Book Review: Angels and Demons by Dan Brown
Robert Langdon #1
Genre: Mystery, Thriller
World-renowned Harvard symbologist Robert Langdon is summoned to a Swiss research facility to analyze a cryptic symbol seared into the chest of a murdered physicist. What he discovers is unimaginable: a deadly vendetta against the Catholic Church by a centuries-old underground organization--- the Illuminati. Desperate to save the Vatican from a powerful time bomb, Langdon joins forces in Rome with the beautiful and mysterious scientist Vittoria Vetra. Together they embark on a frantic hunt through sealed crypts, dangerous catacombs, deserted cathedrals, and the most secretive vault on the earth... the long-forgotten Illuminati lair.
I liked Angels and Demons when I first read it since all that fictional information rooted in facts, theories and speculations were fascinating. The action sequences and the Vatican crisis were only second to the wealth of trivia that Robert Langdon lectured me with. I read this after The Da Vinci Code back when the hype about the controversial book, as well as the movie, was at all time high. I was enthralled. I have always been interested in history (when it's not taught in a boring classroom), archaeology (I had once vowed to be the next Lara Croft but I found out when I was applying for college that my chosen university just had a graduate program in archaeology) and mysteries. After reading Robert Langdon, I was walking around like a peacock that comes with intriguing new information.
Undergraduate and graduate research tamed that cockiness, in addition to my own research about all the "facts" presented in these books.
Yet I'm still fascinated, intrigued because even if we could study all the archival evidence we could get our hands on, debate both sides of a Möbius strip while high on coffee and be as fanatical about our own beliefs and investigations there is the simple fact that we were not intimately, physically there and then to witness these things being done. We are just the products of those, contenting ourselves with what the remnants that descended from them. Plus, fact is stranger than fiction. Everything has its foundation.
However, I was not as engaged as I was when I was rereading Angels and Demons for the past two days.
Info-dumping. It felt like I was in a classroom where my history teacher was droning on and on. Much as the lesson was interesting, info-dumping was not the way to go. Jesus, stop sugarcoating it. Sometimes, it was boring as hell. Heck, I fell even fell asleep. I skipped pages, skimmed read and just flew threw the last pages and stopped when the Conclave was confronting the villain. Perhaps because I already the knew the story, what will happen, who the real villain was, that I just lost interest. I still finished it. Yay, for perseverance!