Around page 270 everything changes. We start being subjected to long-winded explanations as pieces of the puzzle start falling into place, and while some of the explanations are needed for the sake of clarity, several pages worth could have been left out without harming the plot of the novel in any way.
Several characters are revealed as not being who we thought they were. Again, normally this would go down as introducing a twist, and usually I would enjoy it. Unfortunately here the multiple points of view came back to bite Mr Brown in the backside. It is one thing to reveal that a character that we had thought to be a prisoner is actually the person calling the shots. It is quite another if you had created the former assumption from inside the character’s own head. And similar reveals happen with almost every character in the story apart from Langdon. I actually started paging back to earlier portions of the novel to make sure I hadn’t missed something. While I’m sure Mr Brown was trying to lay red herrings, all he succeeded in doing was frustrating me. It also seems as if he thinks his readers are stupid and won’t spot him trying to pull the wool over their eyes.
The build-up to the end is somewhat ruined by the jarring revelations and endless explanations, but at this point it doesn’t really matter anymore because what should be the edge-of-the-seat climax of a race to save humanity turn out to be the single most disappointing anti-climax I’ve ever experienced in a novel. And it’s not like in Nineteen-Eighty-Four where Winston Smith’s fate is really inevitable if you think about it. It seemed to me like Mr Brown didn’t want the typical hero-saves-the-day type of ending, which I can respect, but what he came up with made me want to chuck the book across the room (only my love for all books, no matter their content, and the fact that it would have woken my wife kept me from doing just that).
But the torture still didn’t end. The non-climax was followed by another thirty pages of mind-numbing exposition (which I’ll admit to only skimming) to try and make sense of everything that hadn’t made sense in the preceding four-hundred-and-thirty pages. There’s a bunch of science which, as I’m not a scientist, I won’t presume to judge. However, I didn’t buy it. There’s some sudden character development which is so contrived it made me roll my eyes. And there’s a feeling of deep dissatisfaction and the realisation that the time spent reading this novel will never be redeemed.
Will I recommend this novel? Not unless you’re into masochism (or someone I really dislike). Will I ever read a Dan Brown novel again? Highly unlikely (and that goes for the upcoming film of The Lost Symbol as well). Do you want my copy after all you’ve read here? Let me know in the comments and I might just send it to you.
That’s all for now. Tune in tomorrow for another Song Title Challenge (unless the Illuminati comes and blows up my house with anti-matter before then) 😉