Friday, 13 January 2017

Review: Angels & Demons by Dan Brown

Title: Angels & Demons
Series: Robert Langdon #1
Author: Dan Brown
Publisher: Corgi
Pages: 620
Genres: Thriller, Suspense

CERN Institute, Switzerland: a world-renowned scientist is found brutally murdered with a mysterious symbol seared onto his chest.

The Vatican, Rome: the College of Cardinals assembles to elect a new pope. Somewhere beneath them, an unstoppable bomb of terrifying power relentlessly counts down to oblivion.

In a breathtaking race against time, Harvard professor Robert Langdon must decipher a labyrinthine trail of ancient symbols if he is to defeat those responsible - the Illuminati, a secret brotherhood presumed extinct for nearly four hundred years, reborn to continue their deadly vendetta against their most hated enemy, the Catholic Church.
Angels and Demons is the first book in a series that features chronic bachelor, Robert Langdon, a professor of religious iconology. Doesn't sound that interesting right? Wrong. Langdon is actually a very handy man to have around when the Illuminati resurfaces and murders a physicist by branding a strange symbol on his chest. A physicist who happens to be a priest of the Catholic church and who also believes he has found scientific proof of God's hand in the creation of the universe. Scandalous. Turns out a professor of religious iconology is bloody fascinating, who would have thought? Not me before reading this book.

I love a intelligent, bookish man in tweed and I just really liked Robert Langdon as a character, Mickey Mouse watch and all. Vittoria Vetra on the other hand, is another matter. She is the murdered physicist's adopted daughter and a scientist in her own right. She started off as smart and independent but as the book went on she just became like a prop to the story in order to add an element of eye candy and sexual tension. Sadly, by the end of the book, Vittoria was just a cardboard cut out woman that was inserted into the story for Robert to be distracted by. That was kinda rubbish to be honest and I wished her character had more of a role.

I am not going to deny this book is a page turner, the chapters are short, the tension is high - the piecing together of the puzzle was interesting but I just felt like there wasn't much substance under all of that. Which is odd considering there is a humongous load of historical detail on Vatican City, renaissance artists, symbols, papal politics, etc.  I just wanted a little more of a deeper look into it all. For instance, the identity of the assassin and how he was recruited is never really revealed and was glossed over in favour of the big twist at the end.

Overall, this was a really fun book. Very fast paced and plot driven. It's great for what it is, an engaging, suspenseful thriller. I think it would disappoint someone who wants something with a bit more character development.

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