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BOOK REVIEW: The Da Vinci Code
I just finished listening to the audiobook of this and my opinions on it haven't changed much since I started it. I can tell why this book is popular, it hits a lot of notes that people like to read about; conspiracies, the Church, the Holy Grail, puzzles, riddles, ancient societies, etc. I had a couple of problems with it though.

The first is that the writing and dialogue are not subtle, ever. The first time the two main characters meet I just kept waiting for them to just start kissing passionately, even though they're at a murder scene. Even though you might not know exactly how you're going to get there, the end result of the book is pretty much in sight the whole time. My other main problem is that the puzzles and riddles are way too clever. And not clever in the 'You fooled me, clever author' sense, clever in the 'I can't believe what a clever author I am' sense. Everything in the book fits together; the characters all have weird connections to each other. The characters have connections to things that help them solve the puzzles. The bad guys have connections to each other and to the object everyone is chasing. It's like a house of cards, if one of the characters hadn't done exactly what they did or said exactly what they said, the whole thing would have fallen apart. The "reveal" of the identity of the main bad guy is where I lost it. When you reveal a secret identity as someone who's already in the story the reader should go 'Oh, that makes sense.' In this one, not only did I think it immediately didn't make sense, the author spent the next 5 minutes having the character tell me why it really does makes sense. I should be able to do that on my own, thanks. If you're interested in this type of book, I would recommend reading Foucault's Pendulum by Umberto Eco. It covers a lot of the same conspiracy, ancient order, Knights Templar ground but is like comparing a planet to an apple in comparison to this book.

I also had an issue with the voices used. The book takes place in Paris and London so there are a lot of different accents. The voice actor doing the book is very good with accents but it's a little bit too much. At the end the characters go to Scotland; as soon as I heard the actor describe a character as having a 'thick brogue' I thought 'Oh no' and I was then assaulted with that character's accent. A little bit of accent goes a very long way with an audiobook.

If anyone's been paying attention to the Books sidebar you'll notice that I've replaced Quicksilver with The Complete Book of Scriptwriting by J. Michael Straczynski with no Review for Quicksilver. The reason for that is that I had to put aside Quicksilver without finishing it, which I hate to do. The book is just too damn slow. It's been awhile since I read Cryptonomicon (for which Quicksilver is the first of a prequel trilogy) and even though it's a thick book I don't remember it being slow. The first part of Quicksilver is the part I thought I would like better since it's about Isaac Newton and a bunch of other scientists during the beginnings of real science in England. Unfortunately it was just so slow and mannered with very little happening that I couldn't wait for the chapters set years later on a ship bound for England from America. I like books that hit me with ideas, good writing or dialogue to study, or just make me think. Unfortunately Stephenson has adopted such a labored prose style for this book that I have a hard time getting into it. An Instance of the Fingerpost is a good comparison to Quicksilver in time period (and not much else) but it doesn't get bogged down and ponderous. If I could just sit and read that book to the exclusion of everything else, I might think differently about it but I can't do that. When I read a book I'm also probably reading at least one magazine, my weekly comic books, and a ton of stuff on the web in between so if nothing happens in 3 or 4 sessions of reading my main book I lose interest in it quick. When I've read a couple of other faster things and get back into Quicksilver I'll try making it my only reading for awhile and see if I can get more into it. I'll have a full report when I finish it.