Let me preface this review by saying that I loved Pillars of the Earth. A lot. I thought it was almost perfect, in fact, except for one minor issue that I had with the dialogue sounding too modern for the time period (an issue I had with World Without End, too). After being engrossed in that book, loving, hating, caring about the characters in it, after feeling like I was living in Kingsbridge for 900 pages, I was excited for this follow up. I wanted more, I wanted to be back in that world, experiencing life right along with the people I was reading about, the people I cared about. So I picked this audiobook up and started it.
And all was good... for a while. It didn't take me long to start feeling that something was wrong. It didn't take me long to start feeling like Follett had ripped off his own book.
Maybe if I'd had 20 years to forget the details of Pillars before reading Book World Without End, maybe I wouldn't have felt the similarities as much, and I'd have liked it more. It isn't a BAD story, but I lost patience with it really quickly and then I stuck with it far longer than I should have hoping that it would come around. I made it 80%, and by the end, I couldn't tell you what happened, because I stopped listening. It was playing in the background while I worked, and I could hear it, but it wasn't holding my attention at all.
I wanted more of Follett's Kingsbridge world, yes, but I didn't expect Pillars of the Earth: Now With New Character Names! I wanted a different
story. Instead, I got a rehash of Pillars, and so I kept comparing them in my head. "Oh, There's the devious, overbearing mother-plotter..." "Here's the Lord-Who-Thinks-He's-God..." "Another brilliantly talented at a really young age master craftsman... who woulda thunk it?" and so on and so on...
Did I like the characters? Yeah. Sure. I didn't care about them nearly as much as I cared about the Pillars characters though. Did I like the story? I guess.
I did love the performance though. John Lee read this audio, and he was great. But still... I just endured this one, rather than enjoyed it, and couldn't bring myself to keep going another twelve hours to finish.
Enough is enough.