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March 21, 2006

Angels and Demons - Dan Brown

I really, really didn’t like this book.

I read this because I did my PhD at CERN (on the OPAL experiment) and everyone kept saying, "ooh you must read it, CERN is in it." That's my excuse. And once I start a book I hate to not finish it.

The short chapters, drip feeding the plot and withholding information sent me crazy. Then there were often plot recaps at the start of each chapter, how short do you think my memory is?! Then there were huge chunks of exposition, just thrown in with no effort.

Also, having worked at CERN, its depication had me roaring with laughter. The director has a space plane?! (For the record CERN is actually like a big trading estate and a large chunk of the work is done by the vast coalition of Universities that work there). And don’t get me started on antimatter.

The twists and turns annoyed me too. Very often there was no way to work it out, and when there was a way it was obvious. The last few chapters were so over the top and heavy handed I was not the slightest bit surprised at each twist.

But to be honest I think the plot may have survived in better hands, but the writing was so dreadful, the plot trying so hard to be shocking….

I hated it. And I don't want to read another of his books, life's too short.

1 Comment

Dear god yes.

My father gave me this book, having really enjoyed it. I passed it up for months and then started it on the plane back to Portland. I got off the plane and gave him a lecture.

I don't stop reading books. No matter how bad. Once I begin I am obligated to finish. I've maybe set down six or so books in my life. Angels and Demons was my seventh. Got to something like page 79, tore up the paperback and threw it in a disposal bin.

Such a bad book the mind boggles. Aside from the just horrid prose/plot/etc., the author didn't even bother copying real popular impressions of physicists and physics. He had to magically invent his own and shit em out right there on the page.