Saturday, May 20, 2006

Book Review: Da Vinci Code

Following my usual habit of trying to read the novel before viewing the movie, I went out and bought The Da Vinci Code from Chapters. Mostly, I was curious to see what all the hoopla was about. I've just finished the book, and here are my thought about it.

I have to say, right off the bat, I was disappointed in the book. I suppose that it was because of all the rave reviews that I've heard from other people that my expectations were high. Never having read a book in this type of gendre before (well, never to the end), I really hope other books of the same gendre won't be as disappointing.

There was too much detail, and it actually got boring at times. I spoke to someone at work who read through a 1/4 of the book before she stopped reading it, it was so boring for her.

Much of the plot hinges on very specific historical information and facts. In fact, the information is so specific, if Brown didn't detail out the intricacies, some of the story's rationale may not make sense. For me, the pagan history, symbology and etymology lessons were mildly interesting, but that's it. The constant repetition of rose symbology is one of the pivotal themes in the book, but it got a little too repetitious for me.

This book sort of reminded me of a murder thriller book I tried to read many years ago (sorry, can't remember the title or author). The author of this book was a real-life forensic scientist, and her specialty was blood splatter patterns. Yeah, the same sort of thing that they talk about on CSI. In this murder mystery, she goes into great depth about different types of blood splatter patterns, and how each pattern has a different meaning. While it was important to the plot that she had to go into that much depth to explain the character's reasoning, that book got tedious rather quickly. And so does The Da Vinci Code.

I think Sir Ian McKellen had expressed my feeling the best:
Sir Ian, who plays the Earl Grey-loving grail expert Sir Leigh Teabing in The Da Vinci Code, said before the film's world premiere yesterday: "While I was reading the book I believed it entirely. Clever Dan Brown twisted my mind convincingly. "But when I put it down I thought, 'What a load of ... [eloquent pause] potential codswallop." [Source]
But of course, he didn't mention that he read ahead like I did. That's a sure sign for me that the book is dragging on. And I thought it was codswallop even before I finished the book, thanks to my reading ahead which allowed me to think about the events a little more thoroughly.

I suppose that what makes this book sensational is that Dan Brown plays up the theory that Jesus Christ was married to Mary Magdalene, and stuff like this upsets the Church. And anything that causes this much ruckus tends to draw people in. (Being a Christian myself, I have thought about it from a Christian point of view, but won't put them here as this is suppose to be a book review.)

I did feel that the action did translate fairly well from book to screen; in my head, I could actually see the action happening. (Someone asked me tonight if I had ever pictured anyone other than Tom Hanks in the role of Robert Langston. Since I saw many pictures and trailers for The Da Vinci Code already, I couldn't picture anyone but Tom Hanks, not that I'm a fan of his). However, as I mentioned before, as the book is already bogged down by too much detail that is important to the forward movement of the plot, I don't think that will translate well to film. I've already had indications of that from the dismal ratings the film's gotten so far. A friend of mine had already seen the movie and he was telling me bits about the plot, and from his narration, it may be as I feared, that they cut out a lot of detail to make the film. (And it's already 2.5 hours long). I'll know for certain once I see the movie tomorrow night.

1 comment:

Paul M. Kingery said...

Dear Irene,
I invite you to write a short review of a new e-book Land of Canaan: Ancient Hope for Future Peace. You can see the full text free at online. Let me know what you think.