Oct 18, 11
Read from October 17 to 18, 2011
I'm actually giving this book three and a half stars.
I went into it pretty skeptical. There are two things I could say about Dan Brown, based on his other books: 1, he can come up with amazingly interesting, page-turner plots and 2, somewhere along the way he manages to lose you in the writing. The Davinci Code certainly had its "Ummm... WHERE was that set up?!" moments. Angels and Demons and Digital Fortress almost sounded like the same book to me, right down to the long-lost family members. So, skeptical.
Nevertheless, this book was used and cheap, and I was curious. Not to mention, I needed a good Bad Novel to immerse myself in to forget about the world for a while.
I was pleasantly surprised. It is certainly a page-turner, with cliffhanger chapter endings of the "little did they know" variety. Granted, some of the subsequent events were a disappointment after the cliffhanger, like when the heroine, Rachel Sexton, gets in a helicopter to go meet the president and, heading towards the White House, the chapter ends with, "little did she know it would never reach the White House." (loosely quoted) So, of course, the reader is left wondering what will happen. Are they shot out of the sky? Does she sense danger and jump out before they take off? WHAT? I don't want to reveal any spoilers, but the answer, though the plot still remains interesting, is kinda mundane, considering the setup.
Still, it's a page-turner. Dan Brown has a knack for drawing us in. I sometimes thought I would NEVER find out what NASA had found in the ice. At other times, I wished I could crane my neck and look inside the book to the extraction hole. WHAT was everyone staring at in all these (thankfully short) chapters? WHAT was the water doing that it shouldn't have been? Obviously something important, if suddenly someone wants to kill whoever knows about it.
Besides the main plot, there are many interesting sub-plots and I like the fact that the book is told from different angles, depending on which character is being talked about. There is Rachel's father, Senator Sexton, who is in the running in the presidential campaign, and running dirty. A despicable man who doesn't disappoint right up to the end. There is the president himself Zachary Herney, who prides himself on honesty, and his senior advisor Marjorie Tench, who is very disagreeable but is very efficient at getting whatever job is at hand done. There is a covert op unit of three men, Deltas One, Two and Three, respectively, along with their boss, the controller. I have to admit, I had the controller figured out pretty nicely and was waiting smugly for the person to be revealed - only to find out I was wrong! Well done, Brown!
I must say I liked the writing as a whole. I like the joking among the scientists and the way Corky talks about Dr. Mangor because of her less-than-charming personality. (When Ming mentions that she once got lost in a snowstorm and survived on seal blubber for over a month, Corky slyly comments that it was that long because "I heard no one was looking" (for her)). The inevitable scientific explanations were thankfully short instead of drawn out, and the at first seemingly amazing plot begins to sound possible and believable. I also love how Brown injects more humor by letting the reader know what people are thinking in using italics in dialogue.
*spoiler alert, despite my best intentions*
My only gripe is near the end when the underwater volcano erupts, creating a geyser of steam that shoots up out of the sea, which in turn created a void that water rushes into, pulling everything down with it. Of course Rachel's hero Michael Tolland is in the water at this point, but swims toward the surface and excapes. (Not much mention was made of the poisonous gasses that must have also escaped the volcano.) But that's my only gripe. Really. I don't even mind the submarine picking up the THUMP...THUMP...THUMP, but that miraculous escape was worthy of Jack and Rose's miraculous swim to the surface in the Titanic movie, and in my opinion totally unbelievable. (Okay there is also the part where Rachel actually makes it out of the sinking sub, despite the power of all the water rushing in which really should have her trapped. But that's it.) Other than that, I like the book. Read it if you're a Dan Brown skeptic.