Throwback Thursday: The DaVinci Code

DaVinciCodeYou know how sometimes a book gets SO big that it gets read by literally everyone, even people who don’t like to read? When I was in high school that happened to The DaVinci Code. 

It was a book that inspired passionate opinions. One person told me if I read it I would go to hell. Another person told me that they were reading it because “you have to know what the other side thinks.” One of my best friends like it enough that she then proceeded to read every Dan Brown book ever written, and enjoyed Digital Fortress so much that she took the phrase “without wax” as her personal motto, and signed all our yearbooks that way. Still another friend told me it was absolute crap and she didn’t know what the big deal was.

Eventually the fervor died down, and now every Half Price Books in the world has more copies stacked on their shelves than they know what to do with, like Twilight or Harry Potter. But my husband and I both enjoyed it well enough that we still own a copy. Side note, before he met me my husband read like, five books, and the fact that one of them was The DaVinci Code really says something about either the book or the fad, don’t know which.

What You Need to Know

It’s a fast paced thriller.
Dan Brown books are real page turners. Unputdownable was probably originally coined by book bloggers during this craze. You know, cliffhangers at the end of every chapter, the characters constantly on the run, that sort of thing.

The DaVinci Code follows Robert Langdon, a scholar of symbolism who is called in to view a gruesome crime scene. When he discovers that the police think he is the murderer, but that the victim has left him a message containing clues to the location of the Holy Grail, he and a rogue cop make a run for it. The next twenty four hours are a sweeping adventure trying to outrun the police, the murderer, and unravel thousands of years of history.

It isn’t always easy to separate fact from fiction.
Both The DaVinci Code and its prequel, Angels & Demons, are rooted in conspiracy theories. However, Dan Brown does quite a bit of research to find the facts surrounding these conspiracies. He then includes a fabulous amount of historically accurate information, and embeds the conspiracy inside. And he does not let the reader know which is which.

You’ll probably enjoy your first Dan Brown books the most.
Dan Brown’s thrillers are extremely formulaic, the way many mystery novels. They’re so formulaic that they get predictable. And because what makes these books exciting is the suspense, when they get predictable, you stop enjoying them. I summarized this phenomenon in my Goodreads review of Angels & Demons

After reading your first Dan Brown book: “Oh my gosh that was so exciting and interesting and amazing and I couldn’t put it down and it was so much fun and I have to read another!!!”

After reading your second Dan Brown book: “Yeah, that was pretty exciting and interesting, but it was kind of predictable.”

After reading your third Dan Brown book: “Okay, why did I like the last two so much?”

After reading your fourth Dan Brown book: “Oh my GOD that was so terrible!”

When all is said and done, The DaVinci Code is a fun read.
The conspiracy Dan Brown cooks up is fascinating! It’s a very impressive yarn he spins. Despite the fact that, yeah, the book is poorly written, you’ve got to give the man props for creativity. I don’t know, I like this book. Call it one of my guilty pleasures. And you know what? Whether they want to admit it or not, the rest of the world liked it too. How else would it sell over 80 million copies?

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