Dan Brown - The DaVinci Code

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Posted by Sulkyblue (9th May 2004, 16:36)

I was very disappointed by this book, blurbed as "one of the finest mysteries" which I actually found pretty obvious and straightfoward for the most part. I found the initial set up for the adventure to be pretty daft and hole ridden (why didn't the curator run, why weren't there more failsafes?). My hopes from the start were pretty slim when on one of the first page it stated "All descriptions of... secret rituals in this novel are accurate". And as soon as it was 'revealed' that the code and secrets were involved with the Holy Grail I gave up pretty much all hope. Although I did find the bits featuring Rosslyn Chapel interesting as I visited there a few months ago.
The story telling is clumsy, with the extremely short chapters making the book seem extremely bitty. The painfully slow hinting and eventual revealing of various backgrounds and histories are quite painful. It works as a mystery in that once you've started reading it, it's hard to stop, but I wouldn't recommend it to anyone unless they're interested in grail history.

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read biography for - Shuri

 Shuri ( 14th Jun 2004, 16:06, Rank: Soup Dragon )  reply

I actually rather enjoyed the book, but then again I was bedridden for the week, and was hence so bored that any entertainment was good entertainment ;)

I agree that the storytelling was horribly clumsy. Brown spends about 50% of the book actually narrarating, the other 50% is devoted to lecturing the reader on art, architecture, religion, and mysticism. This was probably necessary, seeing as the plot is steeped in esoterica that most readers would know little about, and hence required the author to explain the background of the various organizations that played a part in the novel. This didn't stop the near-constant lecturing from being annoying, especially when I was treated to entire chapters of the author harping on about cryptography, a subject which he evidently knew little about. I doubt he bothered consulting a cryptologist (professional or otherwise) about it, given that his attempts at cryptography were laughable at best. The kinds of codes that baffled his characters (among them a professional cryptologist) were things that I'd mastered before I left primary school.

Oh yes, and then there's the zero character depth or development. Which makes me wonder why I enjoyed the book so much, seeing as the character depth is usually the deciding factor for me when it comes to rating books and movies. Perhaps it was the esoteric nature of the book; despite the author's gross oversimplification of history and presentation of hypothesis as fact, I enjoyed the religious mysticism. I can see why this would be a big turnoff for some; for others (like me) it's a definite winner, regardless of other factors. Not to mention I've been a sucker for murder mysteries since I was a wee cub :p

I'm now tempted to pick up one of Brown's earlier books. Hardly literary material, but if you ignore the writing style, character portrayal, and technical details, it's good mindless fun for anyone who likes mystery novels with a heavy sprinkling of religion.

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