Being in quarantine had one big advantage: after long, long years, I finally had time to read longer books.
Like, really, really long books.
If you’re familiar with Ken Follett’s writing, you might have an idea how long.
Now, I was finally able to read his books again, without any guilt that I should do something else.
I had luck, too: his newest book, the prequel to my all-time favorite The Pillars of the Earth, was published this year.
So… it was the perfect choice for a long quarantine time read!
I was fourteen when my mother put ‘The Pillars of the Earth” in my hands and said it was time for me to read it. I’ll be forever thankful for this. I loved the book, I was hooked, I felt like it was a real masterpiece. I was so happy later that there’s a sequel! I loved “World Without End” even more.
More than a decade later I still have an unrepressable longing to buy all Follett’s books. Unfortunately – or luckily, everyone can decide for themselves – they are all so unbelievably long that after I bring them home, they must sit on the shelf, waiting to be read, but with a work to do and an “adult life” to maintain it’s nearly impossible to find enough time to really get in the mood, and read them without getting disturbed.
There’s no day passing by without me looking at them longingly, praying for a peaceful time when I finally get enough me-time to get through all of them.
Thanks to covid, I finally got this time.
I LOVED this book. Not really a surprise, but still. I loved it.
Follett is a master of story AND character. The characters seem to be real, they’re not black-and-white, they’re every color in the book, they’re believable. The heroes and heroines have a clear sense of moral, but they’re far from perfect, they’re strong and are up for fighting for themselves and others, but they’re never overly confident. They’re smart, but are in harmony with their feelings, too – their decisions are based on both brain and heart. The characters you hate (or love to hate), are also characters whose life’s story you understand. They have desires and motivators, and sometimes nicer feelings, too. All characters are human. They’re people you see everywhere around yourself, put in a story that’s true to the times and events where it’s set.
A story, that’s not a bit less amazing than the characters. Follett’s not afraid of the reality, even though he’s clearly an advocat for justice. What happens, seems to be real. You can imagine that it did indeed happen. It’s never too good or too bad to be true. Bad things happen, then good things happen. You have luck, then you lose everything. But at the end of the day, the characters get comfort in themselves and other human beings. The world is brutal, but there’s always something what’s worth living for. Just like in reality.
I think what makes Follett’s books so good, is that everything is so balanced-out. They deal with everything important, but nothing gets shoved in your face. They’re not character- or story-driven, they’re both.
I had to admit that by reading “The Evening and the Morning” I had s slight feeling that the other two books I read in the series were somehow…a tiny bit more real. More brutal, probably. And I couldn’t get my head around why, because there’s so much graphic brutality in this one, that objectively I can’t put my finger on anything that doesn’t add up with the other volumes. I think it’s probably me. I read the other two as I was in my early teenage years, and I think I’m simply less likely to be shocked now. I’ve seen things from the dark side of life that 14-year-old me could only imagine. But we’re gonna learn that when I go on with the series and re-read The Pillars of the Earth.
The only thing I could a bit uncertainly criticise is that sometimes I had the feeling that the language is a bit too modern. It’s not too distracting, though.
I do say, though, that this book totally lived up to being the prequel to this series. I loved to see how everything started. To be honest, this book turned out to be way more inspiring than I expected. It just makes you want to create something.
Let’s give it a grade!
- Story: 5/5
- Characters: 5/5
- Style: 4/5
- The Subjective Factor: 5/5
- GPA: 4.75
Well, I think I talked about it enough. I expected a lightweight little story about how everything led to building Kingsbridge, but I got way more. This book is definitely a whole, wonderful story in its own right.
If you love historical fiction, but have never read Follett… well, where were you all this time? Do it.
If you read anything written by him… well, then you probably already have this book, too.
Eluveitie, Rose for Epona
As I mentioned above, I plan on reading all the other books in the series. What’s more, I’m thinking about reading some of the other books Follett wrote, because until now, I somehow only read historical fiction written by him.
Have you read this book, or anything else from Ken Follett?
I’m dying to read your opinions!