The Pillars of the Earth by Ken Follett, a review (Kingsbridge #1)

The Pillars of the Earth by Ken Follett is a huge book, coming in at over 1000 pages in my paperback edition. I had been intimidated by this book for a fair few years (I’ve had it since 2018) and me and Kari decided that buddy reading this one was the way to go.

The Pillars of the Earth by Ken Follett

Well I am so glad that we did because wow I would not have finished this without Kari! Whilst I can see why others might find enjoyment in this book, it was very much not for me.

Don’t be mistaken before you start this book, it is about building a cathedral. The characters and any other plot/world event is just background to the main course of the book. It seems to be incredibly well researched, and I now know more about cathedral building in Western Europe in the 12th century than I ever thought I would (never complain about learning something new!). Whilst this is interesting, I hadn’t expected just how much depth Follett was going to go into. Not bad necessarily, just really unexpected.

There are also scenes of intense violence, both generic violence and against women specifically. I don’t use content warnings personally (although I always provide them) but me and Kari checked that each other were okay after a certain scene. Yeah. That bad. Additionally, the same as my thoughts on Fall of Giants, Follett does a bad job of writing women. He means well, but he doesn’t succeed in portraying these characters as realistic women.

The interweaving of historical events through this book was incredibly interesting, and I’m very curious what was altered for literatures sake and what is accurate to the time. I do think that this part of the book was done well but unfortunately it wasn’t enough to save the book with the rest of the issues.

On CAWPILE I rated this: Characters: 3, Atmosphere: 4, Writing: 2, Plot: 4, Intrigue: 4, Logic: 5, Enjoyment: 1, giving an average of 3.29 and a 2* rating.

Highlight here for content warnings: rape, sexual violence, sexual assault, murder, death of parent, animal death, bullying, misogyny, physical, domestic and emotional abuse, torture, adult/minor relationship, animal cruelty, body shaming, paedophilia, body horror, child abuse, suicidal thoughts, abandonment.

This book… Is one I’m glad is over. And it has definitely put me off from finishing the Centuries trilogy or anything else by Follett. He puts a lot of research and effort into his books, but I feel like they’re just not for me.

Air Awakens by Elise Kova, a review (Air Awakens #1)

Air Awakens by Elise Kova is a book I was challenged to read by Princess from Castle Library as a part of my 12 books in 12 months challenge for 2022. Without that, I don’t think this book would have been on my radar. Maybe that would’ve been a good thing…

Air Awakens by Elise Kova

In this book we have a young woman/girl who works in the palace library. She’s lucky to have this job, and loves being around the books. There’s also magic in this world, sorcerer’s aren’t exactly accepted in society, but the power they have and how it helps the country in the war they’re fighting means they are feared and respected. But our main character is enticed into this magical world after saving the life of a prince. And her life is about to be altered forever.

Unfortunately, this just wasn’t the book for me. The plot concept was really interesting. I enjoyed learning about the different powers, how they were linked to locations, and which ones were rare and which were common. But it was such a minor part of the book that was barely explored.

Instead, the main part of the book was the ridiculous, pining, totally inappropriate, romance. I was rolling my eyes listening to this and speeding up the audio as much as I could just to get through the damn thing! It’s all so over the top, ridiculous, and I really just could not be arsed to listen to this girl whine over this bloke. No thank you. This is definitely the main part of the book, if that’s your vibe then you should totally enjoy this one and I really hope that you do! But it really isn’t for me.

On CAWPILE I rated this: Characters: 3, Atmosphere: 3, Writing: 2, Plot: 3, Intrigue: 2, Logic: 3, Enjoyment: 1. Giving an average of 2.43 and a 2* rating. My lowest rated book so far this year.

Highlight here for content warnings: death, physical abuse, fire, gore, injury, confinement, violence, classism, child death, torture, toxic relationship, police brutality, kidnapping, grief, death of parent, gaslighting, war, adult/minor relationship, xenophobia.

Overall? This one ain’t for me, and despite being curious about the war in the world and the possible worldbuilding, I highly doubt I’ll be carrying on with this without outside motivation because I just cannot deal with reading something like that again. Definitely one for those who enjoy more romance in their books!