Part of the fun in reading Brown comes from not taking him too seriously as a stylist. He brings to mind Joseph Heller’s Yossarian in Catch-22, who has the job of censoring letters and turns it into an arbitrary game. There are Brown sentences that could happily lose their modifiers: 'The grisly memory was mercifully shattered by the chime of the jangling bar door.' There are phrases that beg you to ask friends to fill in the blanks: 'Clear and penetrating, ____ _ ____.' (Like a bell.) There’s an air of overstatement that’s more gleeful than egregious, but it can’t be mistaken for good. And the hyperbole is sometimes the stuff of giggles ... Then there are the tricks. All that symbology he and Langdon bring to the game is never without its gee-whiz excitement. Brown has told The Times that he loved the Hardy Boys books, and it shows. The hunt here for a 47-character password yields the niftiest feat of gamesmanship in the book, as does Langdon’s self-important analysis of what looks like an exotic symbol on a car’s window. It appears to be something that not even an expert of his caliber has ever seen before. It’s not. Brown loves winking at Langdon, the literally dashing version of himself, and inviting readers to share the joke. And for all their high-minded philosophizing, these books’ geeky humor remains a big part of their appeal.
Dan Brown is back with another thriller so moronic you can feel your IQ points flaking away like dandruff ... All the worn-out elements of those earlier books are dragged out once again for Brown to hyperventilate over like some grifter trying to fence fake antiques ... Brown may not have discovered a secret that threatens humanity’s faith, but he has successfully located every cliche in the world. Some sentences are constructed entirely of hand-me-down phrases ... All right — I get it — this is cotton candy spun into print, but why then must every reference, no matter how pedestrian, be explained in a Wikipedia monotone that Siri would pity? ... All this might be worth enduring if the story’s infinitely hyped revelations didn’t finally show up at the end of a trail of blood sounding like an old TED Talk. Kirsch’s posthumous answers to the big questions — Where did we come from? Where are we going? — will surprise no one technologically savvy enough to operate a cellphone. Darwinians, fundamentalists, atheists and believers: Pray that this cup pass from you.
After the baddies in the previous novels, the morose retired admiral who serves as the muscle in this one seems a bit beige ... Obviously, Brown hasn’t got any better at writing since his last outing. If there were an antonym for 'unerring' – something that captured the way that over more than 400 pages he avoids producing a good sentence even by accident – it would be the one for Brown. He still lobs modifiers about like an out-of-control tennis machine. He still drops in Wikipedia-style paragraphs of factual boilerplate...But complaining that Brown can’t write is like complaining that crisps are crunchy. And you know what? It doesn’t really matter at all. The book is fun in its galumphing way. And the longer he keeps earnestly plugging away, the more the reader warms to him. There’s a winning innocence to Brown’s work, especially as rather than just produce a chase thriller with added sudoku, he is determined to take on the most fundamental issues of human existence. Dan Brown: novelist of ideas.
Here’s a disappointing revelation: Dan Brown’s latest novel Origin is only a fitfully entertaining religious rehash of his greatest hits. Loyal fans of his globetrotting symbologist Robert Langdon will no doubt be thrilled with the fifth book in the series. But despite exploring some seriously big concepts about creation and destiny in its Spanish-set central mystery, Origin spawns a dizzying parade of scientific jargon, nonstop travelogues and familiar tropes that all lead to a fumbled ending.
...a techno-thriller in the tradition of Brown’s standalone book Digital Fortress … Does it matter that Brown makes mistakes? Probably not, if the reader is in it for the thrill and the twist, which most are. And there are other things to love about Dan Brown’s prose … But the techno-dystopian core of Origin’s plot, which focuses on the biological origins of mankind and its evolutionary future, is a little thin, not really credible. It reads like a book by a slightly tired writer.
His latest page-turner, Origin, goes even further, playing with the idea that science could ultimately triumph over religion by essentially proving the nonexistence of God ... The Brown formula also means plots that are contained in a 24-hour period, with short chapters (105 spread over 461 pages in Origin), typically ending in cliffhangers ...in between the places where the characters’ hearts pound (or their pulses quicken or their adrenaline surges), Brown pauses to drop in explanations of art, architecture, history and science... As in some of his earlier books, Brown uses a conservative Catholic sect as a plot element in Origin.
Author Dan Brown has used his books to challenge people with questions of God and faith, all while sending readers on globe-trotting adventures that leave you both dizzy and satisfied. And on those fronts, his latest book, Origin, does not disappoint ...will once again follow Professor Robert Langdon, Origin covers new ground for Brown ... of course, Robert Langdon, because he has terribly bad luck, is in the wrong place at the wrong time and gets tangled up in that. And the novel also features a character that is artificial intelligence...the book really asks, what happens when science starts answering the final few questions. Will the gods of today survive? ... trying to create characters who argue two points of view. There are religious people in these books, there are scientists in these books.
Origin is similar in format, tone, and style to the other books in the series. In other words, people who have never liked Brown’s books won’t find anything to change their minds here, but his legions of fans will likely find this new thrill ride hard to put down. As he does in all his novels, Brown spackles over any weaknesses in the plot with the richness of his true-to-life details. His extensive research on art, architecture, and history informs every page. Origin‘s characters may be questioning faith and science, but it’s hard to get too bogged down in the issues when the main character is on a life-or-death adventure in Spain’s most beautiful museums and landmarks.
...introduced the subjects of secret societies, religious conspiracies, semiotics, art, and architecture, tin cans that Brown has kicked down the road in each subsequent blockbuster all the way to Origin ...his novels are readable. Despite the inaccuracies, overabundance of italics, malapropisms, and occasional misspelled word, the pages turn briskly and the stories are very easy to read ... Perhaps the critics who vigorously bash Dan Brown and will instantly trash Origin, with or without reading it, should gently but firmly remove the hockey stick from their posterior region and relax ...comfortably predictable, it brings back Robert Langdon and his Mickey Mouse watch for another sprawling romp.
Exploring the competitive tensions between religion and science, Dan Brown’s Origin is a mystery that will appeal to readers looking for thoughtfulness and thrills ...an often gripping page-turner that combines well-managed mystery with reflections on culture, history, and technology ...builds suspense by interweaving storylines, shifting from one plotline cliffhanger to another strand in his story ... Through vivid descriptions of physical locations that are systematically linked with politics and history, Brown makes us feel the pulse of Spanish life and culture ... While its revelations ultimately do not rise to the occasion of its deeply ambitious focus on human creation and destiny, Origins is an enjoyable and thought-provoking novel well worth your time.
The old ham-fisted Brown is here in full glory ('In that instant, Langdon realized that perhaps there was a macabre silver lining to Edmond’s horrific murder'; 'The vivacious, strong-minded beauty had turned Julián’s world upside down')—but, for all his defects as a stylist, it can’t be denied that he knows how to spin a yarn, and most satisfyingly. The plot is absurd, of course, but the book is a definitive pleasure. Prepare to be absorbed—and in more ways than one.
Robert Langdon chases answers to two of the biggest questions asked today — where did we come from, and where are we going? — in Dan Brown’s all-new thriller, Origin ... Brown’s formulaic approach rings true once again, as he takes readers on a twisting and turning ride that feels plenty familiar but is still thoroughly enjoyable ... If you’ve enjoyed Brown’s past thrillers, you’ll likely enjoy Origin — a big step up from The Lost Symbol and Inferno, and more in line with Dan Brown’s highly-regarded first two Langdon books, Angels and Demons and The Da Vinci Code ...take a little while to get going (as the author lays down the groundwork and sets the tone for the rest of the novel), Brown’s latest offering becomes certifiably unputdownable once the plot takes off.