When a physicist/priest is murdered, the word Illuminati branded into his chest, and a quarter-gram of antimatter stolen, it's up to renowned symbologist Robert Langdon to find the goods and the murderer. But can he stop someone from using the antimatter as a weapon, even with hot physicist Vittoria Vetra in tow?
After all the hype, I managed to dodge this bullet for over a decade but when my girlfriend caught me in a vulnerable moment between books, I knew the time had come.
Overall, it was a fun read. It reminded me of a high tech Indiana Jones a lot of the time. However, at the end of the day, it was pretty much a by the numbers thriller, complete with forced sexual tension.
Like I said, it's pretty Indiana Jones-ish, except instead of an archaeologist who has crazy globe-trotting adventures, Langdon is a symbologist who has crazy globe-trotting adventures.
As much as I want to hate on this book, it's a page turner; Short chapters, nearly all of them ending on a cliffhanger. However, even for a thriller of this type, the plot seems a little overly complicated. A centuries old secret society is going to use some stolen antimatter to blow up the Vatican? Wouldn't it be easier to get a surplus nuke from the former Soviet Union?
The writing is so cheesy and over-dramatic I can't help but be amused. It's really pulpy but not in the good Raymond Chandler way. More like an early Doc Savage. Seriously, Langdon could have said "I'll be super-amalgamated" and it wouldn't have felt that out of place. It almost feels like Brown was trying to do a Black Dynamite-style commentary/spoof on conspiracy thrillers.
One thing I didn't enjoy is that the book suffers from "I did a bit of research so I'm going to cram it all in the dialogue" syndrome. There are infodumps galore and lots of redundant information, mostly about symbology. I'm not going to touch on the things that weren't researched and are erroneous since most movies have equally shitty fact checking.
I guess I'll rate it 3 stars. It's not well written or to any degree believable but it's a fun and exciting read, like a pack of Skittles for your brain. Not good but definitely entertaining. Not only that, Dan Brown's milkshake brings all the boys to the yard. Any book that gets so many non-readers reading gets a little slack from me.