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Dan Brown's "Angels & Demons" [Oct. 3rd, 2007|09:18 am]
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makaioh
Haha, it seems like I am grumpy and hateful. I'm not!!! I'm happy and wub-ful! But you know, I like to say some things about what I read XD


Overall I did LIKE it, there was cool historical stuff, and the plot was like those adventure-games I like to play on the PC where you have to figure out the clues to do stuff. So, if he made another book with a plot revolving around an ancient mystery I was intrigued by, I might read it... but I might decide to skip more paragraphs than I did.

But, here's some things to know:
1. Dan Brown wishes he was Kurt Vonnegut.
2. I wonder if he has ever had a girlfriend in his life.
3. The epilogue was useless and not worth the pages it was printed on.

First off, his writing style, it is bad!! That must be how Vonnegut wrote in junior high, while he was still perfecting the style. And the style made everything so ... dumb. I couldn't believe that the reviewer quoted on the back of the book included the phrase "with an unusually high IQ." If, after explaining the origins of the word Hassassin, the paragraph-sentence "It was now pronounced assassin." is HIGH IQ, then what the HELL is in the rest of the NY Times bestseller list?! "See Spot Run"?!
I can admit that conceptually a lot of thought and research must have gone into making this story, as far as the plot and the settings are concerned. But getting to the solutions was so laborious that I kept skipping ahead a few paragraphs just to get to the Eureka points. The hardest one was the determination of where the "Lair" was. If that was a videogame, I'd have finished way before Brown had.

I'd like to ask Mr. Brown at some point if he's heard of the writing maxim "Show, don't tell." Did you notice there was exactly ONE character with an actual quirk? One. The pilot. He liked country music. That was shown. The main character, who I will refer to as Mr. Generic, what were his likes and dislikes? Did he have any hobbies? Oh yeah, Brown told us he was a swimmer and a high-diver. How verrrrrrrrrrrrrry interesting. In fact, did Mr. Generic have any kind of habits/hobbies/quirks that made him stand out from any other professor? No. He is cardboard man Mr. Generic. Happens to have the skills and knowledge required for the main character of this story, and that's it.
And while I'm discussing characters, let me introduce you to Mary Sue. Oh, wait, first, a little Wiki-magic, part of the definition of Mary-Sue:
...the character in question acts as a wish-fulfillment fantasy for the author who created it.
And so, welcome earthy-yet-beautiful physicist with a goddess's body exotic Italian heroine Vittoria. A Mary-Sue of sextacular proportions. Aside from being sexy, lovely, a genius, and "feisty", she also knows how to use a gun! Hard-on much, Dan Brown?
There was just no characterization at all, of any of the characters. All of their complete backstories were revealed. Sometimes, excruciatingly so. While I agree that each character must have a backstory in order to be believable, everyone having a tragic past is rather UNbelieveable. Even in the Catholic Church. (that's a joke, y'all.) And when that tragic past is presented not as snippets here and there of characters talking or via flashbacks to That Scary Time but as a bland section of no-action no-dialogue text, it's not just unbelievable, it's boring.
So, boring characters, dumbed-down exposition, why did I like this again?
Oh yeah, the plot. I have to admit, I wasn't 100% sure that the priest-person hadn't just gone insane until All Was Revealed. But it could have been so much better if we could have truly LIKED the character before we found out, or before it seemed he'd gone insane.

I think now is a good time to point out a pet peeve of mine. I really do DESPISE it when a day full of action suspense drama terror and tragedy manages to get two people who hadn't met prior to that day into a romantic entanglement. I find this to be idiotic and unnecessary. I can tell that Brown feels the same way, because in order to justify this ridiculous turn of events, he actually had to explain it via the main character's inner thoughts! As if one line of psychobabble justifies ruining an otherwise exciting action story by introducing a useles romantic sub-plot! The last three pages of that book aren't worth the recycled newsprint they're printed on! (What, I bought the softcover. So sue me.) There were a million ways to end that novel, and that was one of them.
I'm sure there is love at first sight, and all that stuff. I don't mind if that happens. But two persons deciding they are going to try romance based on one day of hectic events is just implausible, not to mention a little hasty on the parts of both parties. Thank goodness he didn't actually try to write any sex scenes. It would have ended like this:
"That was the sound of orgasm."

I shall now pretend to be a professional reveiwer despite having spelled numerous words wrong in my scathe, and give out some grades.
Plot: A- Good overall but some holes here and there.
Setting: B  Nice visuals in my brain, but that's more from watching a documentary on Rome and the Vatican recently than anything Brown did.
Heros: D- Didn't care about 'em, except from the standpoint that they were necessary for the Good Ending.
Villains: C  "Hassassin" was overdone. "Carmelengo" was decent. Needed more, tho.
Theme: B- Intriguing concepts, but a little blurry on intent.
Ending: C  The public ending was good. The private "epilogue" was garbage.
Overall: B- Good, but it will take another intriguing plot to get me to buy another of his books.
I'm not insanedrop trou!

Comments:
[User Picture]
From:yukitsu
Date:October 3rd, 2007 - 03:31 pm
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I was told that Angels and Demons was his BEST book, so. XD XD XD

[User Picture]
From:rainy_takako
Date:October 3rd, 2007 - 05:13 pm
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It IS his best book!! That's the sad part!!


[User Picture]
From:makaioh
Date:October 4th, 2007 - 05:49 am
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It's not BAD bad, but you know... try Vonnegut first ;D


[User Picture]
From:rainy_takako
Date:October 3rd, 2007 - 05:19 pm
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I wonder if he has ever had a girlfriend in his life.
Meh, he's married. Or so he claims.

I pretty much agree with you on the Vonnegut/writing style thing. You can just tell reading it he thinks he's so goddamned CLEVER. I mean a couple things were clever, yes, but seriously... if this game was really a PC game, I'm sure my 12 year old BROTHER could finish it faster than Dan Brown could. And I also wish he'd leave out the romantic hijinks. DX

I still think it's his best book and most enjoyable read though. Someone bought me the illustrated version as a gift and I think it made the story a hell of a lot better even though I already knew most of the works he referenced. Da Vinci Code (also recieved illustrated version) was alright because it had more art history crap, but it was even more Mary Sue-ish and predictable. And the other two were just.. NO. DO NOT WANT.

I'd give Angels&Demons a B too, I think. I liked it enough to read it more than once, but not really enough to recommend it for anything other than pseudo-intellectual entertainment.

[User Picture]
From:makaioh
Date:October 4th, 2007 - 05:44 am
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Being married is not the same as having had a girlfriend ;D

Romantic hijinks PISS ME OFF something fierce. And not just in action/mystery/thriller novels, it pissed me off in "So long and thanks for all the fish", too. I always considered that one a failure, so the trilogy remains a trilogy for me ;D

I probably won't read the DaVinci Code, but I did like this book, it was fun to read and the topic was interesting.

I should have mentioned this, but one thing Dan Brown is very good at is the first segment. I'm obsessed with the beginnings of novels/stories/etc., and it's very refreshing to read a nice intriguing drawing-you-in intro rather than the standard we see so often in fanfic XD

[User Picture]
From:rainy_takako
Date:October 4th, 2007 - 06:25 am
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Trufax. It could have been an arranged marriage!! *shot*

;LKGOSKJG;JSAGKL *headdesk of anger*
Don't even get me started on "Books" 4 and 5 of Hitchhiker's. I wanted to stab someone after that. I DEFINTITELY also think it's strictly a trilogy and I really just like to pretend that only those 3 exist, hahaha.

Da Vinci Code isn't worth the hype IMO. I still liked some parts of it though. I want to kill the movie.

Yeah, his prologues are really good "hooks" I think. Too bad his epilogues suck.


[User Picture]
From:makaioh
Date:October 5th, 2007 - 04:19 am
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I didn't read further than #4 of Hitchhikers, because #4 sucked. I did read Dirk Gently's Holistic Detective Agency, tho, and I liked that one, even tho it had a kinda lofty theme.

I saw a bunch of History Channel stuff about the Davinci Code, but I haven't read it, probably won't. I might watch the movie when it's free on OnDemand, though XD

[User Picture]
From:rainy_takako
Date:October 5th, 2007 - 05:36 am
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I really wish I hadn't read #4.... I didn't even really register anything that happened in #5, I sort of threw it on the floor in disgust after a bit.

GEH don't watch the movie. It's crap. Utter crap.


[User Picture]
From:triggerbone
Date:October 3rd, 2007 - 06:19 pm
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THANK YOU, everything you said here is cruelly true. xD And I agree with Takako, that still IS his best book. Seriously, while Da Vici code is passable, it only gets worse and worse when he tries to write a non-history-related thriller. *shivers*

[User Picture]
From:makaioh
Date:October 4th, 2007 - 05:48 am
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I did LIKE it, just, you know, he could try a little harder in certain areas. I probably won't read the other books, because it's irritating when someone starts writing and then keeps writing but FAILS TO IMPROVE. (Don't get me started on JK Rowling.)

[User Picture]
From:rainy_takako
Date:October 4th, 2007 - 06:27 am
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Don't get me started on JK Rowling.

... Something tells me we're definitely on the same wavelength for all things literature-related. XDD;;;