The writing in Bring Up the Bodies is just as lovely as Wolf Hall (the first book in Hilary Mantel’s Thomas Cromwell trilogy), with the addition of slightly less confusion about when Thomas Cromwell (“he, Cromwell” throughout the book) is speaking. Bring Up the Bodies is a few hundred pages shorter than Wolf Hall and focused entirely on the (spoiler alert) execution of Anne Boleyn for not giving Henry the VIII a son quickly enough.
Knowing where the story ends made the reading experience more dark than I expected — I probably should have expected it but the last hundred pages being entirely focused on the details of railroading (maybe) innocent people into being publicly executed so the king could marry someone else was not that fun to read. Because the book picks up where Wolf Hall ended, Cromwell is already at the height of his power on page one, and because the book is entirely focused on the disposal of Anne Boleyn, he’s still there on the last page. I found Wolf Hall to be more enjoyable to read because we follow Cromwell on his rise from nothing to being one of the king’s closest advisors — his path to the top was much more interesting (and a lot less dark) than his role in bringing down Anne Boleyn.