I won’t say I hated this book, but it was a struggle to get through it. The questions were never ‘Is Robert Langdon going to get out of this’ but rather how is he going to get out of this. And I agree with certain reviews that the story seemed really contrived (a bad thing for a made up story!)
Perhaps it is the fact that I had so recently read Digital Fortress that made me less impressed with this novel than I expected to be. Whatever the case, I spent much of the book thinking “just get to the point already.” I didn’t feel any of that real sense of urgency or intrigue that I felt when reading The Da Vinci Code. I think this book really made me realize that Brown’s plots are all “by the numbers” stories.
To be fair, the main purpose of the Robert Langdon stories is the discussion of myths and symbols and how they tie into vast conspiracies, therefore that is going to be the main impetus of the story. And Brown’s books are most certainly general fiction, so he is going to cater to the masses. Keep It Simple Stupid! I couldn’t help but think of National Treasure throughout this whole book. I half expected them to find great heaps of treasure somewhere in Washington.
One thing that didn’t annoy me as much here was something that was aggravating in Deception Point. In that book, more than once the action was stopped while Brown pointed out some motive for the viewpoint character. In this story, perhaps because there were fewer viewpoint characters, the later chapters of the book were devoted much more to action than exposition. Mal’akh didn’t stop in the middle of his ritual to say “Oh, by the way, an interesting fact about this building that few people know . . .” or something like that, which is sometimes what happened in Deception Point.
So again I ask the question: Will I read more Dan Brown in future? Yes, but I think I’ll give his other works a wide berth for several months before I do.