So I've been reading Ken Follett's "Fall of Giants," and I am enjoying it. I tried to have a conversation with my husband about it the other day and I got the usual "uh huh, uh huh, yup" responses of someone not nearly as excited about books as I am. So I'm going to blog about it instead.
I read Follett's other histories and LOVED them. "Pillars of the Earth" was AMAZING and I highly recommend it to everyone. You can just tell from reading it that Follett was having a great time writing it. His abundant research and love of architecture was apparent in the details and through the characters he created. The sort-of-sequel he wrote after was also very good. Perhaps not as amazing as the original, but still very well done.
So I obviously had high hopes for this history and have been slightly let down. I'm still inhaling the book (my term for reading as often and as quickly as possible) but Follett's love just isn't there this time. He's trying to write an epic, but to me it just feels a bit rushed and a bit too broad. The story is about the outbreak of World War One and encompasses characters and story lines from England (upper and lower class characters), Russia, Germany and the United States. It also works into the story line, women's suffrage in Britain, unions and the unfair treatment of the lower class, a Russian immigrant to the US and othe Russian mob, and the Bolshevik Revolution in Russia that led to the Russian Civil war. It's quite an undertaking, I have to give Follett credit for the magnitude of what he is accomplishing with this book. Unfortunately, in my humble opinion, the massive scope is compromising what I enjoyed so much about the other histories, the storyline and the characters. The characters are very diverse, but they just feel a bit empty at times. Their speech is too scripted. This character must say this at this time to move the story forward. A bit disappointing.
With all that said, I'm still enjoying the book. It's filled with information, insight, love stories, action and politics. I'm not sure he could pack anything else in there! Well, maybe some dragons, but I think that would change the storyline a bit much...but I am a sucker for dragons.
Do you hear that Ken Follett? In the second installment in this series please include some dragons. For me. Please?