Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Book Review: The Da Vinci Code by Dan Brown

The Da Vinci Code, by Dan Brown, is a story of a quest for the Holy Grail, but unlike most similar stories it is set in modern times, beginning in Paris and finishing in Scotland. The story involves a relentless chase and an intricate web of conspiracies stretching back to the time of Jesus. Much has been made of these conspiracies and much of the interest in this book surrounds the nature of how some aspects of the life of Jesus have been "hushed up" by the church. Furthermore, in this story a Christian sect dispatch an assassin to kill the keepers of this potentially damaging secret.

Dan Brown has certainly written a high-paced story which is essentially a treasure hunt as the main characters go from location to location to decode a series of clues and it is possible that this novel was written with a movie in mind: it certainly feels like this to the reader. Whilst the Da Vinci Code is something of a page turner, I found that mostly I was disappointed with what I found out and the style of the book reminded me of something a teenager might write and indeed many have criticized this novel as poorly written.

A number of the secrets and codes to be broken are interesting, but are all too easily cracked and the way the French police continue their pursuit into Britain is ridiculous. The characters in this story accept a whole host of fairly implausible coincidents as fact and become believers of a conspiracy theory without question all to easily, something which has, unfortunately, spread to a large number of readers - it is important to remember that this is a work of fiction.

Although on a first read the Da Vinci Code is an enjoyable novel the ending is hopelessly disappointing and changed my whole view of the book. Any attraction this tale has is in the discovery of what happens next and I believe that reading it for a second time would reveal to most readers that it is weakly written and formulaic.

I would recommend the Da Vinci Code as an easy read between other more meaningful books, but don't expect anything other than a simple storytelling style and be prepared to be extremely disappointed with a pathetic ending. Most importantly, do not take everything that one reads in this book as fact.
Score: 5/10

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