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on 18 March 2005
Very enjoyable. However it should be noted that this is an abridged version. It dosen't tell you that in the details.
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on 14 July 2005
I picked this up because it's the end of term, my brain isn't fully functional and I wanted an entertaining page turner. And I wanted to find out what all the fuss was about. I was massively disappointed. This is a truly terrible book. Amzingly so. The cliches and plain poor writing bring the story to a shuddering halt over and over as the eye panics and can't believe that that is quite what was written there. It;s like you are sub-editing it, as if you are the first person to read it and you are writng notes for the author. Can't really say that, Dan; you've used that cliche on the previous page twice already, Dan; this is just undigested research, Dan. And the story is absolute tosh from beginnig to end. Based on fact, my big toe! Wouldn't recommend it to anyone, at all, ever. Absolute twaddle.
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on 16 July 2005
I will be totally honest and confess that all the hype about this book put me off reading it for a long time. However, it was given to me as a birthday present and it would have been rude to not give it a try. Well, I've read it and I really can't see what the fuss is all about.
The writing style is stilted and clumsy. There are many errors and don't get me started on the way in which Mr Brown continually manufactures cliff-hangers for almost every chapter.If that is the only way he can make his readers want to read on then so be it, but it annoyed me beyond measure. I mean, how many times can someone open a box, gasp in disbelief at the contents and then not describe them for another three chapters?
My favourite spate of bad writing comes quite early on, during the drive from the Louvre to the American Embassy. Sophie has been thinking back about "the terrible thing" she saw her grandfather doing without ever letting the reader in on the secret. However, the moment she decides to think about it is when she is trying to escape the police in a high speed chase. She is driving and I'm pretty sure she would be better off concentrating on the road.
Best of all though is the drive from the Louvre to the embassy. On page 190, Sophie sets off, knowing that it is less than half a mile to get there. On page 192, after driving directly towards the embassy, she sighs with relief as now there is less than a mile to go. I've never been to Paris but the authorities really should do something about the spatial rift that apparently exists there. Generally, when I drive towards something, I get nearer to it, not further away.
The ending is very weak too but I won't spoil it for you. The author has already done that.
It's not a terrible book but it could have been so much better. Read "The Name Of The Rose" if you want an intelligent thriller. If you must read this then at least see the flaws and appreciate that they stretch into the supposed revelatory theories as well.
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on 2 September 2010
The famous Civil Servant sat at his computer typing. His wife entered, gazing in awe at his finely toned figure.
"What are you doing?" she questioned?
"I'm writing a review of the Da Vinci Code' he replied. "As you know, it was published in 1997, the year that the Vatican assassinated Stephen Hawking for questioning whether or not the world was round"
"Is this the Da Vinci Code that was the very exciting thriller?"
"Or so it is believed" replied the famous civil servant "but take a look at this". He handed her a large illustrated tomb entitled 'The Da Vinci Code'
His wife gazed at the book and the writing, and then suddenly gasped aloud
"But...but it's just a load of poorly put together sentences, two dimensional characters and obvious plot twists, mainly narrated by the clean cut hero in a patronising manner to his female assistant? How could Dan Brown ever hope to make this a best seller?"
"That is the cunning part" replied the increasingly handsome and clever civil servant. "In order for Dan Brown to be proclaimed saviour of the thriller novel, he had to be made to look controversial. So he chucked in a load of nonsense that he vaguely remembered from reading The Holy Blood and the Holy Grail so that his novel would seem subversive and sticking it to the man (or god). Then he put in an introduction stating that all the facts were true so people thought they were actually learning something new. And because the novel is attacking organised religion, anyone who criticised the book could be seen to be an agent of the church"

Meanwhile, 300 miles away, the hunchbacked crippled albino.....
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VINE VOICEon 25 April 2006
I am nothing if not a contrary reader. Seeing, hearing and reading the villification of Dan Brown across every medium and context finally drove me to pick up a relative's copy of a book about which I'd been previously ambivalent. I felt sorry for Dan Brown. Now, having read the book, I remain ambivalent: it's a run-of-the-mill thriller.

It certainly doesn't justify the mania which has sprung up around it. Indeed I find it frankly odd that anyone who had actually read the story could find it so objectionable. It purports to be nothing more than fiction and even the few 'truths' or challenging religious premises on which the story claims to be based are not ones originated by Brown - nor does he claim them as his own.

Far from it in fact. Chapter 38 encapsulates and refutes this whole misconception nicely and somewhat self-effacingly; in it the central character (an American author/academic) tries to pitch the basic plot of the novel to his publisher and thereby acknowledges that the plot is neither credible nor original. Methinks the reader doth protest too much about The Da Vinci Code.

Dismissing Dan Brown as charlatan, conspiracy theorist supreme or the next Eric Von Daniken is unfair. It also misses the point and attaches undue importance to his stature as an author. Brown has done nothing more than take a fantastic, discredited but irresistible premise as laid out in 'Holy Blood, Holy Grail' (the book whose authors unsuccessfully challenged the Da Vinci movie and which he explicitly credits in the book) and constructed a passable mystery/thriller around it.

It's not a great thriller. But it's more 'big print Foucault's pendulum' than 'chariots of the gods'. If a book's heft is of any consequence, picking up The Da Vinci Code is not reassuring; it feels horribly light and cheaply produced. I won't go into any detail about the main plot because it's been done to death and by now is not likely to be a clincher for any waverers who haven't decided whether to read or avoid it yet. I think rather that the most useful message I can convey by way of a 'review' for potential readers is this is an enjoyable page-turner, written in fast-paced real-time.

It's not elegantly written. It's not thought-provoking nor educationally improving. Sophie Neveu's convoluted back story gilded the lily somewhat, as did the numerous other extraneous twists; less is more. Brown's style is unsubtle and often irritating: he seems to randomly divide a sentence into two, rendering the second in italics for inappropriate effect. He also pads out the novel with repeated plot points, flagging and reflagging the direction the story is taking, over-using the same devices and contriving to leave every short chapter on a startling revelatory hook - like a low-brow TV documentary going to a commercial break. Finally the two crucial 'cryptexes' of the mystery were anything but cryptic to anyone with even a bluffer's knowledge of the Templars, Hebrew and the single most trite fact every child can recall about Sir Isaac Newton. To endure page after page of supposed international authorities on the subject grope around for the solution is perhaps the least credible part of the whole story.

I object to the snobbish disdain meted out to Dan Brown but I have to concede at times the book panders to the reader with a low attention span who probably doesn't read a lot and picked up the novel on a whim in a railway station branch of Smith's.

It doesn't deserve all the furore and tabloidy criticism. Nor does it deserve to be a massive blockbuster however. It's just OK.
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on 27 July 2004
I notice there are some reviews giving the Da Vinci Code 1 star and slating it as rubbish. Whilst others give it 5 stars and claim it's the best thing since sliced bread. These polarised reviews aren't terribly helpful. It seems that some people picked up this book in search of spiritual enlightenment, and were disgusted when they failed to find it.
Anyway, here's what I think:
This book is GOOD FUN. No more, no less. If you want a book that will captivate you with its wonderful literature I recommend Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy, if you want a book that will have you turning pages in an excited blur I recommend The Da Vinci Code by Dan Brown.
I read quite frequently and I can honestly say that it's been a long time since I last read a book which is this exciting. I concede that Brown's turn of phrase can be a little childish at times, but he set out to write a 'thriller' and has delivered one of the best.
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on 13 August 2004
I enjoyed this book and part of the enjoyment was that it was so predictable and ultimately disposable. The story reads like a "how to write a sensational thriller"; intellectual hero, beautiful girl, crazy killer and, of course, a secret society.
Interestingly I read Brown's earlier book, "Angels and Demons" after I had read "Code". It is almost identical... in the first two pages someone is horribly murdered (by the crazed killer) and within five pages Langdon meets the victim's beautiful daughter. Glorious romp, very enjoyable and you don't feel bad about never seeing the book again when you leave it on the train or lend it to somebody.
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on 23 December 2003
I was lent this book by a friend whose recommendations I normally value. This time she was dead wrong. Okay, I admit that I read the book all the way through - the premise in itself is fascinating. However, the plotting, characterisation and dialogue are just awful, and no number of references to Gnosticism, Mary Magdalene or the Priory of Sion can lift the story above holiday-only reading. You know that a writer is rubbish when he insists on mentioning the name and technical attributes of every gun, aircraft, car etc. He's more interested in his guns than his central characters, who are paper thin. But worst of all, Brown's book reeks of smug American parochiality - all the European characters are crass stereotypes, and the villain of the piece, Sir Leigh Teabing (yeah right)has dialogue so awful you expect Dick Van Dyke to jump out from behind the curtains and bang on about "Meery Poppins". Why is it that Americans seem to think we have three stock accents and are unfamiliar with the principles of electricity? Oh, I've said enough. There are plenty of great thrillers. This isn't one.
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on 1 February 2006
This has got to be one of the most overated and poorly written books I have had the misfortune to read. It has an interesting premise, but proves to be jaw-droppingly bad in its execution. It put me in mind of some of the creative writing I used to produce at secondary school - full of obvious phrases, a similie in every line and every thought and action of the characters Spelled. Out. In. Short. Words. And. Sentences.
Potential readers looking for a more substantial, better researched and better written book dealing with similar material should look to Focault's Pendulum by Umberto Eco.
I read the Da Vinci Code to see what the fuss was about and discovered it was about nothing.
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on 8 November 2009
I was very disappointed by this book, blurbed as "one of the finest mysteries" which I actually found pretty obvious and straightforward for the most part. I found the initial set up for the adventure to be pretty daft and hole ridden (why didn't the curator run, why weren't there more fail-safes?). My hopes from the start were pretty slim when on one of the first page it stated "All descriptions of... secret rituals in this novel are accurate". And as soon as it was 'revealed' that the code and secrets were involved with the Holy Grail I gave up pretty much all hope.

The story telling is clumsy, with the extremely short chapters making the book seem extremely bitty. The painfully slow hinting and eventual revealing of various backgrounds and histories are quite painful. It works as a mystery in that once you've started reading it, it's hard to stop, but I wouldn't recommend it to anyone unless they're interested in grail history.
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