Da Vinci Code on audio is well-performed, fast-paced and hopelessly predictable. Review by Violet Kane

Book Cover

On Audio
In recent years, Da Vinci Code has become the defining example of "bestsellerism" in contemporary fiction. You know the type—page-turning thrillers with movie adaptation written all over them. I had heard mixed reviews for years on this novel from my friends, family, professors and internet colleagues. I decided, finally, to give it a try on audiobook, as I am willing to suffer almost anything on audio. By this point in the review, my preconceived opinions of this book should be clear, but I wanted to give the book a fair shake, to see what all the fuss, the accolades and the criticism were about.

Book Cover

In Print
I will skip the synopsis, as I suspect only Siberian hermits have no idea what this book is about. I will start, out of a sense of fairness, with the aspects of this book where I recognized a positive appeal. Dan Brown's use of research in this novel is well-chosen and well-placed so as to let a mass market audience of ordinary folks (i.e. non-specialists in whatever field he happens to be talking about at the time) enjoy feeling intellectual as they read. It allows the average American homebody to feel transported into an adventurous world of European travel to "see" sights they likely never intend to visit. Many of the puzzles that the main characters of this book must crack are interesting and challenging, provided you don't guess them ahead of time (the figuring out of the solutions is laboriously drawn out to the point of being infuriating when one knows what's coming, as I did in some, but not all, instances). Puzzles, however, do not literature make. None of the characters manage to rise above cardboard cutout status—and worse, in the case of Sir Teebing, this character is rife with stereotypes of the elitist Englishman. The story is driven forward, not by character choices and motivations, but by the pursuit of our characters by their enemies and by the curiosity of solving the next puzzle. The characters are always predictable and never surprising. When characters do make decisions to affect the story, such as Sofia's choice to trust Langdon and a certain character's dramatic twist ending, they are the type of decisions you've seen characters make a million times before in Hollywood movies and page-turner novels.

Da Vinci Code is ultimately intellectualism prepackaged for the masses. If you read fiction in order to apprehend new dimensions of the human experience, then be warned, you'll only find trite and tired ones in this novel.

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Violet "Violanthe" Kane is the Webmaster and Founder of ARWZ.com. She is an editor of ARWZ Literary Zine and is currently pursuing a Master's degree in Medieval studies.