Angels and Demons – Dan Brown

Angels & Demons (Robert Langdon, #1)

From the Publisher:

Before The Da Vinci Code was broken, the world lay at the mercy of Angels and Demons. – Not very descriptive, is it? I found another goodreads description that was much more detailed, and much more superfluous.

It takes guts to write a novel that combines an ancient secret brotherhood, the Swiss Conseil Européen pour la Recherche Nucléaire, a papal conclave, mysterious ambigrams, a plot against the Vatican, a mad scientist in a wheelchair, particles of antimatter, jets that can travel 15,000 miles per hour, crafty assassins, a beautiful Italian physicist, and a Harvard professor of religious iconology. It takes talent to make that novel anything but ridiculous. Kudos to Dan Brown (Digital Fortress) for achieving the nearly impossible. Angels & Demons is a no-holds-barred, pull-out-all-the-stops, breathless tangle of a thriller–think Katherine Neville’s The Eight (but cleverer) or Umberto Eco’s Foucault’s Pendulum (but more accessible).

Harvard symbologist Robert Langdon is shocked to find proof that the legendary secret society, the Illuminati–dedicated since the time of Galileo to promoting the interests of science and condemning the blind faith of Catholicism–is alive, well, and murderously active. Brilliant physicist Leonardo Vetra has been murdered, his eyes plucked out, and the society’s ancient symbol branded upon his chest. His final discovery, antimatter, the most powerful and dangerous energy source known to man, has disappeared–only to be hidden somewhere beneath Vatican City on the eve of the election of a new pope. Langdon and Vittoria, Vetra’s daughter and colleague, embark on a frantic hunt through the streets, churches, and catacombs of Rome, following a 400-year-old trail to the lair of the Illuminati, to prevent the incineration of civilization.

Brown seems as much juggler as author–there are lots and lots of balls in the air in this novel, yet Brown manages to hurl the reader headlong into an almost surreal suspension of disbelief. While the reader might wish for a little more sardonic humor from Langdon, and a little less bombastic philosophizing on the eternal conflict between religion and science, these are less fatal flaws than niggling annoyances–readers should have no trouble skimming past them and immersing themselves in a heck of a good read. “Brain candy” it may be, but my! It’s tasty. –Kelly Flynn

My thoughts:

I should mention that the only reason I read this book was because I needed a book set in the Vatican for a reading challenge.  I barely managed to finish it.  I don’t know that much about the Catholic church, but even I could tell that the author made some glaring mistakes.  Same thing when it comes to what he wrote about CERN.  If you use a real religion, as well as real places in your writing, in my humble opinion you should research them a little better.  The story also seemed rushed, most of the action happening in the course of 4-5 hours.  There was just something off about the way that he wrote his action scenes, and I just can’t quite put my finger on it other than say they felt too rushed.  The story line wasn’t believable at all, and the characters fell flat.  Since there is really nothing positive that I can say about this book, I’m going to stop here.  It wasn’t my cup of tea.


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