*All Book Reviews on this blog are spoiler free.*
“Show me proof there is a God, you say. I say use your telescopes to look to the heavens, and tell me how there could not be a God!” – Dan Brown, Angels and Demons.
‘Angels and Demons’ is my first venture into Dan Brown’s works. Over the years I have heard a lot of praise for him and so accordingly I set my expectations higher. ‘Angels and Demons’ is a good story but Dan Brown did not meet the bar in all aspects.
‘Angels and Demons’ is the first book in the series involving the adventures of Robert Langdon, a professor of religious symbols at Harvard. The book spans over the course of 24 hours during which Langdon goes from disbelieving in the ‘illuminati’ to decoding symbols across Rome in order to save the Vatican City. It begins with Robert Langdon receiving a phone call in the middle of the night. As it turns out the Vatican City is sitting on a ticking bomb placed by an ancient brotherhood called the ‘illuminati’ who have been against the idea of religion and it is up to Langdon and his expertise in the matter to save the city, which is not a good idea given that he is at the end of the day a professor at Harvard.
Dan Brown is more of a story teller than a writer. ‘Angels and Demons’ relies heavily on actual facts and research more so than compelling writing. He has a vivid imagination when it comes to the plot. When an entire city is at stake and you add a time constraint to the mix while the book is essentially a puzzle on a giant scale, the book is bound to be a page turner. Every page lingers with a quick paced anticipation. The ending of the book is one of the better ones, building up a suspense that is revealed in a plot twist towards the very end. Apart from the thriller aspect, it can also be read as a debate between science and religion. It is an age old debate and ‘Angels and Demons’ provides an interesting insight. It argues for both the parties and leaves the conclusion entirely up to the reader.
However as adrenaline packed as the overall effect of the book is, when it comes down to the nitty-gritty, Brown is not a convincing writer. He uses words and phrases that are awkward, jutted, and prevent the reader from losing themselves in Langdon’s world. His characters are unrealistic in their reactions and mannerisms; subplots seeming unnecessary.
But pro – con list aside, the most daunting thing about Dan Brown’s works, especially ‘Angels and Demons’ and ‘The Da Vinci Code’ is the kind of cultural impact it has managed to achieve. Even someone who has no interest in reading, books and literature knows about Dan Brown. The illuminati, despite its own personal history is known primarily via Brown’s books, either that or I just happen to know a lot of history buffs. And when something has such a massive influence, it is very likely you will read this book anyway, so I’ll say this – Happy Reading.