Origin by Dan Brown

Origin by Dan BrownOrigin by Dan Brown
Published by Doubleday Books on October 3rd 2017
Pages: 461
Format: Ebook, Hard Cover
Goodreads
one-star

Robert Langdon, Harvard professor of symbology and religious iconology, arrives at the ultramodern Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao to attend a major announcement—the unveiling of a discovery that “will change the face of science forever.” The evening’s host is Edmond Kirsch, a forty-year-old billionaire and futurist whose dazzling high-tech inventions and audacious predictions have made him a renowned global figure. Kirsch, who was one of Langdon’s first students at Harvard two decades earlier, is about to reveal an astonishing breakthrough . . . one that will answer two of the fundamental questions of human existence.

As the event begins, Langdon and several hundred guests find themselves captivated by an utterly original presentation, which Langdon realizes will be far more controversial than he ever imagined. But the meticulously orchestrated evening suddenly erupts into chaos, and Kirsch’s precious discovery teeters on the brink of being lost forever. Reeling and facing an imminent threat, Langdon is forced into a desperate bid to escape Bilbao. With him is Ambra Vidal, the elegant museum director who worked with Kirsch to stage the provocative event. Together they flee to Barcelona on a perilous quest to locate a cryptic password that will unlock Kirsch’s secret.

Navigating the dark corridors of hidden history and extreme religion, Langdon and Vidal must evade a tormented enemy whose all-knowing power seems to emanate from Spain’s Royal Palace itself . . . and who will stop at nothing to silence Edmond Kirsch. On a trail marked by modern art and enigmatic symbols, Langdon and Vidal uncover clues that ultimately bring them face-to-face with Kirsch’s shocking discovery . . . and the breathtaking truth that has long eluded us.

Dan Brown is definitely an author I love to hate. But for some reason with each book he releases, I find myself sucked back in to see what he has decided to take on this time. I like to give him a fair shake, and try to keep an open mind when reading his books, partly because he writes about atheists. So, much to be regret, I decided to give Origin a go.

The story begins with the protagonist – not Robert Langdon, he’s our tour guide – a Famous Atheist (TM) about to meet with the heads of three religious organisations to tell them he is about to make a public announcement that will rock their respective worlds.

Brown then introduces Robert Langdon, and uses him as a vehicle to explore a museum, aided by his own tour guide, an Artificial Intelligence. There is an awful lot of pretentious intellectual jerking off on the author’s part as he introduces the reader to a world that Dan Brown thinks is important, but never really comes up again.

The lecture on art and symbolism is interrupted when Langdon is dragged off to bear witness to the great announcement. A large part of the announcement is the author patting Langdon on the back, probably unnecessarily. This all ends abruptly, setting things in motion, forcing Langdon to unravel a conspiracy which reaches to the highest levels.

The most unforgivable conceit of this book for me is that the events of the book take place in the space of less than one day. You might struggle to find it difficult that a 400+ page book might be able to occur within the space of a day, and you would be right. An awful lot of things occur in that time period, and it is entirely unrealistic.

Langdon is accompanied by a young woman, who happens to be the fiance of the crown prince of Spain, which is her main reason for existing in the story. She is part Langdon’s handbag, part sea anchor, and part exposition mouthpiece as she is basically dragged all over Barcelona. She might as well have been the crown prince’s favourite parrot for all the good she did, and added to the story. One minute she will be begging Langdon not to do something stupid, and a few pages later when he begins to question his action, she is his biggest cheer squad. This is an atrociously stereotyped female character, and someone needs to tell Dan Brown to get his head out of his arse.

To cut a really bloody long story short, Origin is a 460 page synopsis of something that should be happening in a much more interesting novel. In hindsight I should have kept a tally of the times I said the phrase “oh fuck off” in response to the latest piece of contrived idiocy that the author has engaged in.

Dan Brown has interesting ideas, I will give you that, but he struggles to convert that interesting idea into a cohesive, interesting story about that idea. Origin is a horribly overwritten art gallery diorama with the world’s least interesting tour guide.

Dan Brown has burned me for the last time. I wish I had never wasted the roughly two weeks it took to read this doorstop of a book. This wasn’t helped by the number of times it literally put me to sleep.

I recommend that no one who values their time avoid reading this book. Unless you’re looking for an insomnia cure.

one-star
Rating Report
Plot
one-half-stars
Characters
half-star
Writing
half-star
Pacing
half-star
Cover
half-star
Overall: half-star

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