Wednesday, February 19, 2014

The Da Vinci Code by Dan Brown

The Da Vinci Code by Dan Brown (Robert Langdon #2)
Published March 28th 2006 by Anchor
eBook, 490 pages

When Robert Langdon, acclaimed symbologist from Harvard University, arrives at Paris, he's expected to meet with Jacques Sauniere later on in the evening. Langdon is not sure what the reasons behind the meeting Sauniere, the elderly curator of the Louvre museum, organized but he's looking forward to it nonetheless. So imagine his shock when a phone call in the dead of night informs him that Sauniere has been murdered right in the middle of the Louvre. Langdon is swept off to the crime scene and is shown the mangled body of Sauniere surrounded by seemingly random codes and symbols. Never one to back down from a mystery, Robert Langdon, with the help of cryptologist Sophie Neveu, goes on a hunt to discover what Sauniere's death truly means.

One of the things I wanted to do this year reading-wise was to finish up on some old series that I started but never finished. I began The Da Vinci Code while I was in fourth grade but promptly put it down for reasons I totally forget. While I was on my winter getaway, I brought my Kobo along and even though there was a lot that we did, I still found myself with TONS of reading time so being bored with all my other books, I dug The Da Vinci Code back up and started rereading it.

Despite the fact that I didn't read much of the book in fourth grade, I remember really enjoying it. And even though I was nine then and still thought those Geronimo Stilton books were prime reading material, I decided to trust my judgement then and so went in with super high expectations. After all, I did read and like the first instalment in this series, Angels and Demons so I thought that this one would be just as great.

And um, yeah, it wasn't really at all what I was expecting. At first, the book was good and I enjoyed it. I got really caught up with the whole mystery and so the first 100 pages passed like nothing. Brown set up an interesting premise and I'm always one for mysteries. And Paris! I thought the symbology was really cool and the whole thing with Leonardo Da Vinci was very interesting. So far, all good!

But then after maybe 200 pages in, it just felt like I was turning pages but not really making any progress. Look, 490 pages is really not a lot for me. I've read the Harry Potter series, I've definitely handled some chunksters, okay? But with The Da Vinci Code, 490 pages felt like an eternity. I would be reading on my Kobo and see that I was 83% done with the book only to find out later that I still had a good 100 pages left. Which usually is nothing to me but again, with this book, it was like OH MY GOD END OF THE WORLD CRYING WHY CAN'T IT JUST BE OVER.

Because after a while, The Da Vinci Code just feels very repetitive. And way too filled with testosterone. It's basically Langdon and Neveu get a clue, they don't know how to solve it until after thirty pages where Langdon (sometimes Neveu, but mostly Langdon) figures out the solution and they're excited, until more crap arises. Oh, and did I mention that like every five pages, there's like ten pages where it's just MASSIVE INFO-DUMP. I actually did not mind it the first few times because I'm rather interested in all this religious stuff and conspiracy theories (you don't even know how many hours of the History Channel I've watched) but after a while, like with everything else, it was just very boring and very repetitive because this book is like 75% reliant on its ginormous web of a mystery (credit to Brown for sitting down and actually plotting it out). If you subtract the mystery, you're basically just left with okay, streamlined writing and flat characters and like, basically no character development. It's all action, action, action. Which is good because sometimes, it's just nice to settle down with those type of books that sweep you away with all the stuff that's happening in it and that doesn't really require you to think too much or too hard but after a while, like with EVERYTHING ELSE, it just becomes a very tired routine.

Another thing that did not really help me flip those pages was that the plot got more and more absurd as we delved deeper into the story. Like I don't know if we were going for realistic here or just like a thriller rooted with real-ish facts (more on that later) but some parts just had me scratching my head. I just did not comprehend HOW any of the things that went on in the book could have happened in our world logically. Major suspension of disbelief here. I mean, I don't mind if a book gets a bit ahead of itself and maybe things happen that might not otherwise but in those cases, I know that that's supposed to be what's happening. With The Da Vinci Code, I wasn't sure if it was supposed to be crazy and totally unrealistic or if it was supposed to be realistic but like in a James Bond-ish kind of way.

And then now about the real-ish facts I talked about in the above paragraph. I discovered, after I had finished reading the novel, that many historians had found much of Brown's book inaccurate. I'm really not sure about this because I'm not a historian so naturally while I was reading the book, I literally did not see anything inaccurate. But to be fair, Brown could have said anything and I would have believed it. I just want to mention this because when I found that out, it was a bit like adding insult to injury and making my brain hurt even more after the super-duper complicated mess that is the 490 pages of The Da Vinci Code.

I liked it at the beginning and was really into it because I love mysteries and conspiracy theories and sorts but things quickly went downhill after that. There was just a lot of repetitiveness and ALL ACTION and complicated plot that didn't really make any sense with really nothing else - no great narration, no strong characters, no character development. I was really looking forward to this book after my nine-year-old self really enjoyed the nine pages that she read (which makes sense because I really enjoyed those first nine pages too) but in the end, it was just a disappointment.

I'm honestly not sure. I know a lot of people do like this book and I can totally understand why but...

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