Sunday, December 19, 2010

World Without End

Before I get down to business, let me give you an idea of what this book is about.

Taking its title from one of the lines in a psalm, 'World Without End' is supposedly the sequel to the marvelousness, that is The Pillars of the Earth by Ken Follett. It tells the story of Kingsbridge town some two centuries later and revolves around the lives of four children - Merthin, Gwenda, Caris and Ralph, from their childhood until 40 years later with many unexpected events occurring in between especially after they witnessed the killing of two knights in the woods by a runaway lord, Sir Thomas Langley to protect a secret that 'could kill everyone'.

Okay, so over the next 1237 pages of the book, you would think that you're going to learn about that dreadful secret, the motive of the killing, some political struggle between monarchs or even know how the secret could affect the town of Kingsbridge, right?


That supposedly-momentous event occurring in the woods is nothing and has absolutely no impact on the storyline. You will read about the killing over the first few pages and at the last few pages.

Absolutely nothing is told in between. No impact, no surprise, no firework, no gasps. No nothing. Prepare for lots of yawning after you've gone through the first 200 pages.

This book really has no main direction. Unlike in The Pillars of the Earth which concerns about the building of a great cathedral with other rising issues in between, World Without End has absolutely no main storyline. Supposedly, the killing in the woods would have to be the main catalyst and spark intriguing questions along the way, but nope, it doesn't happen.

Over its thick pages, it only tells the story of the four main characters, their struggles and conflicts through childhood and eventually adulthood. Yes, there are stories in here but not quite enough to make it a substantial issue for a good read. We'll see how Merthin becomes a builder, Caris becomes a prioress, Gwenda emerged from poverty and Ralph becomes the Earl - but overall, there are no real significance between the characters.

Besides, the characters are too cliche and too similar to that of in The Pillars of the Earth. Merthin is like Jack Builder in The Pillars of the Earth. Caris like Aliena and Ralph like William (who both become the Earl of Shiring. Yawn).

Overall, this book has no right to be a 'sequel' to the first one since both have nothing in common except cross-referencing once or twice which you need not to read the first book to understand. before this, I looked forward to read Ken Follett's latest book but now, I'm not so sure anymore.

For those of you who have read the Pillars of the Earth and itching to read its alleged sequel, World Without End, I suggest you don't. I'd give this one 1.5 stars out of 5.

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