Title: The Da Vinci Code

Author: Dan Brown

Date Finished: 16/08/12

Re-Read? : First time read

Challenges? : No

Overall: 4/5 – rather good

Last summer I read Dan Brown for the first time: Digital Fortress in July and Angels and Demons in August.  I enjoyed both and bought The Da Vinci Code and Deception Point from charity shops shortly afterwards.  I decided, however, to leave them on the TBR shelf until this summer as I just feel they are perfect summer reads.

Usually, I would think the storylines were ridiculous, but when I’m on holiday, not thinking about school, I want nothing more than to lie back on a sun lounger and read them.  They are very compelling and can be read extremely quickly.  I would recommend any Dan Brown as a holiday read but not so much for other times of the year!

The plot in The Da Vinci Code was surprising – I was expecting something more similar to Angels and Demons.  It had the same kind of twists and turns but it was…less active?  I mean fewer car chases and less running.   It was still very much a page-turner and obviously written very convincingly but all the talk of Mary Magdalene etc etc was beyond silly really.

The characters were so unrealistic!  I don’t think a single one seemed real – most were double-crossing-obsessive-conspiracy-theorists and the rest like Langdon and Neveu were just totally unrealistic too.  I am not saying it wasn’t enjoyable to read about them, but there was no way you could identify with anyone.  Although, this is not really the point of these quick-paced detective/thriller/crime novels so why shouldn’t the characters be a bit too perfect/evil?

The prose does what is is meant to do – makes you keep reading.  There is a new chapter practically every page and the prose is very easy to read so you do find yourself not putting it down when perhaps you would put down another book.  I liked the Paris setting, as I visited there a few years ago and could identify with one or two of the places (e.g. The Louvre & The Champs-Élysées).

Overall, it is very clear why this novel is such a bestseller: it is packed full of shocking conspiracy theories, intense action and basically ‘a treasure hunt for grown-ups’ (my name for Brown’s symbol/code trails).  It was perfect for ploughing through during my holiday and that is the only time I would particularly recommend a Dan Brown book.  I wonder when I will get round to reading Deception Point and The Lost Symbol.

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