OKAY PEOPLE…someone let me in on the gag because between the cries of "Greatest Book of Greaty Greatness EVER" and the screams of "Lamest Load of Lamey Lameness EVER", my itty bitty brain is left very… So post Hype-a-ganza, I finally got around to reading this popular, polarizing, pop culture icon and thought it was….drum roll……………………FINE(sigh). It was a solid read with a slight lean towards the “eh” side of MEH and few moments of genuine “that’s neat.” I don’t see all the love and I don’t see all the rage. Other than the obvious religious flavor of the content, it reminded me of your typical page-turning, popcorn beach read and I thought it accomplished its goal in decent, if unremarkable, fashion. Now I have a strict “don’t ask, don’t tell, don’t mock, don’t preach” approach when it comes to religiousness so I am going to ignore the bird-flipping Vatican bash aspects of the story, though I can certainly see people on both sides of the fence having “epic rah rah” or “epic fail” reactions and I respect that. For me, it didn’t move my needle much in either direction beyond my fondness for the “big hidden history mystery” which is something I generally really enjoy. The plot of this one has been talked to death and beyond so rather than adding one more jelly bean to the jar, I thought I would just run down a few likes and dislikes about the story and leave it at that. TURN ONS1. Conspiracy theories: are just fully fun and I am a major sucker for plots concerning “shadow” histories and secret people doing secret things behind secret doors for reasons that are SHHHHHHH. I love a good conspiracy. Find me a rumor involving Kim Kardashian being a Bilderberger and using a secret banking pipeline running from Area 51 through Microsoft to the Saudi Royal Family and laundering vast monies to be used to coordinate the sale of Boise, Idaho to a mysterious consortium headed by Jay Z and Justin Bieber who will then turn the city into a giant quasi-government facility used for the testing of alien “cloning” technology………….and I am glued to my seat and ONE HAPPY FELLA. 2. Knights Templar: As much as I love conspiracies in general, when you throw the Knights Templar into the mix, it’s gonna perk me up better than a latte enema. I am always in favor of having them show up as a lynch pin to any massive global plot. The Knights Templar are like caramel on ice cream and just make a good conspiracy better. I had a lot of fun with the rehash of the Templar’s place in the center of EVERYTHING. 3. Symbology, Da Vinci and the Holy Grail (the IDEA): I thought the major plot components themselves were interesting and I enjoyed following the hidden clues, messages, riddles and the tie in to all of the famous historical artifacts. It was fun. I also liked the “historical significance” of the search (i.e., the “big reveal”) and the implications to the world if revealed. TURN OFFS1. Symbology, Da Vinci and the Holy Grail (the EXECUTION): As much as I enjoyed the plot concept, the execution of the story was often frustrating and occasionally insulting. I’m not talking about the clunky, “serviceable at best” prose as that’s gotten enough play without my squirting lighter fluid on the bonfire. My issue is more with Dan feeling the need to “spoon feed” me details about his “oh so clever plot” so that my economy-sized brain could grasp it. For example, there would be a “reveal” that I thought was interesting….and then Dan would exhaust me with explaining EXACTLY what that meant and EXACTLY what the implications were and make sure I knew EXACTLY what he had told me. I get it Mr. Brown, heard you the first time. 2. THRILLer killing amounts of PLOD: For a page turning, actiony thriller, there was just too much sideways movement of the plot and some really unnecessary amounts of plod to the narrative. Part of this has to do with the excessive “hand holding” Dan does with his audience mentioned above. However, there are also WAY too much time spent slowing down to take a look around and where we are and where we’ve been. I started getting the impression that Brown was trying to hit a particular page count for the book and didn’t have anything but filler to loan the pages with. This is never a good thing for this kind of story. 3. The End: Not a big fan of the final resolution of the story and I found it very un climaxy and a bit of a let down. Once we have the big reveal, very little new information ever really got added to the picture and I felt like my curiosity should have been stroked a few more times than it was in the home stretch. This lack of satisfying climax left me with a serious case of “blue brain.” Still, overall, this was a good, serviceable mystery-thriller that seems tailor-made for a warm afternoon on the sand. It isn’t great literature, or even good literature, but it is a good thriller, a good concept and, for the most part, fun. It seems to accomplish pretty much exactly what it set out to do. 2.5 to 3.0 stars.
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