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The Da Vinci Code by Dan Brown

Wednesday, April 16th, 2008

Yesterday, I finished The Da Vinci Code. Having had an inordinately religious Childhood replete with a lot of conspiracy theories and contrarian views on organized religion and the Catholic church I had been mildly interested in the story for some time.

Mildly because it’s all a bit boring to me now and because the time for me to take religion personally has long come and gone. That this book made such a stir on these old favorite themes of mine was enough for me to want to read it someday, but on the other hand I thought it was trying to debunk beliefs I no longer cared much about.  So I never paid much attention to the hype and only bought it because it was one of the only English-language novels in the bookstore I had shopped at.

It turns out that it was very different than I had imagined. I had imagined a more antagonistic view of religion and didn’t know it also purported to be a thriller.  On the former I think it is for the better and as to the latter it reduced it to cheap Hollywood-esque fare for me.

I admired the very rich work with riddles, puzzles, twists and wordplay. I enjoyed the art and the history details, with all their embellishments, and I enjoyed the core concept of the Holy Grail and Mary Magdalene.

What ruined it for me was the modern setting for the conspiracy and the modern “fugitive movie” genre it reduced itself to. At no point in the plot could I stop questioning it’s idiocy and enjoy a decent suspension of disbelief. And as the plot unfolded it got progressively weaker.

I think the author might have known as much as well, he added backstory of the grandfather loving to play treasure hunts and riddles in what I see as pre-empting the readers’ notion that the novel’s plot is a childlike easter egg hunt trying to take itself seriously as an edge-of-your-seat thriller. But the twists he added at the end made it even weaker and the ending was anti-climatic and did more to simply tie down the ends of the plot than provide any climax.

The last novel I read, Michael Crichton’s State of Fear also couldn’t suspend disbelief for me in its own silly race around the globe. I wonder if my imagination has become old and brittle….