Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Review: World Without End

World Without End is the sequel to Ken Follett's spectacular Pillars of the Earth. Pillars takes place in the 1100s, during the construction of the fictional Kingsbridge cathedral; World takes place 200 years later, also in Kingsbridge, but lacks a single event as a unifying focus.

It is the lack of focus that makes World disappointing. It is entertaining, but a pale shadow of Pillars. The story starts with the need to build a new bridge for Kingsbridge. Roughly the last third of the story is about the plague coming to England. There are ongoing storylines about the conflicts between the honest and hardworking heroes and heroines and the greedy, corrupt, or violent villains.

But it often feels like Book Without End, as the storylines drag on and repetitively on for over 1,000 pages. Pillars was long too, and had plenty of soap opera-like side stories, but was grander in scope and it provided loads of interesting historical information along with an exciting tale. World, on the other hand, feels like a modern story involving characters with very modern sensibilities crammed into a Medieval setting.


If you would like your review of this book posted here, please leave a comment with a link and I will add it.


World Without End counts as my first book for the Tea & Books Challenge (books over 750 pages), as well as one of by books for the following challenges: TBR Pile, Mt. TBR, Off the Shelf, and Chunkster.


  1. I read Pillars a few years ago and loved it, so I have been meaning to read this one ever since. Sounds like maybe I should just skip it though!

  2. This post has reminded me that I really need to read Pillars, although maybe I won't need to bother with this sequel?

  3. Pillars of the Earth was great and I figured I would read World Without End, eventually...But everytime I went to the bookstore, I'd pick it up, stare at it and then put it back on the shelf. No real excitement for the sequel. Glad I went with my gut. Thanks for the heads up.

  4. Follett is an author I feel like I should try yet I feel a little intimidated. This doesn't sound like the book for me.

  5. Lola: Even though I am OCD enough to have to read sequels, series, etc., I could have skipped this one easily.

    Sam: Pillars was great. This one really is a repeat. Other reviewers with more patience than I have explained that even the characters are similar in both books. No need to bother.

    Amber: Go with your gut! So many books to read.

    Kathy: Other than the sheer number of pages, there is nothing intimidating about his books. They are definitely page turners. But this one seemed actually simplistic in a lot of ways.

  6. Book without end is kind of how I felt about the first one (although I never finished it). I do have good intentions to go back to it someday. I have a feeling that if I read it in the right mood I will love it. As for this book though, I'm not sure and will cross that bridge when I get to it. :)

  7. While I agree it was less focused, I liked that in this book (as opposed to Pillars), the bad guy was much more 3-dimensional instead of just pure evil.

  8. Alyce: Both definitely require the right mood and a more than ordinary suspension of disbelief. I thought both were entertaining, but you have to let the story flow on.

    Carin: Good point. The bad priest was more interesting than the bad guy in the first one.


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