Mike Philbin's Reviews > Angels & Demons

Angels & Demons by Dan Brown
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Feb 25, 08


Angels and Demons is one of the most insidiously-constructed page turners I’ve ever read and unlike other such efforts (Richard Laymon’s IN THE DARK) I actually raced to the end of it rather than throwing the thing half-finished against the wardrobe in rage. Think of Hercules Poirrot. Think of Inspector Morse. Think of Agatha Christie. Once you strip all the character and soul from these genre writers you have Dan Brown. They all have in common the one writer trick, etirwer (the backwards rewrite). I don’t mean check a book for spelling and grammar. I mean write a basic plot line. Then go back. Adding in detail that will drive the narrative relentlessly towards what you sketched. Stuffing the book with glimpses of false trails and dead ends to keep the reader in the dark, so to speak. Confounding the reader in a way that will make him feel insignificant and meaningless.

This, for me, is the worst of all genre writing tricks.

Professor of Symbology Robert Langdon in his tweed and nuclear physicist Vittaria Vetra in her Lara Croft gear go in search of the thieves who killed Vittaria’s dad and stole the anti-matter from CERN and find themselves in what appears to be a travelogue of the more obscure bits of Vatican City. It reads just like that, a Treasure Hunt type of book. The reader is dragged along with teasing glimpses of THE TRUTH behind the religion and the war with science that has waged through the ages. But it could have all taken place in a virtual world like the internet or a library with mischievous librarians swapping cards around so old ladies can no longer find their Mills and Boons.

Any good book should involve, include, confront or enrage the reader – this book cored out the reader’s personality so that by the end you didn’t care if there were 30 more pages yet to go as the final threads of the convoluted narrative finally unravelled.

This book (maybe all Dan Brown books) should come with a mental health warning: At no point in the reading of this book was the reader in danger of thinking.

An ultimately vacuous exercise in Franchise Management D.B. even sneaked in an early reference to the following Professor Langdon mystery The DaVinci Code. Enough already!
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Comments (showing 1-9 of 9) (9 new)

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Caitlin Thank you! I felt the same wretched sort of feeling for this book. Really, just a terrible piece of writing.


Roxie Vegas The guy's name is Dan Brown. What do you expect?


Lucinda Reed I agree. Like the critique.


message 4: by Jim (new) - rated it 1 star

Jim Lane I have since reading this pile of drivel to the end wondered what possessed me to keep reading. It turns out it was the same thing that kept me watching "Lost" long after I really knew they were just making it up as they went along. Fortunately I read this before subjecting myself to "The DaVinci Code" and then wanting to give Dan Brown a second chance. Thanks for clearing that up!!


Heather Thomas I was wondering if I should call it quits. I'm about 100 pages in and am very disappointed in the character development or should I say lack of character development. Good review!


message 6: by Lucifer (new)

Lucifer Great, very funny review.


Megan Clearly there's something about his books that make people want to read them. I mean come on, he has plenty of money and two of his books have been made into movies. For the average person who doesn't know anything about the mistakes that he made, this book is great. Also, just wanted to point out that Hercule Poirot and Inspector Morse aren't authors. Neither is Agatha Christie a fictional detective.


message 8: by William (new)

William Ainsworth I think DB could learn a lot from Ms Christie; think of an ending and then work backwards. Formulaic writing at its very worst.


Chris Gager No "s" on the end of Hercule Poirot


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