Tag: Angels and Demons

Dan Brown – Deception Point | Review

Title: Deception Point

Author: Dan Brown

Type: Fiction

Page Count/Review Word Count: 585

Rating: 6/10

 

Dan Brown - Deception Point

Dan Brown – Deception Point

 

Ah, wonderful – another ridiculously long review to write about a Dan Brown novel. Deception Point is one of his ‘minor’ works, written and published way before the Da Vinci Code and featuring a different set of characters to the ones that are featured in the Robert Langdon series.

Broadly speaking, it’s about a meteorite that’s discovered that could hold proof that aliens exist, and the subsequent attempts by [spoiler removed] to recover it to stop the discovery from going public. Sounds good, right? Yeah, well maybe it would have been at half the length.

I’m not saying that Brown’s writing is tedious to read – far from it, it’s the equivalent of easy-listening music and it’s true that you feel smart when you plough through 100 pages in an hour. It’s just that, in this case, the story seemed to go on forever – while he’s noted for his twists and turns, there were too many here with no substantial story line to carry them along.

 

Dan Brown

Dan Brown

 

Yet despite all this, it’s still a good read if you compare it to the other books that you’re likely to get in an airport’s W.H. Smith – just don’t buy it from Waterstone’s, there’s so much more out there that you could be reading instead.

It is, at least, suspenseful, and it keeps you guessing right until the end. You can’t trust anyone, which gives each of the characters an extra dimension that they wouldn’t otherwise possess. It just drags on, it really does – by the end, you’re almost angry at Rachel Sexton (the protagonist) for surviving.

I still have a couple of three hundred words to write so, like Dan Brown, I’m going to pad this thing out by talking about the cover. I’ll give it its due – it’s eye-catching and appealing, and just abstract enough to relate to the contents of the book without being too explicit. I like that.

 

Tom Hanks as Robert Langdon

Tom Hanks as Robert Langdon

 

And here’s a little known fact about Dan Brown – between graduating from university in the mid 80s and writing his first novel ten years later, Brown dabbled in music and pursued a career as a popstar. He released an album of children’s music that sold several hundred copies, and then formed his own record label to release a second album of contemporary music for adults.

In fact, in 1994, Brown released an album called ‘Angels and Demons‘ which used the ambigram that was later used for the novel of the same name for its artwork. He even moved to Hollywood to pursue a career, teaching classes at a prep school to support himself.

It’s not for me to tell you what to read – if you’re a Dan Brown fan then by all means, go and read and enjoy Deception Point. If, like me, you’re just a regular reader, skip it and go for one of the more mainstream books – Angels and Demons is probably the best one of the lot.

But if you only read one book every year, don’t make it this one – that’d be like having porridge for your last meal. Be extravagant, choose a good book that will broaden your horizons and make you look at the world in a new way. Choose Charles Bukowski or Irvine Welsh. Choose anyone, just don’t choose Dan Brown – you’ll thank me in the long run. But if you’re like me and you read a dozen books a month then go for it.

 

Charles Bukowski - Read him instead...

Charles Bukowski – Read him instead…

 

Click here to buy Deception Point.

 


Dan Brown – Angels and Demons | Review

Title: Angels and Demons

Author: Dan Brown

Type: Fiction

Page Count/Review Word Count: 620

Rating: 7/10

 

Dan Brown - Angels and Demons

Dan Brown – Angels and Demons

 

Oh boy, 620 words – where to start. Alright, well first off, I’d like to explain – I don’t hate Dan Brown. Oh sure, I’ve complained about him before, notably in an essay I co-wrote with a friend called ‘(The Lack of) Originality in Modern Literature‘ in which we slated his formulaic writing style.

But having said that, his novels actually aren’t that bad – they’re like fast food for the brain, the type of book that people read because it’s easy despite having plenty of pages. And they have a plot-line, too – in fact, this has one of the better ones.

That said, the novel does still have its fair share of irregularities, stuff that’s explained scientifically but still doesn’t sound legitimate, like when Robert Langdon dives out of a helicopter and survives the fall. All of the stuff about antimatter is difficult to believe at times, too – it’s cool, but is it realistic?

 

Dan Brown

Dan Brown

 

Well, luckily for you, I’ve done some research and discovered that it isn’t – antimatter takes more energy to create than to produce, which would cripple our ability to manufacture it, and over the last twenty years, only 10 billionths of a gram of antimatter has ever been produced at CERN, the equivalent of a firecracker in explosive strength.

I’ve never found Langdon likeable, either – don’t get me wrong, I’m no fan of the antagonists, although it’s interesting to see how deviously their plans are woven, but I often find that the protagonists are one-sided and often sanctimonious.

Now that the negativity is out of the way, let’s explore why it still received  a 7/10 rating. For a start, the hassassin and the disguised character of Janus are terrifying, there’s a sinisterness about them that leaves an uneasy feeling in your stomach as you tentatively turn the pages.

 

Vatican City, where much of the action takes place...

Vatican City, where much of the action takes place…

 

And in places, the characterisation of the extended cast of characters, those who don’t really fit in to the classic ‘good‘ and ‘evil‘ categories, is actually impressive, and each has their own eccentricity.

Take, for example, Maximilian Kohler, the Hawking-esque director of CERN who, confined to a wheelchair, relies on an extensive array of electronic gadgetry including a computer, a telephone, a pager, a video camera and a gun. With added depth, he also blames religion for his paralysis because his pious parents refused to seek treatment for his condition.

And in a cool case of self-reference, the novel features ambigrams that were created by a man called John Langdon, a typographer. One can’t help but wonder whether a little of Robert Langdon’s character is based upon his namesake.

 

Found this on Google, seems legit...

Found this on Google, seems legit…

 

I’m not sure how much I buy in to the Illuminati, though – sure, I know that the Illuminati existed, but I’m not convinced that they still exist today, secretly manipulating the movements of the world’s major players from behind the scenes. I doubt that Brown does either, using them as a plot device, but I know a few people who genuinely believe (and fear) the Illuminati, and I blame the book for their ignorance.

That said, it’s one of those books that’s worth reading just to find out what the fuss is about, and it is enjoyable up to an extent – it’s certainly the best Dan Brown book, although that’s not necessarily saying much. It’s also well worth reading if you’re thinking about starting with his new one – if you’re going to read about Robert Langdon, you might as well know his history.

Just make me a promise not to tell me what happens in Inferno – I might dislike Dan Brown on principle, but I’m still going to go read it and review it.

 

Dan Brown - Inferno

Dan Brown – Inferno

 

Click here to buy Angels and Demons.