I’ll admit that Dan Brown’s books are a bit of a guilty pleasure for me. I like the “running around Europe trying to discover another reason for the church to be pissed off” drama. Sadly, I think Origin might be the last Dan Brown book for me. Things are just getting too formulaic at this point.
Synopsis: One of Robert Langdon’s old students invites him to a mysterious high profile event that promises to challenge long held religious beliefs, and potentially change the future of humanity. The age old questions of “where do we come from?” and “where are we going?” have finally been answered by a major scientific discovery. But before the fundamental questions of human existence can be answered, a horrific event sends Langdon on a mad dash through Spain, accompanied by some unlikely allies.
Does that synopsis sound a bit familiar? Sure it does, because it’s basically the plot of every one of Dan Brown’s books. I can’t fault the man for realising he had a winning combination of intrigue and adventure that would ensure book sales for eternity, but I was really hoping for a somewhat different story. Basically all of Brown’s books can be summarised as follows:
1) Someone discovers a thing that will upset world religions/politics in some way
2) Robert Langdon happens to be friends with some random dude who gets killed because of said discovery
3) Langdon takes it upon himself to solve the mystery of his friend’s death (seriously, being one of Langdon’s male friends is basically a death sentence)
4) Some hot chick also becomes involved in the mystery
5) Langdon and hot chick run all over the place trying to put together the clues
6) A random outcast who is being controlled by a mysterious bad guy tries to kill them
7) Random outcast dies alone, often betrayed by the person controlling him
8) Bad guy is revealed to be someone who was supposed to be trustworthy
9) Langdon solves the case at the last minute
10) Langdon doesn’t get the girl
Rinse and repeat….
Having read all of Brown’s other books, I just don’t think that Origin is original enough. It was a fun romp around Spain, and there were a lot of great references to modern art, but all I kept thinking was “seriously… people really need to stop inviting Robert Langdon to events!” He’s not even a cool professor like Indiana Jones who is out looking for artefacts and gets into trouble. He just happens to be the WORST person to be friends with if you have anything to do with religion at all. Anyone in the clergy should avoid him like the plague, and if you find yourself involved in any project that even mentions God you should do a 6 degrees of separation to find out how long you have before the Langdon curse is going to kill you.
I think the most disappointing part of this book for me was the end. Without giving anything away, I just felt like Dan Brown spent 450 pages trying to prove to us that science trumps religion, and then spent the last 11 pages backpedalling. Pick a side, Dan!
(it was okay, but too formulaic)