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March 21, 2004

The Da Vinci Code: That's not good

I’m not normally an emperor-has-no-clothes kind of guy, but am I the only one who thought Dan Brown’s The Da Vinci Code was really not a good book?

I’m not high-brow when it comes to fiction. I’m really more of a non-fiction kind of guy; I like fiction, but I don’t have any reliable metrics to help me choose fiction that I might like. I liked Stephen King for years, but then he got unreliable; long ago I read lots of science fiction. These days, I usually hang back for whatever my wife strongly recommends.

At any rate, The Da Vinci Code was just poorly written. I got most of the way through it, then put it down for two months with something like 75 pages to go. That’s a sign that it really wasn’t doing the job for me – a thriller should glue itself to your fingers. I finally finished it in case the last 75 pages were the best – but to no avail. The book didn’t actually have exclamation points after every other sentence, but it had that feel about it.

11/04: This entry from Language Log makes the case far better than I can. Poor writing may not be the root of all evil, but it's deeply implicated.


I have to agree that it's not as good as its predecessor Angels and Demons. It was OK, but I don't think the plot hung together as well nor did the pacing work as well as the earlier book.

On a related note, I just finished The Golden Compass, the first of His Dark Materials, and I'm at a loss as to why it gets such high praise. I didn't think it was all that well-written or conceived: comparisons to Harry Potter are way off the mark.

You have to wonder what other people have been reading when they label a given work as a world-beater.

The Da Vinci Code was just blah. Perhaps its reputation is all buzz.

The writing was poor. The characters were trite. And it needs illustrations.