by Dan Brown

Edmond Kirsch, Robert Langdon’s former student at Harvard University, is scheduled to make a presentation at the Guggenheim Museum Bilbao, featuring a discovery that he claims “will change the face of science forever.”  Langdon, as well as several hundred other guests invited to the event, watch as Kirsch begins his presentation that purports to answer the two earliest questions ever asked about human existence.  Then all is shattered as disaster strikes and the evening is plunged into chaos.  Faced with the threat of losing Kirsch’s discovery forever, Langdon flees to Barcelona, along with Ambra Vidal, the museum director who helped plan event.  As they work to find the password that will unlock Kirsch’s secret, they are plagued by an ever-present enemy that seems determined to keep the discovery in the dark.

This was certainly a fast-paced, entertaining book, as are all of Dan Brown’s books.  It also has the highly enjoyable suspense element that the author is so good at creating.  There was not much character development, though in Langdon’s case, this makes sense.  Dan Brown has written several other books with Langdon as the protagonist, so it is most likely expected that the reader will already know him very well.  I believe the author focused his energy on the story instead, creating an exciting storyline and plot twists that make the reader’s head spin.  Even though the basic storyline is very similar to those of many other Brown books, it is difficult to grow tired of it because of Brown’s skill in manipulating the plot.

However, to me, this book seemed like a thinly veiled attack on religion, especially Christianity.  Christians were seemingly portrayed as inflexible and unwilling to accept the truth even when it is presented to them in undeniable terms.  This made it a little difficult for me to read, although I tried to see it only as a completely fictional story and nothing more.  In addition, Brown seemed to be pushing a certain social and political ideology in his book that I did not agree with, making it even less enjoyable.  I watched a recent interview with Dan Brown in which he expressed his views on religion, and these views were clearly portrayed in this book, although through the main character, it is clear he does not completely rule out the possibility of a higher being.  Many authors use their books as a means of sending a message to their audience, and I understand that Brown may have felt an urgency to express his opinions.  However, the way in which he chose to address the issue made it feel as if I were constantly being preached to.  In addition, I think that certain things are better communicated elsewhere than books, and this is certainly one of them.

Overall, Origin follows the same format as most of Brown’s other books, and there is no inappropriateness of any kind.  Brown’s writing is not difficult to read and the vocabulary is not complex, but because of the way he presents his opinion, it may be more suitable for older readers.  If you like Brown’s books, you will most likely enjoy this one as well.  However, if you are religious, you may find yourself constantly disagreeing with the author’s views that are expressed through the characters and find it difficult to read.

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