Book Review – The Da Vinci Code by Dan Brown

The Da Vinci Code (Robert Langdon, #2)

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TITLE:  The Da Vinci Code

SERIES:  The Robert Langdon Series, Book 2

AUTHOR:  Dan Brown

FORMAT:  Kindle Version

PAGES/LOCATIONS:  592 pages/7499 locations

GOODREADS’ AVG. RATING:  3.72 out of 5 stars; 1,229,821 rating

SYNOPSIS PROVIDED:

An ingenious code hidden in the works of Leonardo da Vinci. A desperate race through the cathedrals and castles of Europe. An astonishing truth concealed for centuries … unveiled at last.

As millions of readers around the globe have already discovered, The Da Vinci Code is a reading experience unlike any other. Simultaneously lightning-paced, intelligent, and intricately layered with remarkable research and detail, Dan Brown’s novel is a thrilling masterpiece – from its opening pages to its stunning conclusion.

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PREVIOUS POSTS:  Reading Update 1, Reading Update 2

MY REVIEW:

I love the premise of Brown’s The Da Vinci Code, exploring the life of Jesus the man rather than Jesus the son of God.  I have stated before that I am not an overly religious person nor do I participate in organized religion, though I was raised in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (i.e. Mormon).  However, due to personal reasons I left the church around the time I was 19 and I haven’t returned to organized religion since.  I know the novel is fiction, I know that not every single word written is true and only some (possibly very little) is actually based upon historically accurate fact – yet, even in light of knowing that, I am still intrigued by the life Jesus Christ lead.  I fully support the idea of Christ embracing the roles of husband and father, roles which not only support but also compliment the feminine role of mother.  The Mormon faith is notorious for teaching its young women that being a wife and mother is a great calling, but what about that same idea being applied to young men in the form of being a husband and father?  I don’t want to bore you with these little intricate details of my religious upbringing, but I have found that this different treatment of men and women within religion is a very socially damaging stigma.

I have a certain appreciation for this novel because it really focuses on pointing out the lack of positive femininity found in society.  I find it deeply disturbing how much hatred there is against the idea of feminism, a movement which has been constantly evolving in order to bring about equality for all – and not just men and women but all people regardless of how they identify themselves.  As a woman and mother to my amazing daughter, it frightens me that there is so much negative stigma against women and being a woman – women as sexual objects, somehow being considered lesser, phrases such as “the weaker sex.”  I find a sense of beauty in the tenets of the pagan faiths because women are seen positively, not only are they beautiful but they are also powerful and strong.  This novel helps to bring notice to a very real problem with the majority of today’s organized religion – that there isn’t a strong, positive feminine role model outside of the role of wife and mother.

I honestly don’t like Robert Langdon as a character, in the novels – I find him to be annoying, frustrating, and kind of boring.  I find myself frustrated with Langdon at times because he tends to over romanticize his interactions, in this case, with Sophie.  It could be an incredibly small interaction between them, but Langdon becomes seemingly focused on it in his inner monologue.  I am sorry, but if the events of this novel were really going on around you I doubt that you would be taking time to notice and ponder each seeming interaction between you and another individual – your mind would just not be able to focus on such things because you would be in a constant state of fight-or-flight and dealing with historical riddles.  I am going to be so bold as to wonder aloud (well, in written word within this post) whether or not it is true that Langdon seems to always have or know the answer.  I understand that Langdon is an incredibly intelligent man and that he is renowned in his field, but I am willing to go so far as to suggest that he always seems to have or know the answer to whatever obstacle he encounters.  While I understand that he is the protagonist and main character of the novel, it is just frustrating that he has these other supporting individuals who are meant to help him but for the majority of the novel it feels like he doesn’t even need them.  This is just an infuriating practice I have found in reading novels – coming across a character who seems to have all of the answers already.

In my review for Brown’s Angels and Demons, I discussed my thoughts on the character of Camerlengo Carlo Ventresca and how I found him to be an interesting character because of how he was built up to be such a pillar of help and friendship only to in truth be the perpetrator responsible for everything.  Again, we come across this same trope in the form of the betrayal being on the part of Sir Leigh Teabing – he was a well meaning, likable character until he ultimately revealed himself to be The Teacher.  I can appreciate a good plot twist, especially when it involves excellent character set up, but I found myself slightly frustrated because this was the same exact trope from Angels and Demons.  I don’t want to feel as if I am experiencing the same plot twist in each book – Langdon needs the help of an expert or individual in some field who appears to be quite well meaning but in the end turns out to be the bad guy all along!  The first time you utilize a trope such as that, you’ll get me and I will find favor with it – but trying it multiple times, it just becomes boring.

Hopefully, Dan Brown’s The Lost Symbol will improve upon the points I criticized.

TL;DR REVIEW: 3.5 out of 5 stars.  I dislike when authors utilize, almost verbatim, previous plot tools – I honestly find it to be lazy and a disservice to your readers who are reading your work to be told a compelling, a new and compelling story.  I am not saying that a plot tool can only be utilized once per series for an author – but don’t disrespect your readers by giving almost the exact same story with a different premise.  I am hoping that Brown learned from this and that The Lost Symbol will be an exciting read, onward to new reading material for me in The Robert Langdon Series!

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