PDA

View Full Version : What do you guys think of Dan Brown



Searching
05-04-2009, 09:28 AM
Having picked up Angels & Demons recently, I must say I was greatly dissapointed. As a student studying Engineering and with an interest in quantum physics and theology, I found his research appaling. It reads as if someone just learned this stuff (not very well I might add) and then decided to use this newly learned general knowledge as a core spine of their novel.

And it's not just the physics either. Somewhere in the mess he explains that Shaitan is an Islamic word. Of course, Islam is a religion and not a language. Then he says muslims worship gods in temples. There is only one god, Allah and the worshipping happens in a mosque. If I had a sister, and if she was twelve she would know this.

And then, to top it off he vomits out a brilliancy like "he had contended loins" desciring his highly evil, highly mysterious villain after he has sex. Dan geniously names the felllow Assassin, not forgetting to demonstrate his wikipedia prowess by explaining that the word comes from Arabic Hashshashin (which he got right) and that they smoked Hashish (which he got wrong).

But then, that's just me. What do you think?

jodiodi
05-04-2009, 09:37 AM
I enjoyed Angels & Demons and The DaVinci Code. Those are the only 2 Dan Brown books I've read. If I find a story interesting and want to see what happens next, my willing suspension of disbelief takes care of such 'errors'. Especially if they're involving things I'd never have known to begin with.

Now books about medicine or medical procedures, anything set in the American South, or about living with someone in the Army, I have extensive experience and knowledge, and thus I am quick to spot errors and many of those errors can take me out of the story.

scarletpeaches
05-04-2009, 09:41 AM
I can't believe Dan Brown is an English teacher, or majored in English, whatever it was. He completely bumrapes the language.

I can't wait 'til seun sees this thread. Please don't lock it 'til then. :roll:

Searching
05-04-2009, 09:43 AM
I found this list, which mainly deals with cultural errors in the book. I know little about art, so I didn't spot most of these.

http://www.dannyscl.net/2005/01/dan-brown-is-fraud-list-of-errors-in.html

As I say, I don't mind suspending my belief to a point but Angels asks for way, way too much of it. Dan, at least get rid of the FACT page. You don't want to mislead people do you?

My mother is reading the novel, and I have to keep telling her that 90% of it is either totally wrong or are half truths.

Izz
05-04-2009, 09:48 AM
What do you guys think of Dan Brown?
:ROFL:



Oh wait, you want a serious opinion?



:roll:

Searching
05-04-2009, 09:53 AM
Well SOMEONE is buying his books.





I got mine from the library thank you very much.

Izz
05-04-2009, 09:57 AM
Well SOMEONE is buying his books.





I got mine from the library thank you very much.He knows how to move plot along and provide entertainment--plus people will buy anything slightly scandalous.

As far as writing prose goes: *shudders*. As far as research goes: *shudders* As far as characterization goes: *shudders*.

Wayne K
05-04-2009, 09:58 AM
I thought Davinci Code was a good story even though it lacked in writing.

scarletpeaches
05-04-2009, 10:02 AM
Dan Burstein wrote two books (or rather, edited two books) explaining all the mistakes in Angels & Demons and The Da Vinci Code.

blacbird
05-04-2009, 10:06 AM
Well SOMEONE is buying his books.

Lots of people invested with Bernie Madoff, too.

caw

thethinker42
05-04-2009, 10:08 AM
My opinion of his collected works can be summarized thusly:

Interesting concept.
Shitty execution.

SPMiller
05-04-2009, 10:40 AM
I once entertained a few people listening to the audio version of Angels & Demons simply by shredding the prose in real-time. When we got to the speech by the Catholic dude, I couldn't. Stop. Laughing.

I won't say this about many authors, but I'm better with the English language than Brown. However, he appears to tell more popular stories, and that's what matter in this business. We're entertainers, and the quality of our deathless prose doesn't mean much in the end.

jodiodi
05-04-2009, 11:11 AM
As the saying goes ..

Never let the truth get in the way of a good story.

I don't believe pretty much anything I read in fiction. By its very neature, it's 'made up'. As for Mr. Brown's writing quality, have any of you read any fiction lately? I mean the kind of paperbacks you can pick up at Wal-Mart or the drug store. It's brain candy and meant to entertain which translate into an aspriation no higher than 'tell a good story'. If I want fact-based information, I'll read Scientific American or The New England Journal of Medicine. If I want entertainment, I pick up something that draws me in and takes me to another place and time.

scarletpeaches
05-04-2009, 11:30 AM
As the saying goes ..

Never let the truth get in the way of a good story.

I could just about understand this reasoning if it were a good story.


I don't believe pretty much anything I read in fiction. By its very neature, it's 'made up'.

Yes. We know that.

Does that negate the need for standards?


As for Mr. Brown's writing quality, have any of you read any fiction lately? I mean the kind of paperbacks you can pick up at Wal-Mart or the drug store.

Yes.

Some is good, some is bad. Should we pander to the lowest common denominator by saying "It's brain candy and meant to entertain?"


It's brain candy and meant to entertain...

Obviously so.


...which translate into an aspriation no higher than 'tell a good story'.

Uh, no. Not for me, anyway.

The reasoning that we shouldn't aim high in fiction angers me no end. I don't give a flying fuck if a novel is fiction. I want it to be written well. To say we need no higher aspiration than telling a good story is an insult to all the writers who do so with a reasonable command of the English language and the guidelines of the craft.


If I want fact-based information, I'll read Scientific American or The New England Journal of Medicine.

Good for you. I often read non-fiction too.


If I want entertainment, I pick up something that draws me in and takes me to another place and time.

If I want entertainment, I pick something that draws me in, takes me to another place and time and doesn't insult my intelligence.

jodiodi
05-04-2009, 11:39 AM
Sorry to have insulted you, ms. Peaches. I merely expressed my opinion which is just as valid as yours or anyone else on here.

Not everyone likes the same thing. And no one person is the arbiter of what's good and what isn't. Some of the so called 'great literature' of the world is, in my opinion, dull and boring in the extreme and I only read it because I was going to be tested on it. Other people fawn over it like it's the Ultimate Truth.

However, I'm not going to debate any further on this point. You have your opinion, other people have theirs, and I have mine. If everyone had the same opinion of everything, life would be boring to the extreme and I'd just go ahead and kill myself to get away from it.

dpaterso
05-04-2009, 11:45 AM
Given that the film ads are showing, I picked up Angels & Demons again, determined to get further than before (I'd given up halfway through, finding myself totally uninvolved with the flat characters). Alas, same thing happened. I'm not bothered, I've got other novels to read, and I shouldn't imagine Dan Brown cares what I think. More power to his typing finger, he's found a formula and it works for him.


Sorry to have insulted you, ms. Peaches. I merely expressed my opinion which is just as valid as yours or anyone else on here.
Quoted for truth.

-Derek

Cassiopeia
05-04-2009, 11:48 AM
I couldn't put Angels and Demons down. I liked the DaVinci Code but not as much as the first. When I read a book, I read it for pleasure and I certainly won't pick apart his writing though I have gone through the first chapter of Angels and Demons line by line with a correcting pen to see what all the fuss was about.

Is he brilliant technically? No way. Did he tell a good tale? Well his book sales and the subsequent movies speak for themselves. I liked those two books of his. Couldn't get past the first chapter of two others of his.

We all know that many a famous writer is known to suck. I love Hemingway. People say he sucked as well. I also enjoy Alexandre Dumas, Margaret Mitchell, Prince Machiavelli and many more.

Look, he made it, we haven't. I'd rather spend my time working on my writing than going off on how someone sucks. It just seems like jealousy and bitterness rationalized through nitpicking his skills.

He's made it. We should be so lucky.

seun
05-04-2009, 02:51 PM
I can't wait 'til seun sees this thread. Please don't lock it 'til then. :roll:

You rang? :D

To give a serious answer (in place of my usual Dan Brown should be shot at dawn), Brown has an interesting idea - and I use the singular on purpose as he only seems to have the one idea - for his work but that's as far as it goes. Nothing about his work is original; he's a terrible writer in terms of character, dialogue and plot and his repetitive, samey style makes me want to poke my eyes out.

Saying that, he knows what makes an interesting story. It's just a shame it's not even slightly original or well-written.

Alitriona
05-04-2009, 02:55 PM
We can only aim to be as good as we can be. Most of us will never reach the impossible high standard laid down by some readers and writers. I loved The devinci code because I loved the idea behind it, most of the concept I found very easy to believe. If he tied half truths together and made some stuff up so what? I didn't read it thinking of it as a history book.

On the other hand I didn't enjoy angels and demons at all and it wasn't because of the facts. I wasn't pulled in by it, either the characters or the story and had to force myself to finish reading it. I never put a book down half read. When I read I can see the books in my head as a movie, this one I couldn't. So for me that's not a good sign.

But it sold and the movie is on it's way to the cinema, that speaks for itself. I would love to reach as many people as he has.

Rarri
05-04-2009, 03:01 PM
Have to admit i didn't like The Da Vinci Code, i got 50 pages in and just couldn't force myself to read any more of it. I know other people enjoy the books though, so good for them, but personally i didn't enjoy it.

Momento Mori
05-04-2009, 03:09 PM
Searching:
As a student studying Engineering and with an interest in quantum physics and theology, I found his research appaling.

In the judgment for the English copyright case that Brown won a couple of years ago, the judge discussed the evidence for how Brown researches his books and it turns out that it's his wife who does all the initial research for him, which she breaks down and puts onto Post-it notes so that he can incorporate it into his story.

In fact, from the way the judgment was phrased, his wife seems to have a lot of input into the books from that respect, which is why the judge noted how strange it was that she wasn't called as a witness for the case.

MM

Wayne K
05-04-2009, 04:00 PM
After all this I feel a little foolish for having enjoyed Davinci Code. Thinking about it now I was smoking a lot of cocaine at the time.

The guy with the frying pan was right.http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nl5gBJGnaXs

Bubastes
05-04-2009, 04:13 PM
I enjoyed the Da Vinci Code, but since I listened to the audiobook, I was much less aware of the awful writing mechanics. When I picked up the actual book, I found myself tripping over the terrible prose.

Dan Brown may not be particularly original, and his writing style is aggressively bad, but he knows how to keep readers hooked. That's a skill I want to have, and I've actually spent time going through his books analyzing how he does it.

Jerry Cornelius
05-04-2009, 04:18 PM
Having picked up Angels & Demons recently, I must say I was greatly dissapointed. As a student studying Engineering and with an interest in quantum physics and theology, I found his research appaling. It reads as if someone just learned this stuff (not very well I might add) and then decided to use this newly learned general knowledge as a core spine of their novel.

And it's not just the physics either. Somewhere in the mess he explains that Shaitan is an Islamic word. Of course, Islam is a religion and not a language. Then he says muslims worship gods in temples. There is only one god, Allah and the worshipping happens in a mosque. If I had a sister, and if she was twelve she would know this.

And then, to top it off he vomits out a brilliancy like "he had contended loins" desciring his highly evil, highly mysterious villain after he has sex. Dan geniously names the felllow Assassin, not forgetting to demonstrate his wikipedia prowess by explaining that the word comes from Arabic Hashshashin (which he got right) and that they smoked Hashish (which he got wrong).

But then, that's just me. What do you think?

You're absolutely right. Brown is dreadful.

If anyone likes it, I recommend they check out something like Foucault's Pendulum, which is along the same lines in terms of ideas but infinitely superior in execution.

Alpha Echo
05-04-2009, 04:26 PM
As the saying goes ..

Never let the truth get in the way of a good story.

I don't believe pretty much anything I read in fiction. By its very neature, it's 'made up'. As for Mr. Brown's writing quality, have any of you read any fiction lately? I mean the kind of paperbacks you can pick up at Wal-Mart or the drug store. It's brain candy and meant to entertain which translate into an aspriation no higher than 'tell a good story'. If I want fact-based information, I'll read Scientific American or The New England Journal of Medicine. If I want entertainment, I pick up something that draws me in and takes me to another place and time.

I agree completely. I actually enjoyed The DaVinci Code, the story, not the writing. I am going to read Angels and Demons because I want to see the movie (I like Tom Hanks) but have a policy to read the book before I see the movie.

But a lot of what I've been reading lately has been horribly written. I'm reading The Rose Labyrinth by Titania Hardie right now which is actually very similar in that it tries to tie in history, and the characters are trying to make sense out of puzzles...etc. But I have been so disappointed with the writing. I'm sick of how she describes the beautiful heroine, I'm sick of the unnecessary adverbs, and I'm sick of how she uses dialogue to summarize what's happening in the story. But I'm almost finished, and so I will finish it. It's very disappointing though...I'm trying not to let it take me away from the story (which really isn't as good as I had hoped, however).

Phaeal
05-04-2009, 04:53 PM
I made it to Chapter Two or maybe Three of The DaVinci Code; then the shrieking dissonance of the writing made me clap my hands over my ears. And, of course, with my hands over my ears, I couldn't hold the book. ;)

I figure most people don't notice the music (or lack thereof) of prose, so they can go blithely ahead and enjoy the story. With Code, there was the additional allure of religious controversy: OMG, he's saying Jesus had a GIRLFRIEND!!! The Church is CONDEMNING him!!! Yummm.... (I'm old enough to remember the uproar over Rosemary's Baby. I'm going to Hell because I read it then and continue to read it today. Now there's a well-written book and a writer who knew what to do with a high concept.)

BlueLucario
05-04-2009, 05:10 PM
Dang!

I was just heading out to buy Angels and Demons. Nobody told me it was bad.

wannawrite
05-04-2009, 05:15 PM
Okay. I'm easy (we've established this already, haven't we) but I liked Angels and Demons. When my daughter went to Rome two years ago, I told her to read it before she went, 'cause I thought she reading it would lend a bit of interest to the sights she would be seeing. And yes, I know, there are so many, many books on Rome that I could not fit them all into my house. Why did I pick this one? It was fun. Interesting. And since I am not a scholar, I thought the concept behind it intriguing. But, then, that's just me talking...

DeleyanLee
05-04-2009, 05:24 PM
I don't know the man to figure out whether I like him or not. However, I sat down with DaVinci Code inclined to hate it. Sat up all night to finish reading it. Got done about 45 minutes before I had to go to work the next morning. That's a rare book that gets me to do that.

Is it great prose? Nope, not at all. But it was a really good story that caught me up somehow.

Got Angels and Demons, hoping for a second run. I'm sure there's a law of sequels somewhere that says that if you really really liked the first one, the second one has got to suck rotten lemons. I got into it just fine and was cruising along, however I hit a glitch I just couldn't suspend disbelief around. They couldn't locate the bomb via the signal from the wireless camera. Sorry, if these people are supposed to be The Best around, why can't they do something my son and his friends could do in high school? Totally threw me out of the book. Never finished it.

So, that's 1 for 2 for me. I'll probably take a look at the new one coming out and see how that one works. At this point, he's not on my auto-buy list, but he's got the potential for it.

Bubastes
05-04-2009, 05:28 PM
IIRC, Angels and Demons came out a few years before DVC.

BravoYankee
05-04-2009, 09:04 PM
How about Steve Berry? His Templar Legacy book was practically the same story as the Divinci Code, but much better in my opinion. Plus his other books are pretty good too. I bring him up because his stories are very similar.

BlueLucario
05-04-2009, 09:11 PM
You guys allow Dan Brown bashing but not smeyer bashing?

-____-?

scarletpeaches
05-04-2009, 09:18 PM
The corn harvest was good this year. We need a new sacrifice.

badducky
05-04-2009, 09:21 PM
It's important not to be a hater. Dan Brown's primary audience is one that buys less than five books a year, or buys only what everyone else is talking about. And, his books make it possible for his publisher to do dozens of projects for an audience that buys far more than five books a year.

And, those folks that might not otherwise set foot in a bookstore might bring their family with them, browse around, find a neat looking book about a dragon...

;)

I wish Dan Brown all the success in the world, even if I'm not part of his audience.

Captshady
05-04-2009, 09:23 PM
How about Steve Berry? His Templar Legacy book was practically the same story as the Divinci Code, but much better in my opinion. Plus his other books are pretty good too. I bring him up because his stories are very similar.

I abhore Berry. Almost as much as the Brown haters here.

I never read Davinci Code, I don't usually read based on media hype (Satanic Verses, Twilight, et al). I usually avoid it like the plague, on purpose. I read Digital Fortress though, and loved it.

Perks
05-04-2009, 09:32 PM
Successful fiction strikes it right in one or more of the several elements of the process. Dan Brown earned his marks in pacing, fun, timing (of the subject matter), and buzz.

I don't begrudge him that for a second.

I read The DaVinci Code and Angels and Demons and had a good time with them. I read Deception Point and wished him boils.

He's a'right for what he's looking to do.

CaroGirl
05-04-2009, 09:43 PM
It's important not to be a hater.
Why? Just because I hate every word he's ever written doesn't mean I necessarily begrudge him success, or hate the man himself.

You couldn't pay me to read his drivel (unless there were six figures involved; call me).

quickWit
05-04-2009, 09:55 PM
I enjoyed reading Angels & Demons and DaVinci Code. Deception Point, not so much. Overall I'd say his books are OK. :)

brokenfingers
05-04-2009, 09:57 PM
I suppose it's just a matter of taste and style. There's nothing wrong with liking Dan Brown's work.

Personally, I didn't make it through any of his books. The characters were too flat and the stroyline was too contrived for my tastes. It read, to me, like a daytime TV-movie. Fun, fast, cheap and extremely predictable.

If his books were food, they'd be all gravy and no meat. I'm a diehard carnivore. I need something to chew on and savor in my mouth before I swallow it. I need something that fills my mind and leaves a satisfying feeling when I'm done.

Dan Brown just didn't do that for me.

brokenfingers
05-04-2009, 10:07 PM
Also, I just didn't care about his characters - a cardinal sin for a writer. Not only could I not identify with any of the protagonists, but I found them to be stupid (in one way or another) and unrealistic early on in the book - and that's a kiss of death in my book.

No matter how intriguing the storyline, if the characters are idiots or unbelievable - I'm gone.

smcc360
05-04-2009, 10:22 PM
I enjoyed Angels & Demons, and I admire his success.

badducky
05-04-2009, 10:45 PM
Writing is just too small of an industry to go around hating on writers.

The only useful criticism of Dan Brown, for those who don't care for it, is to say "It didn't work for me, but apparently I'm the minority because he has lots and lots of devoted fans."

As it stands, going into detail about something you don't like is like describing how awful the dessert was at that dinner party: more about you than the piece in question.

CaroGirl
05-04-2009, 10:49 PM
Writing is just too small of an industry to go around hating on writers.
I agree and it's a good point. But hating the writing is still not the same as hating the writer or begrudging him success, or even denigrating those readers who happened to like it. I don't think having an opinion, even a negative one, should be a bad thing.

brokenfingers
05-04-2009, 10:49 PM
Writing is just too small of an industry to go around hating on writers.

The only useful criticism of Dan Brown, for those who don't care for it, is to say "It didn't work for me, but apparently I'm the minority because he has lots and lots of devoted fans."

As it stands, going into detail about something you don't like is like describing how awful the dessert was at that dinner party: more about you than the piece in question.Hmmmm, I believe the OP's question was: What do you guys think of Dan Brown?

And while I sure as hell don't hate Dan Brown or question his overall writing success - people are allowed to dislike an author's writing.

writeronfire
05-04-2009, 11:41 PM
I have an uncle named Dan Brown.

Kaylee
05-05-2009, 12:28 AM
I enjoyed the Da VInci Code, but did not like Angel and Demons. To me it felt wrong to have a priest kill in the way he did. That poor man on the burning pyre. I couldn't get it out of my head.

Millicent M'Lady
05-05-2009, 12:50 AM
Also, I just didn't care about his characters - a cardinal sin for a writer. Not only could I not identify with any of the protagonists, but I found them to be stupid (in one way or another) and unrealistic early on in the book - and that's a kiss of death in my book.

No matter how intriguing the storyline, if the characters are idiots or unbelievable - I'm gone.

I have to emphatically second this! Did anyone else find the central character in The Da Vinci Code the most obnoxious and grating character they had ever encountered? He is so boorish, brash and irritating and without one single redeeming quality.

I don't require characters to be likeable (some of my favourite books have central characters who I would avoid in real life) but some charm and a deftness with character writing is required to stop me wanting to stick pins in my eyes...

rhymegirl
05-05-2009, 12:53 AM
No matter how intriguing the storyline, if the characters are idiots or unbelievable - I'm gone.

Yup. Me too.

Mad Queen
05-05-2009, 01:11 AM
Dan Brown can be mildly entertaining as long as you know absolutely nothing about what he writes. (The Fibonacci sequence is a good password for a bank account? Because it "looks random"? Really? And this coming from a cryptologist who has just broken the said password.) Having a high tolerance to cardboard characters who were supposed to be clever but act like idiots also helps.

Soccer Mom
05-05-2009, 01:21 AM
Locking this. Not really the appropriate forum for discussion of specific writers. There is a book club forum if y'all feel the need to continue bashing discussing other authors.