March 30, 2005

Angels and Demons

After being impressed with "The Da Vinci Code" (unlike the current hierarchy of the Catholic Church, apparently), I've been reading Dan Brown's other books and so far been disappointed. "Angels and Demons", though, lived up to what I was hoping for. It's about as gripping as "Da Vinci", and it is clear this is what Brown is most comfortable writing about. The Robert Langdon character appears again, decoding symbols and delving into the history of the church. Supposedly, Brown's next book will continue in this line but be set in America rather than Europe and deal with the Masons (maybe it'll be a better version of what I heard was a crappy Nicholas Cage blockbuster from last summer called "National Treasure").

It's not great literature or anything. Lots of stock characters. Swarthy, fanatic bad guy. Standard sort-of exotic female sidekick/love interest (who becomes a damsel in distress at some point). Mad scientist. Nutty religious guy. Slimy media guy. Double-back but predictable plot twist. Even a bomb with a countdown timer, for crying out loud. But still, it works. Reads very much like early Clancy books, before he got all bloated and political, back when he was really focussed on what he was good at. But for a mindless page-turner, a good airplane book, it's fine and reads very quickly. The parts dealing with Physics and antimatter made me cringe a bit, but that's ok. I imagine I didn't have to suspend disbelief nearly as much as someone who is familiar with the way the Catholic Church is run at the highest levels.

I was interested enough in Brown's stuff that I am starting to flip through books like "Secrets of Angels and Demons" or "Secrets of the Da Vinci Code", which elaborate on the many different plot elements Brown brings into "Da Vinci" and "Angels". A lot of the material is boring, but skimming through, I am finding some neat stuff out about historical figures like Da Vinci, Galileo, the Illuminati and other secret societies, as well as some interesting insight into the real history of famous religious stories. Since I used to play the Illuminati: New World Order card game in grad school, I recognize enough stuff to make me curious to know more.

Posted by Observer at March 30, 2005 06:40 AM

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Actually, I have to interject here. The movie National Treasure was hilarious! It didn't take itself seriously at all and was quite funny. YOu have to go into it expecting nothing, and if you do that, it's fun. Like an american history version of Indiana Jones. It's not great cinema by any stretch but you can tell everyone involved was having fun when they made it. :)

Posted by: Liz on March 30, 2005 07:22 AM

I'll second that motion. National Treasure was crappy, but I enjoyed it. Of course, I like Clancy, too, and thought Brown was merely "eh".

Posted by: Humbaba on March 30, 2005 09:57 AM

I heard good things about it, personally. The movie, that is.

Posted by: Polerand on March 30, 2005 01:54 PM