Book review: Origin by Dan Brown

“Here comes the new Brown, same as the old Brown”.

*Spoilers below*

Origin is the fifth novel featuring the most famous Semiotician in the world, professor Robert Langdon.

The novel is set in Spain, and ranges from the Guggenheim in Bilbao, through Barcelona to the Royal Palace in Madrid.

A former student of Langdon, Edmond Kirsch is now a billionaire Futurist, and is hosting an event at the Guggenheim that will unveil a discovery that will destroy the foundations of the Abrahamic religions. Naturally he invites his old mentor.

Guess what – spoiler alert – Kirsch gets assassinated, and Langdon finds himself on the run with the stunning Ambra Vidal – museum director and fiancée of the prince of Spain.

Cue lots of hidden historical facts, and religious extremists, all related at the layman level, and the template that has brought Brown such success is complete. Clue after clue falls to the intrepid duo, puzzling as they do over Nietzsche, Blake, the artist Miro, and various famous sites in Spain. They get helpful dig-outs from Winston, a super-AI computer with attitude.

The story is typical Brown, building up the tension through potentially plausible historical proofs, enigmatic cryptograms, cliff-hanger moments, and magniloquent prose, while hoping to court controversy on the way. The reader knows what they are going to get, and by and large they get it.

For the fans, they will love Origin. It is an entertaining read, great for an airport terminal, but the potential of the story is, for me, not fully realised. The reveal(s) fell flat, and not as controversy-inducing as his previous outings. Airplane fodder.

Happy new year everyone! This review is a guest post by fellow bookworm Sean. Visit his book blog for more excellent reviews.

Today is also your last chance to download my ebook ‘This Really Happened’ for free on amazon. Please take a look! 

 

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Top 5 Halloween Reads

Happy Halloween! To celebrate my favourite time of year, I’ve compiled a list of my favourite creepy, hair-raising, spooktacular reads that will give you chills and get you into the holiday spirit.

  1. We have always lived in the castle by Shirley Jackson
    castle
    Merricat lives with her sister in the house where her entire family was poisoned. When their uncle visits, their fragile peace is shattered and revelations that will change everything come to the surface. Isolation, superstition and witchcraft are major themes of this horror classic. While not heavy on action, this creepy novel is all about atmosphere, creating tension and leaving just enough hints to let your imagination do the rest.

 

 

2. The Wasp Factory by Ian Banks 

TheWaspFactoryA first-person narrative told from the point of view of a boy who murdered three people, including his own brother, and then stopped. Psychologically shocking and terrifying, with a great twist at the end. Definitely worth a read.

 

 

 

 

 

3. Dark Places by Gillian Flynn

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From the author of ‘Gone girl’ comes an even more gruesome psychological thriller and murder mystery, as Abbie Day confronts her past and tries to solve the murder of her family to prove her brother innocent. Like Flynn’s other novels, this had a well-structured plot, well-developed characters and a surprising twist at the end that I didn’t see coming.

 

 

 

 

 

4. Angel blood by John Singleton

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A massively under-appreciated YA dystopian novel with some really interesting ideas about how disability and outcasts are treated in society. It follows four children, who are failed biological experiments and suffering strange physical disabilities because of it, and their lives in a type of Asylum called ‘The bin’. Creepy but also incredibly sad, this one is definitely one of the most well-written and unique dystopians I’ve read.

 

 

 

 

5. Birdy by Jess Vallance

1e370c96-2f43-41d2-b24e-9d75fcbfc51b-bestSizeAvailableThis one’s not that well known, but I thought it was a great YA example of the unreliable narrator. I really liked how most of it seemed like pretty normal high school stuff, but with sinister undertones that gradually became more obvious towards the end. They always say that the key ingredient of horror is turning the mundane into something scary, which this book does very effectively.

 

 

 

 

What’s your favourite spooky read? Let me know in the comments!