Tag: Robert Langdon

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.┬áBut 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 – The Lost Symbol | Review

Title: The Lost Symbol

Author: Dan Brown

Type: Fiction

Page Count/Review Word Count: 670

Rating: 6/10

 

Dan Brown - The Lost Symbol

Dan Brown – The Lost Symbol

 

Oh, joy of joys – time to write another long review of a Dan Brown novel. The Lost Symbol is the third book in his Robert Langdon series, following on from Angels & Demons and his best-seller, The Da Vinci Code.

Now, in my opinion, the series started strongly with Angels & Demons and has slowly weakened with each new book – I’m not saying that The Lost Symbol is a bad read, but it’s not as gripping as the earlier novels. It does, however, feature Brown’s signature riddles, twists and antagonists.

It’s also one of the fastest-selling books that’s ever been released – 6.5 million copies were printed in the initial run, the largest run in publisher Doubleday’s history, and it sold a million copies on release day. The Da Vinci Code was also a best-seller, and so it makes sense that the hype around its sequel would translate in to sales.

 

Dan Brown

Dan Brown

 

Like The Da Vinci Code and Angels & Demons before it, it’s also being turned in to a film with Tom Hanks expected to return as Professor Robert Langdon. I wasn’t too keen on the previous movies, but I wasn’t crazy about the books either – while I doubt that I’ll ever watch the films again, I do think that they did the books justice.

Now, I’ve mentioned Brown’s formulaic writing style before, but I think it’s prudent to take a look at it again. See, while there’s nothing wrong with the way that he writes, it feels devoid of life and personality. Brown has lectured on writing before, and it does feel as though his work follows a strict formula that’s copied over from novel to novel.

While the details of the storylines differ, the storylines themselves remain the same – Langdon inadvertently embarks on an adventure, then faces a race against time as he tries to uncover a secret while avoiding death at the hands of an unknown adversary.

 

Tom Hanks as Robert Langdon

Tom Hanks as Robert Langdon

 

I prefer writing to be from the heart, an emotional response to a situation. I prefer writing that’s innovative and soul-searching. I prefer books that were written out of necessity, books that were written because if they weren’t then the author would’ve died or lost their mind. Brown’s writing lacks this vitality – he writes because he’s good at it. He’s the equivalent in the literary world of Rihanna in the musical world.

Of course, I quite like Rihanna, and so do a lot of people – there’s no shame in being a popular author, and Brown has the talent to back it up. Having said that, I wouldn’t waste my money on gig tickets or albums, and I always feel like I’m wasting something more valuable than money when i’m reading one of Brown’s novels. I feel like I’m wasting my time.

That said, the conspiracy-laden storyline is gripping and vaguely educational, and the character of Mal’akh is particularly terrifying. His identity is revealed at the end of the novel in a supposed twist, although I figured out who he was after the first couple of hundred of pages. I’m saying nothing, though – I don’t want to spoil it for you, just in case you decide to read it.

 

There's something both smug and annoying about this Dan Brown quote...

There’s something both smug and annoying about this Dan Brown quote…

 

In fact, this antagonist, with his full-body tattoos and lust for blood, is the scariest and most sinister of all of Brown’s ‘bad guys‘, mainly because he’s crazy – you don’t want to get on the wrong side of him. Notable, he’s also the first of Brown’s evil murderers who concocts a plan himself – all the others have been pawns in some evil game.

Overall, it’s worth reading The Lost Symbol if you’ve read the other books in the series, but it’s not the best book to start with – if you’re a first time reader, pick up Angels & Demons instead. If you like Brown’s writing, you can follow Langdon’s story through The Da Vinci Code and then move on to The Lost Symbol.

 

I couldn't think of any other images to use, so here's a picture of a cute kitty...

I couldn’t think of any other images to use, so here’s a picture of a cute kitty…

 

Click here to buy The Lost Symbol.