Monday, March 5, 2018

5 Reasons You Should Read Pillars of the Earth

A few weeks ago, I found myself in a state that no book person ever expects to find TBR was 0. I had a few 'keep in the back of your head' books I could have picked up but one book had been haunting my Kindle for the last 3 or so years...Pillars of the Earth by Ken Follett. Why has it been haunting my Kindle, you ask? Because its approximately a thousand pages and quite the undertaking. But...I had no other books to read and was in the mood to commit to a thousand page tome of historical fiction. The results? Better than I could have ever imagined.

1. The Story is Sensational
You'd think a story about the building of a cathedral couldn't be anything but dry and dull. Pillars and Ken Follett proves you wrong. For every reason I'm about to list below and so much more, this story is so engaging and amazing that you will be shocked at how quickly you can get through a thousand-page tome. The characters, the drama, the town, the people, the royals, the wars, EVERYTHING that happens keeps you interested and wanting to know more. It is a classic case of just a few more pages that turn into a marathon of reading.

2. The Conflicts are Captivating
 With a story spanning so many pages, the conflicts are many. And while there are multiple times you want to scream at the injustice of the villains, you can't help but keep reading. The drama that comes along with building a cathedral are unreal. Ordinary stuff becomes so intense and compelling that you absolutely cannot help but get sucked into the drama and conflicts. Page-turning obsession is an understatement.

3. The Characters are Compelling
This book starts off and takes a long time to set up the foundation of the main players in our tale and it is so worth it. The drama of the plot I'll talk about shortly, but what really kept me turning the pages was how much I was invested in the characters. Jack, Aliena, Phillip, and Ellen were people you loved and hated, rooted for and rallied against, cried for and yelled at, all within the course of these thousand pages. I love books that do this and it only comes with long-ass books like this. When the character development is so deep, you can both love and hate everyone at one time or another. THIS is what I love about long books and this book in particular.

4. The Setting is Vivid
While Kingsbridge is a fictional town, it's easy to imagine a very real medieval English town and even a present-day cathedral. I recently visited York Minster which gave me so many vivid Pillars feels it was unreal! The mechanics of how they were able to build a building of this caliber and intricacies without our own modern technology is literally magic to me. I loved reading about how they built a building of this stature so long ago. I loved reading about the town politics and how much goes into building and financing how that affects the surrounding towns. There is so much involved I couldn't help by try and picture if similar things happened when, say, Westminster Abbey was built!

5. The Emotions are Poignant
Along with the character development comes the intensity of their conflicts. Because you feel so deeply for all the characters involved, the charge of the conflicts is that much more intense. When things go wrong you feel it as a personal insult, when things go right, a personal triumph. There came a point in the story I texted Hannah BEGGING her to tell me if certain characters ended up okay or what happened with them. Of course, she told me nothing and retroactively I was thankful, at the time I wanted to know all the things. The depth of emotion I felt for these characters was on another level and truly, in my opinion, can only come from books where you see them at their best, worst, and everything in between.

While Pillars--and the sequel World Without End (I haven't read the third yet but am eagerly waiting for my copy)--are not light undertaking in reference to time and commitment, but they are so incredibly worth it. To give you a point of view, I read both books, ~2,000+ pages, in two weeks. I think I finished World Without End in about 5 days. I was a machine because I just had to know what happened and couldn't put them down!

Give these books a chance because if you're a fan of historical fiction and well-written stories, this book is definitely for you!

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