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April 2017

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whatever happens

I'm re-reading The DaVinci Code as an audiobook, and as happens with audiobooks, listening to it is a far different experience than reading it. When you're listening, you can't skim, and every flaw (and every beauty) of the writing is inescapable.

In this book, it's chiefly the flaws. Don't get me wrong. I like the book, and I'm glad it was published. The authors of the scholarly tome from which Brown took much of his material, who are now attempting to sue him, are whiners who should just shut up. (Or opportunistic jerks. I dunno.) You have to give Brown credit - he took an idea whose time had definitely come, and wrapped it up in a genre that's wildly popular. I love it that the book is so widely circulated, and that *gasp* it even makes people think.

(As for the religious aspects, I won't go into that here. Those of you who know me well can imagine my thoughts on that, and I have no intention of starting problems with the rest of you.)

The downside is that, stripped of its theme, it's about on the level of Michael Crichton's books. In fact, they are similar in style. Points:

* Both authors have done a lot of research, all of which they somehow cram into the story in whatever way they can, even if it interrupts the flow. Flashbacks abound, as do lectures by wiser characters to the unenlightened character(s). "Too much exposition" is rampant.

* Both authors have cookie-cutter characters, tools of the plot, who remain undeveloped, despite attempts to make them interesting. For example, they have a need for the above-mentioned unenlightened character onto whom all their research will be unloaded, so they create one, give him/her a name, a background, and a few "interesting" quirks, and then shove them out onto their pre-ordained path. The result is cardboard. The characters never have a life of their own.

* Both authors create a so-called plot which allows them the most possible opportunity to present the above-mentioned research, with only a passing nod to logic, character motivations, or anything else which normally moves a story.

* Both authors write in a predictable, genre-related fashion, as if by a playbook. "End the chapter on a question or suspenseful/scary problem" is their favorite rule. Listening, I always know when a chapter will end. The "gasp" factor signals it like the falling of an anvil.

* Both authors gloss over huge gaps in logic, thereby sacrificing their "science" for the plot as ruthlessly as they sacrifice plot for their "science".

It's the suspense equivalent of a romance author who's gotten carried away with an interesting profession or place in her story. The difference is, of course, that romance authors are more humble honest. There's no pretension there.

After all that, you're probably wondering what I liked about the book! Well, the ideas were new to me, and much more interesting than, say, dinosaur cloning. And it's not a bad book, it's just not a good one. Mind candy. And there's nothing wrong with that. Not really. As long as you know that's what it is.

Comments

I agree with all of your points. The one that probably bothers me the most is

* Both authors have cookie-cutter characters, tools of the plot, who remain undeveloped, despite attempts to make them interesting. For example, they have a need for the above-mentioned unenlightened character onto whom all their research will be unloaded, so they create one, give him/her a name, a background, and a few "interesting" quirks, and then shove them out onto their pre-ordained path. The result is cardboard. The characters never have a life of their own.

As you know, I'm all about characters. I like having a good plot, too, of course, but I'll deal with a lousy plot if the characters are good.

Having said that, as you know, I did like the book, despite its flaws, but I'd never recommend it without pointing them out. Interesting that the flaws are more glaring on audiobook.
Oh, and btw, I love your icon. Can I steal it, or is it yours and yours alone?
It belongs to Zora, but I'm sure she won't mind you using it!
Sure, you can use it! If you're feeling generous though, I'd love a credit for it in the Comments section. *sheepish smile*
Thank you! ^_^ It really caught my eye. I'll definitely credit you when I use it. I always credit icon makers if I know who they are. Kat says its okay to friend you?
Thank you! Yeah, it's just fine with me if you friend me! I just forgot to answer the e-mail she sent me for entirely too long. Heh.
Okay, thanks! I'll credit her for it when I use it. ^_^