, I was caught by surprise by the number of times that I am in ignorance of what’s going on around me whilst I’m reading this book. The world building was just so richly textured and the story & characters grabbed hold of my attention sooo very completely that I’m just not aware of the goings-on around me. That was really something I did not expect. A masterpiece it is, indeed.

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11 thoughts on “Review: The Pillars of the Earth

  1. sempiternalloveforbooks

    I am glad you liked the book as it is one of my personal favourites :). I can also recommend the sequel to this book A world without end. It might not be as good as this one, but enjoyable nonetheless.

    1. Tien Post author

      Thank you, I will one day read A World Without End but I think I’d need a bit of a break plus… I’m about to pick up Les Mis and that’ll take me to pretty nearly the end of this year 😉

    1. Tien Post author

      I squeezed in other books in between reading chunks of Pillar of the Earth 😉 so it took me about a month & I’m quite pleased with that lol

  2. Dee

    I think this is one of the few fictions that was an assigned reading in college that I finished – I read it when I took a Renaissance Humanities class and was blown away. I have the second one on the pile, but haven’t gotten to it yet – maybe I should.

    1. Tien Post author

      This book generated quite a bit of conversation at work – and the next book was also recommended to me so one day I do plan to read it but not right away, especially since Les Mis is coming right up 🙂

      1. Dee

        yeah, i don’t know if i could cope with 2 big books at once…maybe we could do a buddy read of it after…as a classics break…

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