Angels and Demons (Robert Langdon #1) by Dan Brown
Paperback, 620 pages
Published 2001 by Corgi Books
(First Published 2000)
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
When a scientist is found brutally murdered, Harvard professor Robert Langdon is asked to identify the mysterious symbol seared onto the dead man's chest. Realising it must be the work of the Illuminati - an ancient secret brotherhood sworn against Catholicism - the race is on to prevent a tragedy.
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When I was hunting for a story that was based in Rome, Italy, this is the one that stood out like a sore thumb. It is one of those books that it seems like everyone has read, or at least seen the film adaptation of... everyone apart from me! I didn't really want to read this book - I was actually dreading it. I am not a big fan of mystery or crime books, so I didn't think that this book would be for me. I also thought that the book would be one huge info-dump. Nonetheless, I picked it up and gave it a go simply because it was set in Rome. I am so, so glad that I gave this book a chance as I was completely blown away.
There was a lot of information provided the history of Rome and the Illuminati in this story, but rather than feeling overwhelming, it was simply fascinating - I couldn't get enough information and it has made me want to look into the Illuminati more. I really can't describe how interesting that this book is - on almost every page I was learning something new without feeling as though I was having a history lesson. Dan Brown is amazingly clever in the way that he links all of his facts together. Reading this on the plane home from Rome was a real treat - Brown led me around the city through this book and taught me lots about its history.
Whilst I doubt that the events that occurred in this book are going to happen anytime soon, it was quite realistic and as I've mentioned, Brown fabricated this story very impressively. The characters didn't have particularly amazing personalities, but they were strong and they interacted well. I did like our main character, Langdon, my fondness for him growing as the story progressed. I loved Vittoria Vetra too - a bit kick-ass and very brave. We were of course introduced to lots of other characters, though they were all well defined and it was easy to keep track. There were a whole load of twists throughout the book, some a little predictable but thankfully, quite a few that weren't too. The book was generally fast paced though I did feel that there were brief sections where it lagged.
It did take me a little while to get into the book as it's not my usual genre, but once I did adjust to it, I was hooked. This wasn't the best book I've ever read, but it was certainly one of the smartest which is what made it so good. I can't wait to read more of Dan Brown's books and I hope that I like them as much as I liked this one.