Thursday, 11 July 2013

Book Review: Angels and Demons



“She looked nothing like the bookish physicist he had expected. Lithe and graceful, she was tall with chestnut skin and long black hair that slurred in the backwind of the rotors. Her face was unmistakably Italian – not overly beautiful, but possessing full, earthy features that even at 20 yards, she seemed to exude a raw sensuality.”






Well, does this description make you wish it were yours? I am sure it did. Because so was the case with me.


To put simply, this character is Vittoria Vetra from the celebrated author Dan Brown’s bestseller work, the immaculately sublime novel “ANGELS AND DEMONS”. It is incontrovertible that all the characters he etches so deftly are worth going under the skin of, for as long as it is about the epicsome rhetoric, enigmatic miens, panoramic venues, sequential mysteries and startling plots that he creates, it hardly matters which character, all characters are etched by him with flawless precision and meticulous perfection that wins any and every reader’s heart.His plots are all peppered with a mind-boggling volume of symbols, cryptography, mythology, code-deciphering, surreptitious rendezvous with strangers, et al.

Robert Langdon, the protagonist of the novel who is a strict Harvard professor, a scintillating symbologist who “relishes recreation with an infectious fanaticism”, is no less of a dream character. Yet, I’d rather prefer to accompany him in his quest, and though Vittoria Vetra's character is subsidiary to Langdon, it is so indispensable to the plot, bereft of an iota of doubt.

Now talking about the story, Langdon and Vittoria Vetra are called up by the Vatican to deploy their brilliance and expertise to a situation. And the situation is nothing short of a murder- an excruciatingly nauseating one, at that.


The journey is characterized by bone-crunching forces and mind-numbing revelations. Vittoria Vetra is the CERN scientist who had developed anti-matter, a breakthrough energy source which she was protecting from falling victim to PR fiascos and political envy. As the story unravels, it is found that a vial of antimatter had been stolen by a secret group called “illuminati” and even I the minutest proportions it was capable of doing far more damage than nuclear weapons. At this stage, the story delves deeper into dark alleys of the intersections of literature, science and religion.


What follows is a journey- nothing short of an epic, interspersed with descriptions of the “papal conclave” due to the sudden death of the pope. Langdon attempts to retrace the steps of the "Path of Illumination", a process once used by the Illuminati as a means of inducting new members; aspirants to the order were required to follow a series of subtle clues left in various landmarks in and around Rome. The clues indicate the secret meeting place of the Illuminati. Langdon sets off on the Path of Illumination in hopes of delivering the Preferiti (the most likely candidates of the papal elections) and recovering the antimatter canister. So he has to decipher the ambigrams, that is with help from Vittoria Vetra. They make deduction regarding the site and manner of death of each of the cardinal. Since its human tendency to be intrigued by matters of life and death, that explains my proclivity to make it true. Here, the W-H-O-L-E Vatican City is at stake. The following quotes are thought-provoking at one level and poignant at another; they work to enrich the text and infuse it with emotions.

  • “Nothing captures human interest more than human tragedy.” 
  • “Skepticism has become a virtue. Cynicism and demand for proof has become enlightened thought. Is it any wonder that humans now feel more depressed and defeated than they have at any point in human history? ” 
  • "Fear cripples faster than any implement of war.” 
  • “Religion is flawed, but only because man is flawed.” 
  • “If it wasn't painfully difficult, you did it wrong!” 
  • …Our sunsets have been reduced to wavelengths and frequencies. The complexities of the universe have been shredded into mathematical equations. Even our self-worth as human beings has been destroyed. 
  • “Even the technology that promises to unite us, divides us. Each of us is now electronically connected to the globe, and yet we feel utterly alone.” 
Such monologues are a treat for the reader, and an intellectual cherry on the plot that Brown creates.
These sum up the theme too.




 The ecstasy and exhilaration, the adrenaline rush, the earth-shattering revelations. The plot is based in Rome, Italy, which adds to the appeal (and the yearning for it to come true)


Well there has to be something about the book that the aforementioned lines still reverberate in my mind-



“From Santi's earthly tomb with demon's hole,

'Cross Rome the mystic elements unfold.

The path of light is laid, the sacred test,

Let angels guide you on your lofty quest.”



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Image source: http://en2kn.files.wordpress.com/2009/12/angels-and-demons1.jpg


Image url (Dan Brown): http://weblogs.baltimoresun.com/entertainment/books/blog/2009/06/prepping_for_dan_browns_the_lo.html

5 comments:

  1. I think its a gr8 book and ur review...mind blowing...the review itself exudes raw energy and a knack for writing. why don't u try to pen down ur own book?? and specially as u r able to manage 3 blogs u must consider to record your experiences and imagination :) I'll LOVE to read YOUR book :) Being Indian I know how much time U'll get after 'settling down' so better start early.. then u can continue forever.. Wishing u luck ... :) And I found u on follow for a follow page so, visit my blog ..hopes u like it http://sunshineandblueclouds.blogspot.in/

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    Replies
    1. Well, thanks for your encouragement and motivation. FYI I am an aspiring writer. But I do have my own issues like I want to write not just any book, but something that's a part of me. I want to treat my own book, well if any in future, like my baby! I have begun my college life just now.. I just deem it befitting to gain some more experiences so as to create nothing less than a masterpiece....till then..I would keep blogging...
      And really your saying so means a lot to me...its very humbling and surreal...:) By the way I liked your blog....and the miscellany of content it has....

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  2. Angels and Demon is one among the BESTS of Dan Brown. And your review is a clean shot. Well written, not much spoilers and will definitely make ppl to read the book!! Keep writing ;)

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    Replies
    1. Thanks a lot Sandhya. I do hope it does inspire people to read the novel. :)

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