June 9, 2013

Pillars of the Earth and World Without an End

One year ago, my husband introduced me to books on tape by audible. My life was changed forever! Back in the olden days, pre-baby and pre-housework, I had time to read and finish books. Now, I'm lucky if I am able to read a chapter or two per night. However, on a positive note Lucas's ever growing love for books does ensure that I read "Go, Go, Cars" and "Dig, Dig, Digging."  

I recently finished listening to "Pillars of the Earth" and "World Without an End" by Ken Follett. Each novel is approximately forty hours long and took several weeks to complete. "World Without an End" was written as a sequel to "Pillars of the Earth." However, the novels (in my humble opinion) could be read in any order, or stand alone as individuals.

The novels take place in the fictional town of Kingsbridge, England.  In "Pillars of the Earth," Follett weaves together a 12th century narrative surrounding the events of the building of the Kingsbridge Cathedral during a time when England was in a civil war. One hundred and fifty-seven years later, "World Without End" takes place. The novel incorporates the start of the Hundred Years' War between England and France and the Black Plague.

I read "Pillars of the Earth" first, and I'm glad that I did. It had a better story, the characters were interesting, and I liked how the author used the building of the Kingsbridge Cathedral as a framing device. The first half of "World Without an End" was too similar to "Pillars of the Earth." However, towards the second half of the novel things start to pick up when the black plague hits Kingsbridge. Compared to "Pillars," the character development isn't as good in "World Without an End." 

Overall, I'd give "Pillars of the Earth" 9 out of 10. And "World Without an End" an 7 out of 10. 

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