BOOK: Angels and Demons by Dan Brown

Yes, I read this.  Shut up.  I bought it for an airplane trip, and I read it on an airplane.  I feel that it’s vital I make this clear: I did not pick this book up expecting it to be GOOD.  I merely picked it up expecting it to be amusing.  And then when I saw it also happened to be about CERN (the Large Hadron Collider people in Europe), I kept reading it despite its numerous flaws because:  GEEK.

This is the prequel of sorts to The Da Vinci Code, which I never read (but I did see the movie, which I think should count for something when it comes to this genre — which is to say, the genre du crappe).  I say “prequel of sorts” because Brown actually wrote this one first, it’s just that it flopped due to its terribleness and nobody read it until the second book came out and hit the bestseller list.

Now Angels and Demons is also a movie, this time starring Tom Hanks without the bad hair, and so the paperback has worked its way back onto  airport newsstand shelves.  Coincidentally, I was recently at an airport newsstand.  And thus, this.

The plot of this novel has to do with a container of antimatter  stolen from CERN by terrorists and then hidden somewhere in the Vatican, set to blow up just as the Papal Conclave elects the new Pope.  The flaws in this novel regarding science are too many to list, but I can sum them up by telling you that there is a chapter in which the Pope’s First Officer (or whatever they call that guy in non-Star-Trek terms) delivers a speech that includes the phrase, and I quote, “science killed wonder.”

This is a phrase only someone who is completely clueless — and I mean COMPLETELY CLUELESS — about science would ever say.  Pshaw.  Utter nonsense.

Here’s the thing, though: the parts of this novel that involve running around looking for the clues that will lead Tom Hanks and Whatshername to the antimatter so they can save the Pope People?  Those parts are actually kind of  fun.  Brown’s problem isn’t that he can’t tell a thrilling story, it’s that he can’t do it without cluttering up the good parts with a lot of totally boring and pointless  crapporama.  Also, he is a bad writer — that is, his actual wordsmithing is BAD.  His writing lacks in flow; it’s choppy and amateurish.  His dialogue doesn’t feel legitimate.  His descriptions of settings and people lack creativity and panache.   And entire chapters were complete throwaways, which is something I hate with a vengeance.

What this novel needed was stronger editing, and it’s too bad it did not get it.  Did The Da Vinci Code?  If you’ve read that one and thought it was dramatically better than this one, let me know in the comments and I’ll give it a try.

I bet the movie version of this book is total goofy fun, by the way.  But I’ll definitely be waiting for the DVD.


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3 Responses to “BOOK: Angels and Demons by Dan Brown”

  1. Hokie Thoughts Says:

    Don’t bother trying–this book was MUCH better written than The Da Vinci Code. I stuck with it until the end and then couldn’t figure out why I’d wasted that much time. That being said, I think the movie might be fun summer fluff too, and I’ll see it as well–only at my local $1.99 screen instead of DVD. Cheaper, and bigger screen! 🙂

  2. Kathleen Says:

    I recently read this book in part because I thought I would want to watch the movie and also because I thought it might be worth the 99cents I paid for the book. I made it through the entire book, but boy was that ending crap! I am sorry…crap, crap, crap. You are smart to wait for the DVD version of the movie. I have heard that the movie was simply, meh. As for The Da Vinci Code, I remember the book being a quick read, but I wouldn’t waste my book recommendations to you on that one.

  3. Jade Says:

    Gotta agree with Hokie of the two books A&D is probably the superior plot wise though DVC is slightly better written (not enough to advise reading it) the movie captured the basics anyway.

    I was surprised to not hate the A&D movie…… though I wouldn’t advise rushing out to see it. Ewan M in a priest outfit is surprisingly sexy.

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