Book Review: Angels and Demons
There is really no way to review this book and avoid mentioning The Da Vinci Code. Angels and Demons is quite literally the prequel to the famed best seller, though in truth the only connection is that they both feature Harvard professor Robert Langdon as the protagonist. The events in this book are only off mentioned in The Da Vinci Code but the adventure that occurred is anything but small.
The book begins much like its sequel, with a mysterious murder. Robert Langdon is called onto the scene because of his expertise in symbols and this death involves one of the most ancient and significant symbols branded onto the murder victim’s chest.
The victim is revealed as Leonardo Vetra, a scientist at a company called CERN. They remain mostly in the shadows, but some of biggest evolutions in science were made at said company.
After investigating the matter it is theorized that the ancient cult, the Illuminati, has resurfaced and are setting Christianity in their crosshairs. Long believed as a scientific and rational group, the Illuminati have been at war with religion for centuries, the apparent victor religion, since the Illuminati had been thought extinct. Confused by the implications, Robert Langdon soon meets up with Vittoria Vetra, Leonardo’s daughter and he learns of the unstable substance Antimatter that Vittoria’s father was creating.
Now to be used as a weapon by the Illuminati, Langdon and Vetra must race to Rome in an attempt to retrieve the Antimatter and prevent the deaths of countless innocent lives.
Having read The Da Vinci Code first, I wondered how there could possibly be a prequel to the book. How could any story be as epic as the one in Robert Langdon’s current adventure? Well Angels and Demons is certainly an epic adventure. Where The Da Vinci Code took on Jesus Christ, Angels and Demons takes on God himself (or herself). The book brings into light the age old debate of science versus religion, but puts an exciting twist on it as well as a time lock that sends Robert and Vittoria on a wild goose chase through Rome.
The book really is quite exciting and rivals The Da Vinci Code for both entertainment value and thought provoking questions. Dan Brown takes neither side in the debate, but rather examines the value of both and leaves the interpretation up to the reader. Why anyone would ever be angry by either of these books is a mystery to me. If anything these books get you to really think about other possibilities and see through the eyes of the opposition.
The book suffers a few notable problems. The very beginning is a little too fast paced for my tastes and leaves several chapters as nothing more than paragraphs. We don’t get a whole lot of anything as the author races to get the characters to some place important. And the ending, I felt, dragged on a little longer than it needed to. It was interesting, but it seemed like there were three or four climaxes in there; no matter how much you like the book, it can sometimes feel like Dan Brown is just screwing with you.
There are a few cheesy lines throughout, but all in all I would say it’s a fun book that will hold your attention and perhaps get you to question a few of your “norms.” My favorite part of the book was unquestionably the race through Rome to discover the location of the Antimatter. It reminded me more of The Da Vinci Code and the puzzle solving elements I enjoyed from that book.
4 out of 5