Friday, 11 April 2014

"The Da Vinci Code" by Dan Brown - Review

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Title: The Da Vinci Code
Author: Dan Brown
First Published: 2003
Publisher: Anchor
Pages: 490
Genere: Thriller
Format/Source: Paperback - Lent from my dad
"Men go to far greater lengths to avoid what they fear than to obtain what they desire."
- Leigh Teabing 

After holding a lecture in Paris, Robert Langdon and the curator of the Louvre have arranged to meet for drinks. Jaques Sauniére never shows up for this appointment, but, as Langdon finds out when french agents wake him and bring him to the Louvre, Sauniére has a good excuse: He has been murdered. While dying, he abviously drew a pentagramm on his belly and, in addition to a cryptic message he also wrote Langdon's name on the floor, which led the agents to believe Langdon is the murderer.

Langdon manages to flee with cryptologist and granddaughter of the deceased and now tries to decrypt the message left by the curator, who, as a member of the secret society of the Priory de Sion, tried to lead his granddaughter to an ancient truth in his final minutes of life, a truth that otherwise would be lost forever. But the French police aren't the only ones chasing those two...

Just like with "Angels and Demons", I watched the movie before reading this book so I pretty much knew the outcome. But also, just like with "Angels and Demons", the book was better.
I got it from my dad , wo also got it secondhand, the first few pages were all scribbled on with pink fineliner.
But oh well, it's the content that counts.

I pretty much liked it from the beginning, that's it. In contrast to the first book, it starts right off with Langdon visiting an absurd crime-scene and shortly after spectacularly fleeing said crime-scene. And that's the perfect start to a book as fast paced as this one. The whole action takes place in less than twenty-four hours, so it's a little slower than the first and there are actually a few sections where you can catch your breath before it continues ... pleasant. The constant stress of "Angels and Demons" was litterally breathtaking (haha) but also nice. 

Langdon was charming as ever but frankly I liked Sophie Neveu, Langdon's female sidekick for this book, less than Vittoria Vetra. It's a shame things didn't work out between Vittoria and Robert. I mean yeah, Sophie is nice and intelligent, a cryptologist, a beautiful young french woman, childhood trauma, family etc. etc. etc. I'm not saying I disliked her, I'm just saying that she was a little cliché.
  So, very early in the story those two come across the grail legend and hear stories about the real holy grail and about what happened to it, and now, I've read a few reviews stating that the given information about the grail, the priory, the knights of templar, everything was not thoroughly researched, not accurate or not the whole truth. I'm not really an expert on this subject I can't say if that's true or not, but I can tell you that as an amateur I found the book researched well enough and it all makes sense to me. Of course everything could be false or self serving, but, as an amateur on these fields, it's good enough for me.

The things I really liked though were the little artsy and technical things, the cryptex for example, or the setting in the Louvre with the Carvaggio on the floor and the painting that Sophie Neveu almost destroyed in an attempt to flee, the Rose Church in the end, that mechanism that should lock thieves in the Louvre, just the well researched details and all.

One of the final revelations was pretty much apparent from about the middle of the book, but there were a few, like the identity of the Teacher, are surprising and shrouded for a long time.
The end is rather soft and slow and not with a bang, that was sort of nice and relaxing.
I also found it great that Brown actually made me cry about the death of a bad guy in the end because, even though the man in question was so, so evil, me still made me feel compassion.

If I can remember correctly, the movie more or less stuck to the book, except that Silas is actually a bulky guy and not as thin as in the movie, and a few other details. The scene in Teabing's house is executed well, but all in all, I thought the book was better, as always.

 I liked this one, I really did, just not as much as the last one. This wasn't as grusome, except in the beginning, so depending on if you like brutal murders or not, this could maybe suit you better than the first. I liked the setting and the details, but the female protagonist was a bit too much of a Mary-Sue for me and a little part of the ending was really forseeable.

I would recommend this book to you if you liked the first book, if you're into grail legends, dapper professors and/or fast paced thrillers.

 Last week when I was in Paris, in the Louvre, I totally fangirled out when I was in that hallway where Sauniére died. I even took a picture of the floor (Pictured above for layout reasons)

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