So this week I’m reviewing Dan Brown’s Da Vinci Code. As mentioned last week, I was supposed to do that then, but the book didn’t arrive before I left on vacation so it got postponed. I read the book in French when it came out way back. It was all the rage at the time and I can’t deny being interested in what’s trending once in a while. That’s also how I discovered The Sword of Truth series.
The novel speaks about the search for the Holy Grail after Jacques Sauniere, curator at the Louvre Museum is found murdered and left a message for his granddaughter, Sophie Neveu, and symbology specialist Robert Langdon. The police is convinced Landgon is the murderer since the victim left a message asking to find him. The actual murderer belongs to the Opus Dei but the organization is above suspicion as far as the police is concerned. From escaping the authorities to discovering clues leading to the Holy Grail, this is your regular criminal investigation with a bit of art, symbolic and religion all mixed into one.
It’s not a bad read per se; the writing is easy, it flows nicely and the book is a quick read. I just re-read it in 2 days; granted I’m on leave and don’t have a whole lot to do at this time but still. However, it’s what I would refer to as a ‘beach reading’, something to read while you’re on vacation. It’s not something that demands much attention. I’m not saying it doesn’t capture it; I mean, the pace is good and you don’t really get a rest. Few words are wasted but it’s not an overwhelmingly complex book.
Like The Time Traveller’s Wife, I think Da Vinci Code ended up on the list of 100 books to read before you die because it was a best-seller the year the list was published and many people would have read the book and found it appealing. On its own merit as a criminal story, I don’t find it as good as Agatha Christie’s work. As far as Leonardo Da Vinci’s work is concerned, one can find better. And when it comes to the corruption of religion, I find that Angels and Demons was actually better even though it didn’t get as much spotlight. At least not before Da Vinci Code became a success.
To a certain point I didn’t like the book because it explains too much about everything… and I don’t necessarily like being told why I should believe this or that. There’s a lot of explaining instead of showing if you will. Somehow the author failed to do what his characters are expected to do: figuring it out. And in many ways, that’s why I guessed the bad guy the first time around.
I write a bit so I understand some things about character building but same comment; it’s all done in flashbacks explaining everything not leaving much to the reader’s imagination and it’s a bit frustrating.
Silas’ story is in many ways the most fascinating but somehow he’s stripped of his mysterious aura by the fact that all is laid out step by step from the moment he killed his dad. It’s a shame in a way. We’re being told everything in chunks of flashbacks instead of a sprinkling of information here or there that would have made the story – to me at least – a lot more interesting.
So while easy and fast to read, I don’t think Da Vinci Code should be on that list; it benefitted from a buzz and it was definitely a sales success but as far as reading goes, there are better books out there IMHO.
Did you read Dan Brown’s Da Vinci Code?
What did you think of it?