Book Review – Origin – Dan Brown

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Robert Langdon continues solving mysteries aided by a pretty woman and some symbology. The novel is nothing new in terms of story-telling and yet, it delivers on the promise of providing entertainment and a bit of history and geography. This one features some science too.

The speculative nature of futuristic visions makes this book a delight. There is nothing new that the book has to tell. It is not exactly Dan Brown’s forte to talk about Darwin and Lamarck and the theories of abiogenesis. We get to read a lot of ninth standard science as Brown tries to bring the reader up to speed. The book could have cut down on at least 200 pages had it not have tried to explain everything from origin of species to primordial soup to artificial intelligence.

It is a great refresher course on basic biology and provides from some fast paced action in parts. I enjoyed the bits where the artificial intelligence in the form of a humanoid supercomputer Winston was helping Langdon get to the unlocking of the secret.

The ending was satisfying because although the scientific discovery turned out to be a dud for me, I quite enjoyed the whodunnit that was running parallel to the main plot. There was also this sub-plot about the Spanish monarchy and its dark past. Quite an interesting angle that one.

Those looking for classical Dan Brown elements would enjoy the Spanish monarchy bits and the details of the cult-like Palmarian church. The fact that the church renounces the Vatican and has its own pope (the antipope) is quite fascinating. I wish Dan Brown had studied Hinduism a bit more closely to have included its elements during his tirade of creationism and world religions. Hope to see some Hinduism in his future books as this is one major religion he has not dared to touch yet.

A good one time read, the book suffers from one drawback: it is not edited well. Some places are too stretched out and I was literally tired of the “facades” and “artworks” and “spiral staircases”. Dan Brown sometimes goes overboard in describing inanimate objects. Also his protagonist Robert Langdon needs to stop having claustrophobia attacks every time he is in a closed space. The attacks are a bit distracting.

The repetition of certain phrases like “Where do we come from? Where are we going?” could also have been cut a little. The book wins only because of the familiarity of Robert Langdon and the beauty in its whodunnit sub-plot. There could be multiple spin-offs from that ending alone.

4 stars

 

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