I didn’t time the reading of my challenge books very well this year… I don’t have many books left for my various 2019 reading challenges, but I saved some serious chunksters for December.
Case in point: I was still listening to this 46+ hour audiobook less than a day before my library hold ended, and now I’m racing the Libby app to listen to Don Quixote (36+ hours) before that hold ends. I definitely prefer audio for really big books.
I loved Pillars of the Earth, and I really enjoyed returning to Kingsbridge 200 years later in World Without End. This epic saga takes us through the lives of some of the descendants of the Pillars characters, with a bit less cathedral building and architecture, continuing religious and political intrigue, and the addition of lots and lots of The Plague. 😬
What I love the most about this series is the richness of the characters. The heroes and heroines are not without flaws, and the villains are most villainous but not without traits that made me sympathize for them (just a little bit). I love Caris so much: she’s a woman way ahead of her times, smart and driven. Gwenda, Merthin, Phillipa, and Sir Thomas are great characters. Ralph, Godwyn, and Philemon are deliciously despicable characters that make me feel perfectly ok about rooting for their total demise.
Even among all the big events in these books (and there are plenty of those), Ken Follett is gifted at putting the reader right into day-to-day life for peasants, merchants, nobles, nuns and monks in medieval England. The historical research that he has clearly invested in writing these books makes for an immersive reading experience. This book is long, but it’s definitely not a slog. On the contrary, I found myself fascinated and invested throughout, and was sort of sad when I arrived at the end, much like I felt at the end of Pillars.
I’ve seen mixed reviews about the third book in this series, but I am sure I will at least give it a try. Someday… when I’m not hyper-focused on finishing four yearly challenges before the end of the month. 😂