Thursday, July 15, 2004

So when I got to the cabin Saturday afternoon, someone had left a paperback copy of Angels and Demons by Dan Brown there. Since I hadn't started anything else yet, I decided to give it a try. Now, I read The Da Vinci Code last year and liked it okay. It certainly didn't live up to the hype though and I still don't understand why it is a huge phenomenon. The writing was serviceable at best, the characters were flat and uninteresting, and the plot twists were either predictable or not as shocking as Brown obviously thought they were. Despite that, it was fast-moving and mostly interesting. So, as you can imagine, my expectations were pretty low for Angels and Demons and... well, it fell short of even those. It reads as virtually identical to The Da Vinci Code, but with the Illuminati in place of the Holy Grail. Seriously - gruesome murder with clues on the body at the beginning, beautiful, intelligent woman paired up with Robert Langdon with romantic results, all the action occurs over a period of less than 24 hours, much running around, a treacherous friend, etc. It's the Same. Damn. Book. Bad writing, lousy dialogue, shallow characters and all. You know it's gonna be bad when you spot the killer the first time they even mention him. Yeah, and that was less than a quarter of the way through the thing. Robert Langdon is especially obtuse in this book, not knowing seemingly the most basic of scientific facts or even those in his own freakin' field of expertise. Seriously, I understand that his main character has to have a certain lack of knowledge in order to get the reader up to speed on supposedly difficult concepts or to create tension, but this was a little ridiculous. Sunday night, after reading about the first cardinal getting murdered (it's about halfway through), I decided I'd had enough. (Plus my family was starting to get really annoyed at me for rolling my eyes and yelling at the book every 5 minutes.) I skipped to the end and skimmed the last couple of chapters, found out I was completely right in pretty much every single guess I'd made as to who the bad guy was, etc., and put it back where I'd found it (although the temptation to go throw it in the lake was hard to resist).

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