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Book Review [Jul. 9th, 2004|11:12 pm]
stalkingmsd
[mood |calmcalm]

Posted from PDT, timestamp in EDT

I forgot to mention earlier... Today on the plane I read Digital Fortress -- by Dan Brown (of The Da Vinci Code fame)


So, I'm not quite sure what I was expecting here -- I got the book as a Christmas gift. Frankly, given the fact that I've heard great things about The Da Vinci Code -- I think I was expecting something more than what I got.

First of all -- it did capture my attention and I did finish it rather quickly. I suppose this is good in that I finished it (unlike, say, any Terry Pratchett book ever) and bad, but it really wasn't that deep -- despite what the reviews on the cover said -- it was not "a...techno-thriller that should galvanize everyone who sends...e-mail..."

For one, way early in the plot someone says "a virus is loose" and this keeps getting repeated about once every 10 pages or so for the rest of the book, with all of the "clueful" characters poo-pooing it. COME ON. As if convincing someone to bypass the security measures before loading a file into the mainframe was not a classic trojan horse.

Also, the fact that it took about 15-20 pages to get the passphrase at the end of the book really ticked me off. In fact, taking about 2 pages each to get the "real" meanings of 'element', 'prime', and 'difference' out of the clue was flat-out dumb. The guy who wrote the clue was a mathematician for gods sake! 'prime' and 'difference' should implicitly mean the mathematical definitions. And 'element' was just too obvious to say anything about. Finally, the fact that they didn't look at the atomic weight and instead spent 2-3 pages looking at every other possible discrepancy between U-235 and U-238 was mind-numbing. These people are supposed to be hideously brilliant code-breakers, and 20 pages need to be spent on something that was obvious on the first page?!

I did like the huge misdirection starting in the prologue about the importance of the ring -- that was nicely done -- but when it turns out the ring is pointless, you sort of wonder why we even bothered with the entire Spain storyline -- nothing there mattered at all.


In short, it was an ok book, but nothing special. Not much re-read value, sadly. I wonder if I should still bother with the Da Vinci Code if I get time (if I do, it'll probably be on my trip cross-country).

I'm also playing with the idea of reading My Life. Maybe that should wait until it is in paperback or borrowable though.
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Comments:
[User Picture]From: kerya
2004-07-10 04:14 am (UTC)
Everything I've heard about the Da Vinci Code has been negative, although I have not read it myself. The complaints I heard were gross factual inaccuracy, and terrible storytelling.
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[User Picture]From: stalkingmsd
2004-07-10 04:16 am (UTC)
I'm not sure I'd be expecting it to have great factual accuracy, especialy given the material some of it is dealing with.
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[User Picture]From: kerya
2004-07-10 04:18 am (UTC)
There are people who take it as fact, including the author. But my understanding is that even as a work of fiction it is preachy.
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