The overall verdict: this is a book that either you will either fall in love with, or that you will hate. It’s rare to find an opinion in reviews that begs to differ.
In my opinion, it was a fast-paced page turner that kept me engaged and relatively entertained during the span of time that I was reading it, but there were still many holes that left me unsatisfied with the book as a whole with its completion.
The basic plot traces the story, both in a modern fictional account and in a “historical” context, of the search of the true holy grail-not only a treasure of time and religious history, but also one of deeper metaphorical symbolism. To provide a more in depth synopsis: a murder within the Louvre in tangent with clues hidden within the works of the great master Leonardo DaVinci (along with many other renowned thinkers and artists) leads to the discovery of a religious enigma hidden by a secret society for thousands of years, a secret that could cause catastrophic change in the base of worldwide religion.
Sounds a bit overdramatic with a dose of being formulaic, doesn’t it?
Brown weaves a fast-paced and entertaining read that leaves you with cliffhangers at every chapter’s conclusion, leaving you flipping the pages till the end. Read as a shallow summertime read is a good investment, however reading too deeply into the “historical facts” may prove dangerous. Taken as pure fiction many of the “historical facts” serve as fascinating concepts for future introspection on secrets societies, treasure, and religion as a whole-taken as fact; however, many prove to be a stretch. Brown treads a thin line in his historical accuracy, writing a story of fiction, but stating many of the facts as the complete truth when transferred over to our world. The main warning: read with a grain of salt.
The plot also leaves you with too many twists to count- one of the most entertaining aspects for me. One moment an ally seems like a foe, the next it is revealed who in fact the true enemy is, and the moment directly after it turns out that one of the main antagonists was actually good all along! (You get the point.) It serves to be highly entertaining, but by the third plot deception it leaves you wondering how much of a formula Brown had at his disposal, and if he really did intend to be so repetitive.
Another thing that particularly struck me was the fact that many of the plot occurrences seemed just too perfect to conspire in real life. Many aspects of the novel proved to be highly unrealistic, a romance where one would never take place in real life, the fact that one of the main emulated ideas in the story is that of a scared and empowered feminine-yet the main (and only) female protagonist is, although being portrayed as smart and beautiful, is forced to act powerless for large stretched in the plot, and that somehow the protagonists always end up where they were supposed to with the answer they needed in the end.
Overall, the writing isn’t terrible-it is just a story that one must read with the intent of entertainment, not fact.
-Sophia U., 12th grade