The Pillars of the Earth - Ken Follett After hearing so many good things about this book and waiting so long to read it, I have to say it was a disappointment. I didn't think it was horrible, but it wasn't good either. Story and writing were mediocre. Some descriptions call this an "epic", but I wouldn't go so far. Simply a long book does not an epic make, and so much of the plot involved predictable back-and-forth between the "good guys" and the "bad guys". There was very little break in the pattern there.

And for a historical fiction, the writing also bothered me. Every few pages would be something else in the prose -- like a word, or a term -- that would jolt me out of the immersion and make me forget I'm supposed to be following these characters in Medieval Europe. The author uses some modern sayings and words like "weird" inappropriately for this era, and at one point uses the euphemism "down there" to describe a woman's private parts. It made me think I was reading something written by a 13-year-old kid.

Also, the writing is completely unsubtle. There is a lot of "telling" and not much "showing" as each character's every emotion and thought in his or her head is described in straightforward detail. I just felt it was very unnecessary.

I understand that this book was written more than 20 years ago. But I've also read many novels -- especially historical fiction -- over the years since, and this is no where near the best. Perhaps the bar is higher, or I just have more expectations. I am, however, curious to read the sequel to see if I'll still feel the same about Follett's storytelling and writing, since it just came out recently. From the page count, it looks like it's another large tome though, so I'll be taking a break before tackling it.