Pillars, was extraordinary, absolutely extraordinary. Follett created some of the most memorable characters I've ever "met". I never despised, physically, with every fiber of my being despised, a character(s) as much as I did the Hamleigh's, especially William. And I don't think I've ever fallen quite in love with a character before, as much as I did Aliena. Brilliantly crafted and hit on every emotion a human can experience.
Segway that review into my 2nd Follett book, Fall of Giants (FoG). FoG is a beautiful, fact-laden, historical fiction work of bart (book-art). It is hands down the best historical fiction book I've ever read. Follett researched, with painstaking details of historical facts and wove a compelling, emotional hijacking, tale of history; war; love; human atrocities; human spirit and tenacity; familia bonds, and world politics. I can not rec this book enough. Having said that, this book was tame in comparison to Winter of the World (WoW).
WoW was all of what FoG was, but on heroin laced crack. By that I mean, every description of FoG would be intensified by 1000. It was the most emotional hijacking book I've ever read, EVER. I've never had a book that I absolutely loved, with every part of my booky-being, that also made me physically ill. I seriously had to have a drink of booze after some scenes. I'm not fu(king about when I say this. It was such a gut-wrenching punch in the face, kick to the nerps, emotional roller coaster of a novel.
This book marks the 5th longest book I've read, with the following as the top 4 longest: The Count of Monte Cristo (1276pgs); The Stand (1153pgs); FoG (1000pgs); Pillars (976pgs), respectively. These 5 books just happen to rank highest in my coveted "Books to Read Before You Die Sexxily" list. I think they rank so high, besides the fact they're all bloody brilliant, because the authors took their time to write not just a story, but an adventure. Compelling reads that not only captivate the mind of the reader, but their body and soul. They created characters that become so familiar that you hurt when they hurt, cry when they are sad or some tragic misfortune befalls them, you laugh raucously when something inane or whimsical is said or happens, you hate, with fierce intensity, the bad guys and get extremely irate at villainous acts of evil, you become so capsulized in these "people's" lives that you feel everything. I honestly could go on forever with how much I loved WoW, and it's characters, but my limited feeble words, could never do it the justice it deserves. While I read this bart, I had posted mini-reviews, (in my Facebook Book Club). So with every end of a reading session, I posted a mini-review on it. The following excerpts are from those mini-reviews. I will end this particular section by saying this, if you don't read Folletts' Pillars, FoG, WoW, before you submit to the Grim Reaper, you will leave this plane of existence, unfulfilled. As a bookie, these books are MUST reads.
*** I took care not to give away too much when I posted my mini-reviews, but...WARNING THERE WILL BE SPOILERS***
Mini-reviews of WoW, from JaSexxy's Book Club for Sexxy Bookies (the date at the end of each mini-review is the date of when I posted it). The names, Sonia, Melissa, and Chris, are all friends of mine that did a read-along for WoW. I also did a read-along with Sonia & Melissa for Pillars, & FoG:
• Started WoW, and WOW! I love that Follett lists the cast characters in the beginning, lots of our faves (and not so faves) from FoG, and lots of new characters, including children from our fave couples. Starts up in 1933 with Maud & Walter, that's all I'm saying, they have 2 kids now, Walter works at the Reichstag (the German parliament that oppose the up and coming Nazi party), and Maud works at a newspaper, that also opposes the Nazi party, but that's all I'm saying! (Jan.31)
Just finished chap.1 of WoW... FUUUUUUUUUUCCCCCCKKKKKKKKing HELL!! (Jan.31)
• Determined to finish chap.3 before the Super Bowl starts (Feb.3)
WoW update: Just finished chap.2. Poor Daisy! Fuggin Lev man, still a jerkwad ahole. Sonia Cruz y Melissa Harris, where you at?? (Feb.3)
• WoW update: Finished chap.3 last night. Bloody hell there was a tense scene in London's East End. But this chap ended on a somewhat high note. It's amazing to me how Follett can keep track of all his characters without confusing the reader. And how much depth he gives each character to affect the reader. George R.R. Martin did not do a good job with that in his Game of Thrones series. I'm bout a quarter way through WoW and have not been disappointed yet. I'm 716pgs from the end, and I am already dreading it being over. (Feb.4)
WoW update: Just finished chap.4. FUUUUUUUUCCCCCCKKKKKING HELL! So intense and insane. And infuriating! Grrrrrr <--see! Four chapters in and we really don't get much on Billy and his fam, and his son is a rock star, but is only in it sparingly and then, well, FUUUUUUUUCCCCCCKKKKKING HELL! This book is gonna be the death of me. Or make me an alchy, well, more of one anyway. Melissa & Sonia, where the fugg are you two in the book so far? (Feb.4)
• WoW update: Just finished chap.5.I. Holy figgy flop! This shizz is insane! I'm all stressed out. This book is so amazingly good. How one can read it and not be affected by it, is beyond me. Rich in historical fact and dynamic fiction, this book has you going through every emotion known to the human being. It draws you in and sets you down in these characters lives and you as if you are in that setting and that you are intimately close to every person. I can't wait to start Part Two: A Season of Blood tomorrow. Hope you all are reading something as enjoyable as I am. Stay Booked! Happy Reading! (Feb.5)
Bloody hell my grammar was atrocious on this. Meant to say: How one can read it and not be affected by it, is beyond me. Rich in both historical fact and dynamic fiction, this book has you going through every emotion known to the human being. It draws you in and sets you down in these characters lives and makes you feel as if you are in the setting and that you are intimately close to every person.
• "He was the pillow she put her cheek on. He was the towel with which she patted her breasts when she got out of the bathtub. He was the knuckle she put in her mouth and sucked thoughtfully. How could she have ignored him for four years? The love of her life appeared before her, at the Trinity Ball, and she had noticed only that he appeared to be wearing someone elses dress clothes! Why had she not taken him in her arms and kissed him and insisted they get married immediately?" (Feb.6)
WoW update: Ehrmahgawd! Just finished Part II: A Season of Blood - 1940 pt.I & II. All kinds of craziness happening! German's invading France, Lloyd in the thick of it, Erik Von Ulrich makes you sick, then gives you hope, then makes you mad; Teresa pops back in for a minute; Daisy becomes super awesome, and more shocking revelations with the fictional characters and more engrossing historical facts unfold. I'm almost 50% through this and I'm having anxiety about not wanting to stop reading, but not wanting it to end either. Such is the dilemma with great reads. Can't wait to delve back in tomorrow! Night night bookmites! (Feb.6)
• It's Friday! You know what that means... It's FReading Friday! Making up words is fun.
I think I know what's gonna happen with certain characters. I have a feeling Carla von Ulrich is gonna end up with Werner and Erik von Ulrich is going to turn Werner in for being anti-Nazi. I could be completely wrong about this but that's what my book gut is telling me. (Feb.10)
WoW update: Finished Part II, chap.VIII, 1941.I. That was a brutal section to get through. I've read of the Nazi atrocities, and accounts from Jews that escaped. It appalled and disgusted me when I read it then, as it does reading it now. Pure fu(king concentrated evil they were. It sickens me to know this went on and how blindly and ignorantly people followed it. I've become emotionally invested in these characters lives and because of it, I feel the raw emotions they feel. Yes, it is only a book, and these are fictitious characters, but the events were very real. We lose a major character in this chap, one of my fave characters in FoG and in WoW. Very very sad moment. I've gotten as far as chap.VIIII, 1941.II.III. I will resume tomorrow. Need to decompress from the last chapter first. (Feb.10)
**Comments to this post**
**Chris: I had to put it down at this point too. He was one of my Favs and it was very emotional. It only gets worse however if you can believe that
**Jason (me): Yeah I can imagine how much worse it's going to get. That fuggin "hospital" in Akelberg, fugg man. I read about those years ago, but having this emotional connection to these characters, though they are fictitious, makes it that more emotional.
I have a feeling Chuck is gonna be off'd. He's in the navy, in Hawaii, pretty much sums that up. And I just know Erik von Ulrich is gonna turn on his fam or friends, or both. I actually just finished 1941.II. It was tame. I think Follett knew he had to put something lighter after 1941.I. I'll start 1941.III tomorrow.
**Sonia: Arg you are making me emotional at work. I am going to dread getting to that chapter. I get a horrible feeling in the pit of my stomach.
• WoW update: Fu(k. Just finished 1941.IV. Fu(k. I have very rarely, maybe once or twice, cried during a movie, and I've probably cried three times reading a book, well now four times. I didn't cry cry, but I teared up and felt the gut wrenching pain of overwhelming sadness, agony, grief, anger, and heartache. The attack on Pearl Harbor was devastating to read and the loss of a character I liked, all combined to make my heart break and my eyes well up with tears. This book drags your emotions over hot coals and broken glass then douses you with lemon juice. Despite that, it is so well written that despite the horrors of this world and these true events, you are compelled to keep reading. Keep going cause there has to be hope, there has to be redemption, there has to be healing. And as history dictates there will be, and that drives the reader to keep going, to endure it all alongside these characters that the reader has bonded with. It's become a personal journey that one cannot escape, but must be strong enough to continue until they've reached the end. Bloody brilliant novel. (Feb.16)
• WoW update: Man oh man this book is rough. Finished 1942.I & 1942.II.
The former was the retelling of the battle of Midway (with a brief stopover in Britain to Daisy. A small time character gets offed). Follett writes in a way that has the reader utterly stressed beyond control. The fight scenes are highly intense and even though you know the outcome (it's history), you have no idea if the characters you have come to know and love, will live or die.
The latter, 1942.II, takes us back to Germany and the Von Ulrich family where another scene of suspense and tension is laid out for us (with a brief stopover in Russia to Volodya & Zoya, which ties into the German scene with the Von Ulrich's). I can't say much without spoiling it, but fuggggg, my whole body was tense. I'm gonna need a massage, therapy and lots of booze when I'm done with this book. I love it! (Feb.17)
• "She had believed that love was something she could bestow upon whomever she liked, and that her main responsibility was to choose cleverly. Now she knew that was all wrong. Cleverness had nothing to do with it, and she had no choice. Love was an earthquake." ~Follett-Winter of the World~ (Feb.19)
"He had little experience of kissing girls-and none of kissing mature women of eighteen-but he liked the feel of her soft mouth so much that he moved his lips against hers in little nibbling motions that gave him exquisite pleasure, and he was rewarded by hearing her moan quietly." ~Follett-Winter of the World~ (Feb.19)
WoW update: Just finished 1942.III. This was a tamer chap, but only by a smidgen. It was all focused on Greg Peshkov, who I've come to like. He has a great moment of defying, and turning the tables on his ahole father, Lev, then some interaction with Jacky Jakes, shocker moment. A very tense moment during the early stages of the Manhattan Project. This chap ends with a bit of a surprise, and not a bad one. I'm 73% done and I am dreading every page that takes me closer to the end. I want to stay in these people's lives longer; enjoy there joys, hurt when they hurt, cry when they are sad, get angry at the injustice & horrors they endure. It's like they are an intricate part of my life and I don't want to let go. Such a bloody brilliant book. (Feb.19)
• WoW update: Frickity Frick! Just finished 1943.I & 1943.II.
1943.I was spent in Britain focusing on Daisy and Boy, who just becomes a bigger wanker nob. Some really good moments that I won't share and ruin, and some really frustrating moments that make ya angry.
1943.II is spent in Germany with Carla, Werner, and that icehole Macke. Lots of tense moments in this chap. Ends wonderfully though! Started 1943.III but I'm fading and need to try and capitalize on some sleep. I'm only 204pgs from the end. I'm anxious to see how things unfold for everyone, but I dread coming to the end. Oh books, you wonderful wonderful torturer! Stay Booked. Happy Reading! (Feb.20)
• OMSJ! I am sitting at Jiffy Lube waiting on my car, and just finished WoW: 1943.III. I'm sitting here with my eyes welled up with tears. This is such a heart wrenching book. Jayzus, I need a drink. (Mar.1)
• Melissa y Sonia, the end of 1945.I, have booze handy, lots of it. Fucking hell. I knew it was coming, but still, fucking hell. (Mar.21)
**Side note: you'll notice I've gone from spelling curse words with symbols, to just fucking cursing. That's how powerful this book is**
WoW update: It's been awhile since I've updated, mainly b/c I had taken a break from reading it. I just wrapped up 1945.I & 1945.II.
1945.I was intense and emotional. I felt nauseated and disgusted with the human race at the end of it. 1945.II was not much better and I broke out in goose bumps at the part the U.S. bombs Hiroshima & Nagaski. That chapter at least ended on a more pleasant note, but you get the feeling of a devastating future plot line with the Peshkov clan. Fucking hell is all I can say. And now I need to try and sleep after this?! Fucking hell...(Mar.21)
• WoW update: Just wrapped up 1945.III & 1946 & started 1947. Nothing emotionally jolting, thank Zeus, but still some fu(kity fu(k moments. I'm only 39pgs from finishing, and I'm torn, as I am with all great books, with that mixture of exaltation of coming to the end and a wrapping up (of sorts since technically this is a trilogy so there will be no "wrapping up" per se) the story, and the undeniable dread and anxiety of not wanting it to end. I am happy I will have finished reading this before I move. Idt I could wait too much longer to know what happens. I only wish book 3, provisionally titled 'Edge of Eternity' was coming out this year instead of next. Though, it may be best, since it will give me time to recover from this book. (Mar.24)
• WoW update: Finished. Bloody hell. XXX rating. I need a drink and a therapist.
It was an amazing book. Emotionally draining, but fuggin amazing. (Mar.26)
**Comments to this post**
**Sonia: I just got through the battle of midway.. Oh the stress! I woke up with a mild headache.
**Jason: So stressful!
**Melissa: I'm trying to catch up! About 55% through...
**Jason: Oh it gets so much worse from there Mel
**Melissa: So stock up my liquor cabinet and line up my therapy appts right now?
**Melissa: "you mean that there are Chinese pansies?" "well, what the hell...at least you're not a republican"
**Jason: I love that quote!! I have it written down. Lol.
**Sonia: I am hoping to finish it up i am on page 499.
**Jason: 499? Mine was like 940pgs
**Sonia: No I am on page 499. Total page on the nook version is 738.
**Melissa: I have the day off so I've been sitting out in the back yard with the dogs, reading. It's a gorgeous day, so relaxing....and then I read the Pearl Harbor part.
**Sonia: Ugh ... The stress of reading that part.
**Melissa: The visualization of the sailors trying to hold on as the ships sank. And poor Woody. Heart-wrenching.
**Sonia: Oh it killed me to read that!
**Jason: Poor Woody :(
I teared up when his bf talked to Woody's mom, what's her name? My memory sucks. Rita?
**Sonia: I thought it was Rose my memory sucks too
**Jason: Something with an R for sure. Lol
**Sonia: LOL,,,, that is all I remember that its with an R, will i check and report back!
**Jason: That's it!! We were both close
**Melissa: Wtf?? Did Chuck die??!!
**Melisaa: Psychiatric patients being taken away by the SS. The mad leading the mad.
**Sonia: It really is disgusting! And Maude surprised me.
**Melissa: Oh my gosh, me too! Carla rocks though.
**Jason: Yeah how heartbreaking was the scene when Eddie goes to Rosa. And the scene before it.
**Jason: Mel... Wait, it gets worse. Poor Carla.
**Jason: Sonia... Are you done yet?
**Sonia: Sometimes I slow the pace of reading scared of what the SS is going to do. Carla is awesome and brave with what she has seen she could of stood back and done nothing out of fear but instead she pushes forward. It's reminds me of a documentary I saw two weeks ago of 1/2 Jewish girl and a German guy that fall in love but he goes into the military and eventuall he is part of the plot: Valkerie to kill Hilter.
**Melissa: Ohhh, I love Carla. Dammit.
I can't believe how 'regular' people lived during this time. Not just the soldiers, but the courage required for everyday life. And I think about the things that scare me in my life. What a wiener.
**Chris: Hopefully there's better times ahead in the next book. I kept waiting for something good to happen in WOW and it just got worse and worse.
**Melissa: Ugh, I was hoping it would get better too. Guess I'll give that up. Sonia, where are you? I'm at 85% - pg 794 of 941 or something like that. I quit my job on Tuesday and don't start my new one for two weeks so lots of good reading time for me. I can't believe Lloyd saved Boy and he was STILL an ass. I hope he lives to marry Daisy!!
**Chris: Sorry I thought you guys had finished already, the worst is yet to come, get ready
**Melissa: I don't really "like" your comment, just wanted you to know it was no problem. :)
**Sonia: @melissa My nook app has 513 of 738
**Melissa: O mg Carla. I want to throw up.
**Jason: I can't imagine there's better times ahead with the civil rights movement, cuban missile crisis, and Vietnam conflict coming up. I am curious to see how he wraps it up.
And Mel, that scene had me so nauseous. Fu(king horribly disgusting.
**Chris: It was the hardest most emotional book I've ever read.
Jason it should end ok since the last 20 years of the Century were very good. The fall of the Soviet Union, the Fall of the Berlin Wall. Hopefully he ends on the positive.
**Jason: I wonder if he's going all the way through the 80's. I guess he would be, makes sense. And I totally agree Chris, most emotional book I've ever read. Just hijacks every emotion without anything you can do to stop it.
**Melissa: Yes it is, and yes it does, and you can't stop even if you want to. I got so apprehensive knowing what was coming and I wanted to stop reading, but I just couldn't.
**Sonia: I dread every time the book heads into Germany. The SS were so evil just to look their way and not look their way brought their attention to a person. I would never want to leave the house had I been a German during those time and my goodness I can't even begin to imagine the fear the Jewish people and people that Hitler didn't feel fit his views or appearance of what his Germany would look like.
**Jason: The Russians are no better when they get into Germany. Very interesting to see the form of East/West Germany after the allies occupy
**Chris: Damn Russians!! Lol
**Sonia: My biggest complaint like movies, I have become extremely picky because of Follett. I have Dan Brown to read when the books gets released in May and I am going to try to read The Hobbit and hope I enjoy the books.
**Melissa: I know what you mean, Sonia. I'm nearing the end and I have several books to choose from next and I'm afraid none of them will measure up..how could they?
**Jason: Agreed. Follett is impossible to follow. I need light reads after this, but I know I'll be caving something of substance right after the light reads. Just need to find something of substance that at least comes close to Follett.
**Sonia: Those are the words I was looking for Melissa!! Jason I feel the same way!!!
That dear readers is my humble review of one of the best books I've ever had the pleasure and honor to read. Read it, you will regret it if you don't. Stay Booked! Happy Reading!