I really enjoyed this book (unabridged version), and purchased it based on the excellent reviews the book has received. Having just now read reviews like that written by Stacey from Seattle -- "A Bestseller? A Travesty!" -- I was suprised the writing/plot fell so flat for some people.
There's not much I didn't like about this book. I found the characters increasingly easy to empathize with as the story progressed - sometimes surprisingly so. But what I *most* enjoyed was the way the references to historical works of art, as well as prominent persons and events in history, were woven throughout the story.
Not knowing details about much of the history discussed in the book, I now feel compelled to pull some related non-fiction texts from the library. For a book to be an entertaining fictional read/listen, and at the same time inspire you to want to learn more about real history, is an accomplishment in itself.
Stacey from Seattle criticizes the reptition of some sentences and phrases annoying...and maybe it would be if I were reading the book. But for an audio book, where you can't refer back a page or two, the repetition wasn't annoying and saved me having to press rewind repeatedly!
Sometimes things are resolved and then spelled out fully but, quite honestly (and no offense intended!), some people need it! Paul Michael also does a great job reading.
This book is perfect if your looking for something with a better than average plot but a below average reading level. Dan Brown is an excellent story maker, but a less than average story teller. Its a good story, a bit of a rehash of "Angels and Demons" but a good story on the same intellectual level as the Indiana Jones films or any other light hearted historic fiction.
The narration of the book is on par with the book. Average. Nothing great, but good enough.
Disregard my review of the abridged version. This one MUST be unabridged.
I listened to this book while I cleaned my house and kitchen--they've never been so clean! I totally got caught up in the mystery. When I came to the end, I was left wanting more.
Brown weaves the legends of the Church into a wonderful web that will keep you listening until it's finally unraveled. Brown clearly knows his stuff and the listener will find his story informative and provacative as well as enjoyable. The only reason I held back one star was that as he unfolds the mystery, Brown makes sure to go back and connect all the dots for the reader (listener), not trusting that his narrative is sufficiently strong, which it certainly is, that the the reader can make the connections her or himself. As for the narration, the strained accents and melodrama of the narrator can take some getting used to, but the story is so powerful that soon any awareness of the narration is left behind. A highly recommended choice!
Let's get to the positives: The narrator's voice was excellent. He did multiple characters and their multinational accents very well. He even nailed different types of british accents. Well done.
The not so great: The story is pretty average in quality. Unfortunately it is told very poorly by Dan Brown. He over uses the device where he tells you "something happened" and then ends a chapter without telling you what (with assurance that you'll find out a few chapters later.) In a book of 100 chapters, where easily 50 of them end this way, it becomes very tedious.
The books three main characters take turns becoming stupid so that the other two characters can explain something to the third suddenly stupid person. Clearly this could have been fixed by having a fourth "Alice in Wonderland" character that the other three explain things to.
I guess I am missing something but I don't see what all the fuss is about regarding this book. It did not do a great job of holding my attention and parts were boring. I suppose all the action-chase scenes will translate well into a movie, but I doubt I will go see it.
What a great work of fiction this is! I thoroughly enjoyed the book. People get all worked up over the possibility that some of this could be true. My friend says, "But it's based on fact." I tell him that a work of fiction based on fact, is still fiction. That there are some real facts in it simply makes it more interesting. The book is very well written, and very well read. Paul Michael does a superb job of reading. His accents are so convincing, I found myself forgetting that there wasn't a full cast of characters. The dialogue was very good as well.
My next listen will be "Truth and Fiction in The Da Vinci Code" by Bart D. Ehrman. It will be interesting to hear what a real historian has to say.
Read the book!
The basic premise explored by Dan Brown in the DaVinci Code had been set forth some 20 years earlier in books such as Holy Blood, Holy Grail. This premise of The DaVinci Code was not a surprise to those familiar with Henry Lincoln and his associates. A minor spate of books exploring the same or closely related topics have been published over the last 20 years. All these books are written from the perspective that the life and death of Jesus was significantly different from hundreds of years of Church teachings. The cryptic essence of the Holy Grail and the secret society that is the keeper of the "Grail Knowledge" provide the principal theme on which the plot hangs.
I say this, not to detract from Brown's efforts, but rather to point out that the major ideas that Brown weaves into this engrossing story are not unique to Brown. However, it is the novelization of these ideas for which Brown is to be commended. The DaVinci Code is a novel that takes these ideas and presents them in an exciting and overall well-crafted story. It holds your attention throughout. In the process, he introduces many new tidbits and topics of arcane interest, prior books not withstanding. Readers unfamiliar with the prior works will find The DaVinci Code full of esoterica and plot twists that will cause them take a more critical look at the religious dogma that have been carefully perpetuated and guarded by the Catholic Church and most of its off shoots for nearly two millennia.
On a negative note, Brown has a slight tendency to occasionally over explain and overkill a topic. However, on balance, I found the novel to be entertaining, informative and a technically satisfying read (listen).
When I first started reading this book early Saturday morning, I did not realize that I would end up neglecting food, shower, bathroom, and sleep for a full 16 hours.
This gripping tale in the quest for the Holy Grail perfectly captures the reader with the main character who, like the reader, is completely unaware of the adventure in store. Brown has character development down to an art and is an expert at providing the reader with information only when appropriate.
I enthusiastically encourage all to share this original and engaging novel!