Genre: Conspiracy fiction / Suspense thriller
Length: 454 pp.
Amazon Summary: Brown's latest thriller (after Angels and Demons) is an exhaustively researched page-turner about secret religious societies, ancient coverups and savage vengeance. The action kicks off in modern-day Paris with the murder of the Louvre's chief curator, whose body is found laid out in symbolic repose at the foot of the Mona Lisa. Seizing control of the case are Sophie Neveu, a lovely French police cryptologist, and Harvard symbol expert Robert Langdon, reprising his role from Brown's last book. The two find several puzzling codes at the murder scene, all of which form a treasure map to the fabled Holy Grail. As their search moves from France to England, Neveu and Langdon are confounded by two mysterious groups—the legendary Priory of Sion, a nearly 1,000-year-old secret society whose members have included Botticelli and Isaac Newton, and the conservative Catholic organization Opus Dei. Both have their own reasons for wanting to ensure that the Grail isn't found. Brown sometimes ladles out too much religious history at the expense of pacing, and Langdon is a hero in desperate need of more chutzpah. Still, Brown has assembled a whopper of a plot that will please both conspiracy buffs and thriller addicts
My Thoughts: All right. I just finished this book, and you know what? In my opinion, this book is overrated. Completely and utterly overrated. The people who are throwing a huge fuss over this book need to understand that it's fiction, that it's not threatening their faith at all, and the people who seem to think this is the truth need a good solid dose of reality. Dan Brown merely wrote a suspense thriller. That's it. Nothing more. It wasn't as groundbreaking as some people led me to believe. It wasn't as good as people led me to believe. It was just... mediocre.
The best thing I can say about this book is that it was surprisingly unputdownable. Even though I yelled at the book a few times and threw it across the room twice, that was only to vent out my frustration. When I threw it across the room and didn't pick it up for a while, it was only so that I could calm down. The night after, I picked it back up and continued reading, albeit with a smidge less enjoyment than before.
I did get caught up with the drama and all the different things that were happening during the story, but I did figure out the "big twist" ahead of time. Regardless, the pace moved along nicely and, on a whole, I enjoyed this book more than I thought I would at the beginning. But then again, the comment "It was enjoyable" is the only compliment I can give this book, because the flaws outweighed the perks.
The biggest flaw in this book was, by far, the terrible research Dan Brown put into it. The synopsis I gacked from Amazon.com says it was "exhaustively researched," but it wasn't. Not in the slightest. I don't claim to be an expert on any of the topics Dan Brown brought up, but I could pick out obvious flaws in his logic and so-called "research." Like one of my friends said, it seems Dan Brown is allergic to actual research—if you looked anywhere, you'd see that most of the things he said were quite wrong. It makes me sad to note that Dan Brown basically said "everything in this book is true" in the opening "Facts" page, but it makes me sadder to note that people will actually think that statement is true.
Also, the whole business with the "sacred feminine" was a little too much to handle. It seems like every other page, someone was saying: "Oh, you know that symbol? Yeah, that's actually a symbol of the sacred feminine." I got the impression that Dan Brown thought that everything in the world is a symbol of the sacred feminine, and it was frustrating after a while. It jolted me out of the story—the excessive references were just not necessary. Dan Brown should learn to tone it down just a bit.
A lot of people also said that this book was unpredictable, but... I found it predictable. The big twist didn't come as a surprise to me at all, and I could see things coming from a mile away. Some of the things that were a big problem in the middle suddenly turned out to not be such a big problem, and the ending... oh, the ending was such a cop-out. I appreciate that Dan Brown didn't just up and say that Christianity was wrong, but still. Once I got to the end, I said to myself "That's it? Where's the big reveal? Where's all the information?" The ending just forced me to say that this book is pure speculation. I'm not taking it seriously at all.
The Da Vinci Code was interesting. That's all I can say. It's not the truth, and it may not be entirely wrong either. For me, it was just something to read. I doubt it'll make that much of an impression on me in the long run. As for recommending it, if you want to read it, do so. If you don't, I won't force you to.
Middlesex by Jeffrey Eugenides. I'm only about twenty pages into it right now, but already, it seems miles better than The Da Vinci Code.