April 17, 2021

Book Review: 'The Evening and the Morning' by Ken Follett (and a giveaway)

I completely forgot that today is Saturday and I was supposed to make a heritage recipe to post tonight. I've been trying to stick to a blogging schedule because I like the routine. However, I got NO sleep last night (my forearm and hand were super painful and I finally gave up trying to sleep). I've been kind of in a fog all day and I totally forgot about cooking a heritage recipe. But anyway, I finished my April book pick for the Friends Read-athon that I am participating in, so I thought I'd give a quick review.

When I "review" a book, I don't like to post spoilers, and I don't necessarily like to post a lot of details about what the book is about (because you can read the book descriptions online for all of that), so this is going to be a brief summary of my thoughts about it.

The theme for April was, "Could I BE more excited?" (read in Chandler's voice from Friends). We were to pick a book that was highly anticipated.

I had been very excited to read a prequel to my all-time favorite book: 'The Pillars of the Earth', by Ken Follett. There are four books in the series--here they are in chronological order:

- 'The Evening and the Morning'  (around 1000 CE)
- 'The Pillars of the Earth'  (the mid-1100's CE)
- 'World Without End'  (the mid 1300's CE)
- 'A Column of Fire'  (the mid-1500's CE)

'The Evening and the Morning' was the most recent book that was written, so that is the book that I was looking forward to reading. Here is the description from the publisher (it REALLY doesn't do it justice, though):

"It is 997 CE, the end of the Dark Ages. England is facing attacks from the Welsh in the west and the Vikings in the east. Those in power bend justice according to their will, regardless of ordinary people and often in conflict with the king. Without a clear rule of law, chaos reigns.

In these turbulent times, three characters find their lives intertwined: A young boatbuilder's life is turned upside down when the only home he's ever known is raided by Vikings, forcing him and his family to move and start their lives anew in a small hamlet where he does not fit in. . . . A Norman noblewoman marries for love, following her husband across the sea to a new land. But the customs of her husband's homeland are shockingly different, and as she begins to realize that everyone around her is engaged in a constant, brutal battle for power, it becomes clear that a single misstep could be catastrophic. . . . A monk dreams of transforming his humble abbey into a center of learning that will be admired throughout Europe. And each in turn comes into dangerous conflict with a clever and ruthless bishop who will do anything to increase his wealth and power."

All three books are able to stand alone--you don't need to read them as a series. Each book is VERY long--between 900 and 1100 pages--so it's a time commitment. But they move relatively quickly. 'The Pillars of the Earth' was my favorite, but I have to say that if I was going to recommend one to someone who is interested in the series, I'd say to read 'The Evening and the Morning' first.

I say this because there isn't as much detail about things that many people may not find interesting--for example, in 'The Pillars of the Earth', a major part of the story is about a man who is building a cathedral. The book is very detailed about the specs of the cathedral and how it's put together. I can see why people would lose interest in that. (But don't let that stop you from reading it! If a book doesn't capture my attention quickly and hold it throughout, I'm done--I would rather quit reading and find a different book. And reading about the cathedral was surprisingly interesting to me, for some reason!))

'The Evening and the Morning' felt lighter. I was able to keep track of the characters easily and the story moved quickly. And if you read this one and enjoy it, I am sure you'll enjoy the others as well.

I think what I love so much about these books is the appalling injustice throughout. It's infuriating to read about the things that the characters get away with (laws and punishments were handled much differently back in the middle ages). When a book makes me get all wound up, it's a powerful book. I found myself telling Jerry every so often, "You won't believe this!" and then telling him what just happened in the story.

If you like books that bring out all of the emotions inside of you, this series will do it. It's the perfect combination of shock, suspense, fury, romance, humor, violence, drama, action, and education all in one book.

I write about these books as a set mainly because they are very similar. This is something that I noticed a lot of reviews criticized. It's almost like a cookie cutter plot (with the exception of 'A Column of Fire'--that was a bit different); the characters between books have the same basic personalities/agendas/love stories/etc. The details of the plot are different, but you could almost swap out the names from one book with those of another and they'd be the same characters.

Because of this, if you have read one of the books, the others are extremely predictable. You'll already know things like: who gets punished and who gets away with murder (literally); who wants the girl and who the girl is actually interested in; and things like that.

That didn't bother me at all, because I LOVED the other books so much that I don't mind the predictability. There is still so much going on in the plot that you don't know--it was suspenseful when it needed to be.

Sorry for the vague review of this book--but it would be impossible to write a basic plot summary because it's anything but basic. Final thoughts: I loved it. I highly recommend it for anyone who has read and enjoyed 'The Pillars of the Earth'. I also recommend it for anyone who is looking for a very emotional and gripping epic to read!

Like I did with last month's book, I'm going to hold a giveaway for a copy of 'The Evening and the Morning'... (this is not sponsored--I just loved the book and I want to share it!). This giveaway is for a Kindle copy of the book--you don't have to own a Kindle, but you do need to download the Kindle app in order to read it.

To enter, just fill out the form below and I'll use Random.org to select a winner. I'll email you to let you know you won, and I'll gift it to your email address. The book is here on Amazon, if you are looking to buy it (affiliate link).

No comments:

Post a Comment

I used to publish ALL comments (even the mean ones) but I recently chose not to publish those. I always welcome constructive comments/criticism, but there is no need for unnecessary rudeness/hate. But please--I love reading what you have to say! (This comment form is super finicky, so I apologize if you're unable to comment)

Featured Posts

Blog Archive