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Why Dan Brown Has No Talent
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Author:  Starrah [ Wed Jul 08, 2009 5:45 am ]
Post subject:  Why Dan Brown Has No Talent

There are no spoilers, so no worries about that.

I posted this in my LJ, but in the interest of possibly sparking some activity on the board, I'll put it here, too. I'm about 130 pages into Angels & Demons, reading it on several people's word that it is much better than The DaVinci Code. Here's what I've got so say:

1. The foreshadowing is way too overt. The plot developments are easily predicted well in advance. If I'm never surprised, how can I be engaged in the story? To make it worse, when a development is finally "revealed," it's done so with excessive melodrama. The characters say things along the lines of "OMG! How could this possibly happen?! I just can't believe it!" Guessing what happens next doesn't make me feel smart; it makes the book seem dumb, and the characters even dumber for not catching on sooner. Of course, part of this has to do with omniscient narration, which I'll get to...now.

2. I don't like omniscient narration. It leaves absolutely no mystery to any of the characters or the story. It also lets the author's voice far overpower those of the characters. And speaking of those characters and that author, let's talk about them!

3. I'm used to stories with well-defined, interesting characters. These characters are neither of those things. They are entirely defined by their jobs and interests, and all have the same personality. As a result, when debates and conversation happen between characters, it just sounds like one voice, namely Dan Brown, arguing with himself to an obvious conclusion. Furthermore, Dan Brown sounds like a writer, trying to write, instead of a subtle voice inside your own head following the story. Like, all things that make high school creative writing classes unbearable--lavish description, telling instead of showing, and over-dramatization. Which leads into my last point:

4. The book reads like a movie. The problem with that is that Brown is putting into words things that could be much more elegantly depicted visually rather than verbally. There's just too much exposition without enough "setting the scene" as a result. For example, the characters' emotional reactions to things could be easily demonstrated by facial expressions and body language. Instead, we get the idiot voices in their heads saying "OMG! I can't believe it!" In addition, it's paced like a movie--there's no time to become engaged with the plot in your own head, nothing that leaves you lingering on a scene or person. You just follow straight along, unthinking, everything plain in front of you. That's fine for a movie, because that's what a movie is--a shorter story, with a lot of visual suspense and explanation, that you're supposed to follow along quickly. For a book, it feels boring and plain.

Finally, I need to say that I love the subject matter. The possibilities of blending science and religion, along with ideas of balance and symmetry are genuinely interesting to me, as is the *fairly* good science in the book, and even more so the cult history and iconography. I love that stuff. But I can't help thinking that it would be a much better story in a more capable writer's hands. I just don't think Dan Brown is a good novelist. Possibly a decent screen writer, but not a novelist.

And that's my opinion! So THERE! :D

Author:  inKy [ Wed Jul 08, 2009 7:53 am ]
Post subject: 

Now I don't feel guilty about giving this up before the halfway mark!

I read The DaVinci Code back in school, and "couldn't put it down". Only at the end did it dawn on me that the possibility of Christianity's dirty secrets being revealed was the sole thing that kept me reading the bloody thing.

I tried Angels & Demons after that, and soon realised that it was essentially the same story in another setting. There's only so much I can take of Dan Brown telling Dan Brown how much Dan Brown knows about the minutiae of obscure topics beloved by Dan Brown.


[Reposted from a comment on your LJ.]

Author:  nacho [ Wed Jul 08, 2009 9:34 pm ]
Post subject: 

Maybe it would help to imagine Dan Brown with sock puppets telling the story. Also, he would have an inability to do silly voices, so each sock puppet would sound exactly the same.

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