Fall of Giants, a review

IT IS FINALLY DONE!!! This huge book took me 1139 days to read, starting in January of 2019 and not finishing until February of 2022!! Now I did take at least a year long break in the middle, but still. That’s a bit of a ridiculous amount of time for me to get through Fall of Giants by Ken Follett.

This is a historical fiction that starts not long before the First World War broke out. We follow a large number of POVs from various locations, Wales, London, Germany, France, Russia, and the US. Not exactly all over the world (and a penny chew to whoever guesses first the race of every one of these characters) but from some varying viewpoints non-the-less.

It was really interesting to learn a little more about WWI in this way, it’s clearly a well researched book by Follett and it was genuinely interesting. This historical accuracy throughout this really saved the day for me, for the war itself, as well as events around it.

Something that I can’t avoid, however, is just how strong the male gaze was in this book. I’ve not read a book that was so clearly written by a man in a long while and it was difficult to adjust to this. There was actually some interesting and nuanced discussions around women gaining the vote, so it’s not that the writing itself was sexist. But every sex scene and interaction between men and women was just so clearly written for the male gaze and so obviously didn’t have any influence from any women.

In CAWPILE I rated this: Characters: 6, Atmosphere: 6, Writing: 6, Plot: 8, Intrigue: 7, Logic: 8, and Enjoyment: 7, which gives a score of 6.86 and a rating of 3.5*.

It’s not the highest rating, I know, but I do still want to continue with this series. Book 2 is based around WWII and book 3 around the Cold War. I think I could learn quite a bit from both of these and fingers crossed the representation of the female characters will be better.

Highlight here for trigger warnings: alcohol, death, family rejection, misogyny, murder, sexual content, sexual assault, rape, war.

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