An ancient secret brotherhood. A devastating new weapon of destruction. When world-renowned Harvard symbologist Robert Langdon is summoned to a Swiss research facility to analyze a mysterious symbol-seared into the chest of a murdered physicist-he discovers evidence of the unimaginable: the resurgence of an ancient secret brotherhood known as the Illuminati...the most powerful underground organization ever to walk the earth. The Illuminati has now surfaced to carry out the final phase of its legendary vendetta against its most hated enemy-the Catholic Church. Langdon's worst fears are confirmed on the eve of the Vatican's holy conclave, when a messenger of the Illuminati announces they have hidden an unstoppable time bomb at the very heart of Vatican City. With the countdown under way, Langdon jets to Rome to join forces with Vittoria Vetra, a beautiful and mysterious Italian scientist, to assist the Vatican in a desperate bid for survival. Embarking on a frantic hunt through sealed crypts, dangerous catacombs, deserted cathedrals, and even the most secretive vault on earth, Langdon and Vetra follow a 400-year-old trail of ancient symbols that snakes across Rome toward the long-forgotten Illuminati lair...a clandestine location that contains the only hope for Vatican salvation. An explosive international thriller, Angels & Demons careens from enlightening epiphanies to dark truths as the battle between science and religion turns to war.
Original publication date
This book never rises to trite.
Before I begin my review, I want to preface it by saying a few things.
I know a lot of people think Dan Brown is a crappy writer who writes crappy books about crappy stories with crappy characters and crappy, unbelievable plots.
I know a lot of people think Dan Brown is one of the best at the
I know a lot of people out there know more about European history, etc. etc. than I do, and therefore, I might not be the appropriate judge of this story.
And I'm also aware that this is not the next literary classic.
I loved this book.
Every time the action picked up in this book, I had a serious adrenaline rush. My heart raced, my eyes frantically read line after line, and my hands automatically went to my mouth. I was totally engrossed in the story Dan Brown told, even though I had already seen the movie. Watching the movie before the book is very uncharacteristic of me, but I'm glad that it happened that way in this case. Reading the book cleared up a lot of unanswered questions for me, and the book was different enough from the movie to keep me gasping out loud at plot twists. For me, I was hooked along for the ride, and even though some might find his twists unbelievable or even predictable, I was just in it for the story and found myself completely absorbed. I appreciated the facts (or "facts") throughout the story that were presented to the reader about the Illuminati, Vatican City, etc. and I loved the feeling of being on the inside of solving a puzzle while racing against time. I appreciated Robert Langdon's character, and I'm so glad they cast Tom Hanks to play his character because even when I read The DaVinci Code years ago, Tom Hanks is always how I pictured Robert Langdon. Pretty damn intelligent, resourceful, and witty. Dan Brown can be pretty witty, too, and I found myself chuckling from time to time. I even enjoyed the general mechanics of this book--I liked the short chapters that kept me coming back for more. They made it easy to fly through the pages. I would look down maybe after a half hour or so into reading and be 150 pages further in the book. The "dun-dun-dunnn" moments at the end of pretty much each chapter had me flipping, too, even though I could understand how some might find that worthy of an eye-roll or two. My favorite part of the book, besides the adrenaline rushes, was how he bounced from one point of view to another without leaving the reader feeling disoriented. Rather, it had the opposite effect for me, clarifying everything by being able to watch the story unfold from all angles.
After reading The DaVinci Code a few years ago, I was a little hesitant to pick this one up...would I love Dan Brown as much (or more)? Or was The DaVinci Code a one-time deal? Well, I'm here to say that I can officially consider myself a fan of Dan Brown, however crappy others might want to declare him.
******* SPOILER ALERT!!!!! ************
As stated earlier, the plot is fairly clever at the beginning, towards the end, however, it becomes more and more contrived until it is laughable. The twist at the end makes the whole adventure seem pointless, not to mention utterly improbable.
Though seemingly meticulously researched in terms of art and history, Brown makes such glaring mistakes that it is hard to trust any of the seeming "scholarship" in the book. Winston Churchill was not Catholic. Early Christians were buried facing the east not because of sun worship but because they were facing Jerusalem in anticipation of the Second Coming of Christ. And whether or not you believe in the Catholic Eucharist, it is absurd to claim that Christians got the idea of "eating your god" from the Aztecs. Referrences to the Eucharist and eating the Body and Blood of Christ exist in historical Christian documents - documents that existed long before the conquistadores encountered the Aztecs in the 1500's. Finally, in the climax of the book, it is revealed that before he was elected to the papacy the former Pope fathered a child through artificial insemination with a nun and because he was still celibate, he had, according to the College of Cardinals, "committed no sin." If Brown knew anything at all about Catholic doctrine, he would know how ridiculous this is. Catholics condemn artificial insemination and there is no way the College of Cardinals would find that acceptable behavior in a papal candidate. Again, this has nothing to do with personal belief - it is fact.
This book is utter drivel. Life is too short to waste on such inanity.
While critics argue that Dan Brown isn't destined to be categorized as classic literature in years to come, he presents us with a gripping, suspense filled story that kept me turning pages as fast as I could. The format was interesting in that he generally set up a small chapter for each of the major players in the plot such that in the span of 5 pages, you could have 3 or 4 chapters each spinning the plot on its head.
Aside from Robert & Vittoria, most of the characters felt fairly flat (until the last few chapters when the charmelengo (sp?) and Kholer gained some added depth). Still, each character had enough depth to keep the story progressing and make their actions believable. Some of the quirks & depth that Brown used to present backstories felt a little painted on at times as I turned through numerous sections of flashbacks, but they were still presented well and helped add variety and depth to the story.
What I liked most was the fast paced story with it's intriguing and well-researched treasure hunt. The frantic action felt more believable in this book than it did in DaVinci. The underlying terrorist plot (in Angels)felt like a more compelling impetus to action than the threat of arrest or an impending discovery (in DaVinci). Even so, I kept having the nagging feeling that somebody else in the past few hundred years would likely have stumbled upon the clues or people Langdon was following. I think it was that feeling that helped me swallow the ending a little more.
As to the ending (without spoiling it for anyone), I really liked the way it was played out. Brown did a great job of throwing red herrings in the path again and again to keep me guessing. Even through the last 50-100 pages, things were changing or being revealed so rapidly that I felt myself caught up in the same excitement that the characters were feeling. It was great.
My main complaint about the book was the length. Approaching 600 pages felt a bit steep for the "pulp fiction" novel I had been expecting. Even with all of the intrigue and depth of the conspiracy theories and historical background, there were times that I glanced at how many pages I had left and got a little disheartened and hoped it would wrap up sooner. At the same time, as I look back I can't think of any scenes or segments that I would rip out whole-heartedly and shrink the book size. Perhaps some of the flashbacks could have been shorter or excluded, but even without those, we'd probably only lose a hundred pages or so at max (and that feels like a very optimistic count). Truly every chapter helped build the suspense, mystery and excitement and kept me thoroughly engaged.
Overall, this was a VERY fun read and I enjoyed reading it much more than I did DaVinci Code. DaVinci felt rather slow in many spots, so much so that I felt like I was reading a history textbook a few times. Angels & Demons still included segments of historical narrative, but they were more compact and effective and didn't really detract from the pace and plot of the novel. I still enjoyed the ideas explored in DaVinci, but as a story, I found Angels & Demons a much more engaging read.
3.5 stars (out of 5)
That being said, there's not much in this book worth considering after reading it. Brown's theories on Christianity are
Also, does it bother anyone else that ALL of Brown's characters speak like Americans? He throws in some Italian every once in a while, but other than that, there are absolutely no accents whatsoever, no idioms, and very few people who don't speak absolutely perfect English (despite the fact that most of the novel takes place in Italy).
There are so many better books with actual literary value that are just as exciting (if not more so). We don't need to stoop to such novels just for a thrill.
All the faults of The Da Vinci Code, plus a plot that strains credulity to the point of breaking, laughable characters, and a tedious amount of speechifying about the conflict between
No more Dan Brown for me.
But as I read beyond
Many of the books I read and enjoyed I had bits of down time in the middle with them, and found that their endings got better and better. Brown's books tend to be very good at the beginning and very exciting in the middle, and crumbles towards the end.
Frankly the book needn't be this long.
But with every page I read my suspicion grew that Dan Brown really wrote only one book and then proceeded to make 4 out of them by changing a couple of names, occupations and cities. There is only one set of main characters:
- the handsome, 40-something scientist, keeping fit with some sort of sports that will eventually help him escape the hired killer on his heels (ideally numerous times), with some sort of phobia that is caused by a childhood accident, widower (because divorcee or simply single would imply that he's not capable of maintaining a healthy relationship, while as a widower implies he is capable of love, but was hurt too much..)
- the good looking 30-something brilliant scientist (female), single, not a widow, but too busy with her career to actually meet interesting men, practicing sports also, orphan or half orphan. in addition there is a father-like mentor that taught her everything.
- military or police marginal character, always acts suspicious, but only because of their unbent loyalty to whoever they protect, they have to follow the rules. turns out to be the good guy after all
- a charismatic leader figure that seems to have only the best interest of everyone in mind. turns out that it's his organisation's best interest he has in mind and he is prepared to accept substantial collateral damage in order to protect/advance his organisation. turns out to be the bad guy in the end.
Besides there are always the most trivial soap like plot twists (lost twin, "I am your father, Luke"), which I personally think could be avoided.
This really spoiled the book for me, because although the plot was carefully crafted and I didn't know how the ending would turn out, I already knew who would turn out to be the bad guy by simply following the rules established in the other 3 Dan Brown books. And this is a shame, really. Because he proves to be able to write thrilling books and he does a very good job researching the topics he writes about. So why didn't he bother to think of something new? Instead he just pours out books using the same pattern that has proved successful in thrillers and hollywood films.
"I read this shortly after reading _Angels_&_Demons_ yet
if you intend to read each and haven't yet! read no further in this review. if you read one, you can pace yourself through the other! first, the same protagonist is pulled out of security and peace for a crytpic crime, he is quickly presented with a female who is younger, just as intelligent (if not more so) and connected to the deceased by blood - AND supplies subtle sexual tension for the rest of the book. each story has a direct villain who performs the dirty work and a shadowy villainous group who manupulates him. then theirs the introduction midway of a helpful guy who helps move the plot along by having more specialized information or deeper involvment in the settings trappings - he is revealed before the climax to be the real, button-pushing badguy, connected to the wet-work villain! but that guy doesn't get his come-uppance till some tense crap later!
i was going to read more Dan Brown until i read the back of the other novels and got a feeling i already read them twice."
yeah, Dan Brown's lack of originality took it's toll on my reviews originality!
However, it was a gripping and (mostly) well written. I thought that Brown did well to intergect bits of gore in it to make it that bit more interesting.