The Da Vinci Code – Dan Brown – 2.5 stars
I think a lot of people enjoy this book, so if you’re one of those people, feel free to bask in your own happiness, and please don’t let any of my opinions get you down.
I’m going to be blunt: I think this book relies entirely on its controversy to entertain and intrigue. I know it’s fiction, and it’s allowed to be a bit out there, but when the conspiracy (which does, naturally, involve historical artifacts, world religions and a couple police chases) is the only thing about the book that is remotely surprising, I start to have issues.
I feel like this is a genre I would usually enjoy – I love the whole National Treasure-esque treasure hunt story-line, and there were things about The Da Vinci Code that I did enjoy. I loved the Paris setting – however cliche it is, the French capital is a pretty sound place to go quest-ing.
The characters had fairly interesting stories, but I couldn’t help feeling they were slightly flat, and generally unsurprising. Even the characters that had huge secrets and mistaken identities were painfully predictable. I felt like we never really got to a profound level of understanding with the characters: everything was fast-paced and any possible character development was just tossed aside. One thing that I was really pleased with character-wise was – and watch out; this is a spoiler – the fact that Sophie was re-united with her family, I’m a sucker for a happy ending.
I do think the ending was the highlight of the book for me (and I’m not being snarky here) – [spoiler] I thought it was perfect that the Holy Grail remained hidden, and I really liked the way the protagonists had a real peace about it.
The writing itself wasn’t bad, but nor was it particularly good. It did the job of succinct and clear narration, without really adding the shine that I think a story like this needs to float. I’m sure Mr. Brown is a very clever man, but if I return to his books, it won’t be for his writing style.
The book seems to be very action-oriented, although looking back, not that much actually happened. There’s a lot of gun-waving, and tense negotiation, but very little actual…action. I mean, that’s not necessarily a bad thing, but I did feel a bit cheated.
You’ll notice from my rating that I didn’t hate this book; it kept me reading, and the clues were way out of my ‘Intelligence League’, but there were a lot of areas that really disappointed me – and I’m not just talking about the somewhat ill-evidenced and shaky conspiracy against a rather inaccurate generalisation of the church.
Will I be reading more Dan Brown? Probably not, but I’m glad to have read this, if only just to understand what everyone else is talking about!
If you’ve read this book too, I’d love to hear your thoughts!
Thanks for reading, and have a lovely day!