(Thought I’d post some old reviews on Goodreads here, this is the first book.)
When scrolling down reviews to see if I should pick this book up or not, I felt very compelled to laugh. You’ll see that this book will get either 1 star or 5 stars. So there is no in-between; you’ll either love it or hate it.
And, luckily, I was on the ‘love’-side.
There are so many things I love about this book. First of all, I really liked the writing – simple yet expressive. Follett understands the importance of being understood over exaggerated writing for poetic effect. And I will always be a sucker for multi-p.o.v.
Second, the characters. The heroes of this novel were all so… three-dimensional. Admirable. Character developments aren’t based on things to change about oneself, but your quirks to strengthen. They were all so unique and never acted OOC, therefore they also made mistakes when considering only from their own view and not understanding the others.
We follow the characters for many many years and see them grow and shrink and grow by events and people around them, in such a believable way. I got so invested in their lives that I ended up on a roller-coaster of emotions going through this book. Aliena is probably as well my all-time favorite heroine, I could write you like a 5-page essay on why I love her.
To the plot, I just honestly never knew what to expect. There was so much struggle that once something worked out, I found myself openly cheer (until next problem arouses) so yeah, emotional roller coaster.
I also really love how this novel is set in wartime, but instead of focusing and glorifying the royals and aristocrats, it is the little folk that is the center. The little folk with big dreams.
Now, there are a few problematic things in this book and the first is a very cringe-worthy sex scene in the first chapters in the book after a VERY emotional and upsetting event. Their relationship did feel enforced by the author, but HOLD OUT. Their story is only focused on in the beginning and it becomes so much better.
Another is, of course, the fact that it does have rape scenes, and they’re not exactly sugar-coated. Thought you might be warned in case it may be triggering.
But the ending is also probably my all-time favorite. Ken Follett just tied things so perfectly that I can’t think of anything that’s missing. Everyone got what they deserved. I didn’t go feel all “oh why did it end I want more!!” but no, I was perfectly happy with the ending and actually found myself not wanting anything more from their story. Not that it was bad or boring, oh no. It was because I felt like I had gotten the absolute perfect amount.
But now I can’t wait until I get my hands on the next book…
You Should Read This Book If….
- You want to follow the life of different people
- Not afraid of thick books
- Tired of only getting the perspective of royals in books taking place in Medieval times
- You’re ready to get really emotional
- Want accurate portrayal of women, and women supporting each other
- Love complex characters
- Love to hate the bad guys
You Should Not Read This Book If…
- You’re triggered by portrayal of killing and sexual assault
- You easily give up a book
- Have a hard time liking/relating to characters unless they share most things in common with you