Sunday, March 15, 2015

Micro Book Review: The Pillars of the Earth

A micro book review? What is that? That's the book review I'm giving after reading only part of the book :D I read both good and bad reviews before I picked up my own copy of The Pillars of the Earth (plot summary can be found at the link), but ... I guess I wasn't actually expecting it to be so bad. (But it's written by a #1 NYT bestselling author! It says so on the cover!) Yeah, well, a lot of people love this book, and that's great, but I did not. Why did I dislike The Pillars of the Earth? I'll tell you!

1. Anachronisms everywhere!
So I'm no scholar. Or historian. By any stretch of the imagination. But I am 99% certain that the people of 12th century Europe did not use our modern slang terms. They probably had words that were equivalent to our slang words, but they were not the same ones, and I bet they were said with far more eloquence! If you're trying to convince me that the people of the 12th century said modern (and often extremely derogatory / inappropriate) words, Follett, ya failed. 

2. Stop with the sex scenes. I BEG YOU. 
All right, I admit I should have expected them to be bad after reading the reviews. That one's on me. But not only did they give waaaaaaaaay too much information, they were mostly unnecessary (at least, the one or two I accidentally came to before shrieking and hypothetically throwing it at the wall). I understand that William is a bad guy, but must you describe in graphic detail all 15 of his rapes? I don't know if there were actually that many, but I wouldn't put it past this book. And Aliena ... No respect for this lassie. None. AT ALL. Or Jack. Or Tom and Ellen. (I don't think I liked anyone in this entire book, actually.) I'm not sure if this was supposed to be a "romance" book, per se, but it certainly read like a dime store romance novelor what I imagine / have heard a dime store romance novel is like.  

3. The characters were so unrealistic that it hurt. 
My main complaint in this category is Aliena. She was raped, quite viciously, by two men when she was younger. And then, when she and Jack fall in love, the first thing she wants to do is jump in bed with him. Hmm. No, I don't think that's quite how it works. Mind you, I didn't read the whole book, so I might have missed something, but ... no nightmares? No version of post-traumatic stress? Nothin'? ARGH.

(Plus the spelling of her name seriously makes me think of little green men every time I look at it!) 

4. The narration styles and sentence structure.
These also hurt. Deeply. "Tom did this. Philip didn't like that. Jack felt sad. Aliena was happy to see Jack." Some of the sentences were more soundly constructed than others, but typically they were short, choppy, and devoid of all emotion. Showing instead of telling is a thing, Follett, I promise. The descriptions of the cathedral were detailed and exposed extensive research (I assume; I don't know anything about 12th century cathedrals), but other than that, I have no kind words for the narration styles / sentence structure. 

There you have it—my micro book review. Advice to anyone reading this: don't bother. The mini series is vastly superior, although I had my complaints about it, too. *sigh* If you want a wholesome historical romance novel, try Francine Rivers' The Mark of the Lion series or Redeeming Love. Arrivederci, lovely people! :) 

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