This book was disappointing ultimately. I had read so many glowing reviews from friends that I guess I went in expecting more than I got. There are aspects of it that I love, aspects that I hate, and overall it leaves me with a sad, frustrated disappointment that a good story and cast of characters was so terribly written (actually I think it was an editing problem). That said, John Lee is an excellent narrator and I enjoyed listening to him read to me for the weeks it took me to finish this too long novel.
It started out badly, when it turns out the first part was actually the fourth part. I don't know if that was my mistake or what, but when I got to the fourth part I quickly realized that I had already listened to it all. And then my confusion at the weird transition from part one to part two made more sense. That was not the first clue that there were problems with this book, although that I managed to keep up with the story even having missed 9 hours of listening and out of sequence is telling.
My main issue with the book is the tedious retelling of events. I believe that if the recapping that was so plentiful had been edited out, the book would have been much, much better and half as long. It was annoying to be retold events that I had already read and had recapped several other times.
On the positive side, I did enjoy the overall story. I really came to love Prior Phillip, especially.
There's no way to give a 1/2 star on this site, but my actual rating is more like 2.5 stars.
Do I recommend the novel? I can't, sad to say.
this is totally not the kind of book i read. I like romantic books. A lady in town who knows i like to read gave me this book and said it is a "must read" no matter what kind of book you normally like. So i started it.... I have 4 boys and not a lot of time to read, needless to say 2 days later and hours of lost sleep i finished it. I have NEVER been so enthralled and taken in by a story. I have since seen the 8 part mini series, and it is great movie wise (they had to change it a bit right?) but anyone who has read a book and seen the movie will understand when i say YOU MUST READ IT, to do it justice. Let me just say that if you are even going so far as to check reviews get this book, you need it already. The narrator is great too. I read it myself first and then got this version and i was equally happy. Please read this book either yourself for through audible, you will not regret it!!!!!!!!
I fell in love with this story. I bought the book for my brother and downloaded the audible for my mother. This is probably one of the best books I have ever read.
I am not one to write reviews but this has been one of my favorite audiobooks. From beginning to end it was captivating. I would suggest to anyone and everyone, don't pass up this audiobook!
Well written and it held by my interest throughout. I also enjoyed the narrator. I enjoyed learning about the art and history of cathedral building, and the general overview of this era in British history.
I first read this book in hard-cover nearly 20 years ago, and was compelled due the recent mini-series based on it to get the audio version. I loved it then and still love it. It is one of my favorite books. Yes, it is long. Yes, there are some archetypal figures -- the underdog who makes good, the evil bishop, the salt-of-the-earth mason, the "princess" brought low who fights back. Some claim it isn't true "historical fiction". Well, not if you compare to something like the "The Killer Angels". Instead it is a more a good story set in the backdrop of historical events and at a certain period of history. You learn a bit about the history of the The Anarchy, but that is merely the setting. Some claim it is too romantic, and I have never found that to be the case. There is romance to be sure, but I am hardly a fan that genre and have never viewed it as the pervading theme. There are even those that claim the book lacks morality, either due to the violent depicted or the author's proclaimed lack of faith. I disagree. It was a violent age and depictions of it only underscore what was common then. As for the author’s faith, it doesn’t matter. Follett has given us a many moral and admirable figures (even as a non-Catholic, I wish I knew a clergyman as wise and devout as Prior Philip).
This is a story that anyone could relate to. True the characters are very clearly drawn for the most part. But is their struggles through life in what to us is a primitive period is what is compelling. It is historical fiction, but it also draws on our 20th-21st century sensibilities. There are brutal depictions of torture, violence and rape, but not for gratuitousness. It serves to show the fragility of life and hardships that those in that age had to endure. I can only imagine the hardships my own ancestors had to endure 900 years ago in order for me to be here today.
At its core, Pillars is about people and survival. The good. And the bad. They exist in any age. S
Do not pay attention to the reviews giving this book one and two stars. This book was very very good. This was my second Follett book (A Dangerous Fortune) and I have loved both of them. While it is very long at over 40 hours I found that it went quickly and I wanted to listen at every chance I had. I am looking forward to grabbing another one of his very soon. Cliff Lee is a marvelous narrator; he brings the characters to life like no one I have ever heard.
This book is a finely crafted epic that weaves its way thru the Dark Ages in an interesting and smart way, informing us, enlightening us, and entertaining us. The author weaves the story of three generations of ordinary people accomplishing extraordinary things, most notably building a cathedral and establishing a town, where none before existed. As an architect, I found the building techniques accurate and well detailed. The author illuminated for me the behind the scenes workings of construction projects of the time, which are humorously similar to some of situations today's builing projects face. The pace of the book never dragged for me, although it is very long; one should consider the time investment required to finish it. The narrator was a perfect fit and did well with the terms and accents. I highly recommend this book to all mature listeners. I think I'll try another Follett offering to see how it compares since I so enjoyed this one.
Ripping yarn, but the story doesn't lend itself to listening. Would be more enjoyable as a good, long read.