Angels and Demons by Dan Brown – A Book Review

Soon I’m going to be taking part in a book study on The Da Vinci Code.  I’ve really had no interest in that particular book other than to see what all the fanfare was about.  So, I figured that if I’m going to do it, I’m going to do it right.  I picked up the precursor to The Da Vinci Code, called Angels and Demons.

Angels and Demons is certainly fast paced.  If you are looking for a thrilling page-turner, this book is for you.  However, if you’re looking for some deep characterization, might I suggest (insert here)?  Yes, that was sarcasm.  It’s not that I didn’t like the book, because I did.  I just didn’t care about the book, and for me, that is a fundamental difference.  I read it simply to see what happened next, not because I really felt a personal investment for the characters within the story.  In other words, this is what’s called a plot-driven novel.  The characters are there to drive the plot forward.

There were really interesting twists and turns.  There were very cool exotic locations.  There were fascinating scientific and theological lectures.  And the suspense was executed rather masterfully. 

On the other hand, I have absolutely no idea what to believe in this book.  Most of it takes place within the most secret portions of Vatican City.  So, as you can imagine, certainly liberties had to have been taken.  Moreover, Dan Brown gives us a pseudo-history lesson on historical figures that may or may not be true!  I have no idea if Galileo founded a secret society of scientists!  I have no idea if there exists a super-science organization located in Europe!  I have no idea if the Catholic Church is guilty of half of what he writes they are.  Yes, I know the book is fiction, but c’mon, when the guy tells you its all fact before you start reading, it messes with your head!  Curse you, Dan Brown!  I didn’t mean that. 

All in all, this book was fun to read.  I don’t know if I learned anything from it from a moral, creative, or intellectual standpoint, but I did enjoy it.  I’m hoping that The Da Vinci Code is a bit more reliable.

The Da Vinci Code by Dan Brown – A Book Review

I’ve got to give it to Dan Brown, he’s discovered a formula that has taken America by storm. I think he happened across it with Angels and Demons. Take a gigantically important figure and make him/her the focus of the novel. Then, couple that with using as many facts as can be possibly found. Finally, use those facts to breed fiction that is logical, plausible, and wildly controversial.

Boom. You’ve got a hit.

I liked The Da Vinci Code, just like I enjoyed Angels and Demons. The book uses real locations and artistic works that engage the reader’s interest and imagination. It has a neck-breaking pace, and each chapter ends on a cliffhanger that demands you continue reading. If you’re reading for pure enjoyment, this book is just the prescription.

However, what I find troubling is due to no fault of the book itself. You see, many people out there are saying that this book had shaken their religious foundation to the core. Shame on those people. Again, The Da Vinci Code takes a wildly popular figure in the world, takes a great deal of fact, throws in quite a bit of fiction, and a hit was born. Sadly, it seems that a great deal of people are having trouble distinguishing between fact and fiction. My strongest advice to those people would be: go do some research. Find the answers you’re seeking by putting in some time and effort. Otherwise, accept this book for the genre it belongs to-fiction.

I can understand people getting up in arms over what’s being said in the book, because we’re all threatened when challenged. I’ll leave it up to you and your research to determine if Dan Brown was challenging anyone in particular, or if he was just trying to write a book that would be a guaranteed hit. What I don’t understand is people reading a work of fiction and saying that it’s completely changed their religious perspective.

So, all in all, if you’re looking for an entertaining read, pick this book up. If you’re looking for facts about religion and/or history, pick up something found in the non-fiction shelves of your local bookstore or library.