|Perseus, Piazza della Signoria, Florence (Photo credit: Wikipedia)|
I am trying officially a new reviewing format. It is not the first time I’ve done such a review but finally I found a proper name for it: I called it “quotes and notes” because it roughly consists of quotes taken from a book and my comments, nothing else. I feel some books cannot be reviewed in another way.
I admit shamelessly it was a horrible novel but also I was enjoying myself immensely while reading and writing about it . You see, it was so bad that it was actually funny. 🙂 I decided to illustrate my review with some good art to provide a nice balance. After all Florence is indeed one of the most beautiful cities of the world, with the most stunning art pieces scattered around it.
Our sweetest hero, Robert Langdon, is lying in a Florence hospital bed. Florence in Italy, Europe, the Earth, the Solar system, third planet from the Sun. He is dreaming of an elderly but beautiful, silver-haired woman; she standing near a bloody river, full of bodies. All of a sudden…
“She pointed now to a writhing pair of legs, which protruded upside down from the earth, apparently belonging to some poor soul who had been buried headfirst to his waist. The man’s pale thigh bore a single letter—written in mud—R.R? Langdon thought, uncertain. As in … Robert? “Is that … me?””
No, Mr. Langdon. I am glad to inform you this is your creator. ‘R’ means ‘rich and rotten writer’, perhaps also ‘rabid’. Like in ‘rabid theories’ or ‘rabid fiction’. As you maybe remember symbology is a tricky subject – one sign or letter might have more than meaning. You see? Who can say Dan Brown’s books can’t teach you a thing or two?
Ok, enough of waffling, here comes
the bride our new female lead:
“She appeared to be in her early thirties. She wore blue scrubs and had tied her blond hair back in a thick ponytail that swung behind her as she walked.“I’m Dr. Sienna Brooks,” she said, giving Langdon a smile as she entered. (…)Tall and lissome, Dr. Brooks moved with the assertive gait of an athlete. Even in shapeless scrubs, she had a willowy elegance about her. Despite the absence of any makeup that Langdon could see, her complexion appeared unusually smooth, the only blemish a tiny beauty mark just above her lips. Her eyes, though a gentle brown, seemed unusually penetrating, as if they had witnessed a profundity of experience rarely encountered by a person her age. ”
Mmm… appetizing indeed! A lissome blonde with chocolate eyes? And a British doctor to boot, with a good, practical knowledge of…er…human anatomy? A tiny beauty mark you say? Oh, Langdon, you old lecher! I suppose your bachelorhood years will finally come to an end. *insert here a powerful, desperate sigh of all those ladies, matrons and teen girls secretly in love with our hero. Half of them will dye their hair if they get a moment or two to spare. Next time you see a sea of peroxide blondes swishing their ponytails, natural or artificial, in public you will know why – call it the Langdon effect. The hottest fashion around at the moment.*
“(…) a powerfully built woman effortlessly unstraddled her BMW motorcycle and advanced with the intensity of a panther stalking its prey. Her gaze was sharp. Her close-cropped hair—styled into spikes —stood out against the upturned collar of her black leather riding suit. She checked her silenced weapon, and stared up at the window where Robert Langdon’s light had just gone out.”
Woo-hoo, it seems it will be a very feminist installment! Women everywhere, even among the baddies! You go, Hell’s Angels Mama! (pst, pst, her name is Vayentha. Cool, isn’t it? *giggle*).
“Sienna Brooks gazed absently out the kitchen window and wondered where the day would lead her. (…) She knew it was probably just the adrenaline, but she found herself strangely attracted to the American professor. In addition to his being handsome, he seemed to possess a sincerely good heart. In some distant, alternate life, Robert Langdon might even be someone she could be with. He would never want me, she thought. I’m damaged.”
|A vertical panorama of a copy of the statue of David by Michelangelo on the Piazza della Signoria in Florence, Italy. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)|
Now repeat after me: AWWWWWWWWWWWW…wasn’t it sweet?
But wait a moment… they’ve just met; I grant you, she saw him almost naked in hospital but then she took him barely conscious home so they hardly talked at all and all of a sudden she knows he has a very good…heart!? Neither nose, nor face, nor biceps, nor buttocks nor tights nor abs but heart? Hey, Sienna, what made her think so? How could you possibly see his heart/or what did he do to make you assume that much? Fainted?
Oh, never mind, who would care about such trifles when right afterwards the adrenaline junkies are going to get their fix. Are you prepared, gentlemen and ladies (but now mostly gentlemen)? Grip your armrests and here it goes:
“The spike-haired woman had just entered, but Langdon could not fathom how she had gotten the address. Adrenaline coursed through his system, disjointing his thought process once again. “My own government sent someone to kill me?” Sienna looked equally astounded. “Robert, that means the original attempt on your life at the hospital also was sanctioned by your government.” She got up and double-checked the lock on the apartment door. “If the U.S. Consulate has permission to kill you …” She didn’t finish the thought, but she didn’t have to. The implications were terrifying.”
Go Vayentha, go! By the way you know your government sucks if even Robert Langdon jumps to conclusions and immediately starts accusing them of the worst. I hope Mr. Obama and all the Americans will read this book and take the necessary steps – PR, stupid!
“As his men disappeared into the apartment building, Brüder stood watch at the front door, pulling out his comm device and contacting the person in charge.
“It’s Brüder,” he said. “We’ve successfully tracked Langdon through his computer IP address. My team is moving in. I’ll alert you when we have him.””
I love German baddies who have to announce the obvious time and again, sounding like the dumbest character ever or like a machine. If you are stupid and you are German, you had it coming. If you are stupid and you are American you simply teach symbology at Harvard.
“Sienna had never imagined, when she and Robert Langdon first met, that it would lead to this. This is more than I bargained for. When Sienna had left the hospital with Langdon, she thought they were fleeing a woman with spiked hair and a gun. ”
This is actually less than I bargained for. It seems the editor took a long nap at some point and the whole section (which I didn’t want to quote because it was too long) remained delightfully muddled and written in a disarmingly bad style. Pure, undilluted Dan Brown special! Whan can be said? Go Vayentha, go!
“Sienna reached up and gently smoothed out Langdon’s Brioni suit jacket and adjusted his collar. “You look very presentable, Robert.” She gave him a demure smile, adjusted her own sweater, and set out.”
Awww…but so very typical. The lady is clearly smitten, ready to drag Langdon to bed, to altar, chain him to the wall of her bedroom or kitchen (choose the most exciting option). In short she is salivating over him. Robert says…nothing. Ah, those strong and silent types *false swoon*.
|The Rape of the Sabine Women by Giambologna, in the Loggia dei Lanzi in Florence. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)|
“VAYENTHA HAD ABANDONED her motorcycle just north of the Palazzo Vecchio and was approaching on foot along the perimeter of the Piazza della Signoria. As she wound her way through the Loggia dei Lanzi’s outdoor statuary, she could not help but notice that all the figures seemed to be enacting a variation on a single theme: violent displays of male dominance over women.
The Rape of the Sabines.
The Rape of Polyxena.”
Now I am officially setting up Vayentha’s fan club. She comes, she looks, she notices the most important things…she’s got brains, a head of spiked hair and that BMW bike! If you want to join contact me and we’ll discuss it further, maybe create a pin and so on. So what she is going to be killed soon? KILLED yes, you read it right but it’s hardly a spoiler. If you are an independent female character who doesn’t fawn on Langdon your fictional life in a Dan Brown novel will be short.My heart is bleeding but it must go on.
“Sienna Brooks was in fact totally bald, her bare scalp smooth and pale, like a cancer patient undergoing chemotherapy.”
Oh goody, another sinister fashion pointer. Next time you see a bald head you’ll never know whether it is a skinhead or a Robert Langdon fan. Let me tell you just this: never trust a bald head in Dan Brown’s books, be it a man or a woman. NEVER. If even your own hair decides to part with you something MUST be wrong. Look at professor Langdon. He has a good heart and is as fit as a fiddle. Not even
“I’ve heard of denial,” Langdon quipped blithely, “but I don’t think it exists.”
Duh. Of course it exists. Denial is a river, professor. In Egypt. You know, a country with pyramids and mummies, inhabited by Sphinxes, Pharaohs and such. Plenty of interesting symbols to explore too.
“Lira for your thoughts,” Sienna whispered beside him.Langdon glanced up, smiling wearily. “I keep thinking I’ll wake up at home and discover this was all a bad dream.”
Sienna cocked her head, looking demure. “You wouldn’t miss me if you woke up and found out I wasn’t real?”Langdon had to grin. “Yes, actually, I would miss you a little.”
Awwwww…she flirts with him again…they will marry, mark my words. Unless…after all lira doesn’t exist anymore and is worthless…oh dear, she will try to kill him or betray him, she will!!!She is bald and cannot be trusted!
Now one big fat spoiler:
“According to the provost, Sienna Brooks and Bertrand Zobrist had been longtime lovers. They were active together in some kind of underground Transhumanist movement.“
Ha! Didn’t I told ya? A bald girl = bad news! * thousands of matrons,ladies and girls, infatuated with Langdon imagine him being hugged to their more or less ample bosoms while reciting seven wonders of Florence architecture.*
And now the finale grande: Sienna is hiding in Istanbul, Turkey, everybody is chasing her, mayhem and mayhap and maypole around (just for alliteration’s sake, it doesn’t have to make sense, it is not that kind of book) and Langdon wants damn answers! A kingdom for an answer! Can you run away from him? No way, especially if you are a blonde female in dire need of a white knight because your previous one proved to be…rather dark.
“She began trembling, her shoulders hunched and shuddering. When she finally looked at Langdon, her eyes were overflowing with tears. “Robert,” she sobbed. “I can’t run away anymore. I have nowhere left to go.”
Awwww…still I preferred Vayentha. She had a bike and plenty of destinations to go.
“Brüder had an uneasy sense that he was missing something.”
Vayentha of course.
“Sienna, I know you want to run, but I’m not going to let you. Sooner or later you need to start trusting someone.”“I can’t …” She was sobbing. “I’m not sure I know how.”
Langdon held her tighter. “You start small. You take that first tiny step. You trust me.””
Start creating wedding widgets – a bald bride and all that SYMBOLOGY. Or maybe not. Remember, she is bald.
“As Sienna stared up at the American professor, she felt a surge of emotion she wasn’t accustomed to feeling. Without warning, she stood on her tiptoes and kissed him full on the lips. When she pulled away, her eyes were moist with tears. “I’ll miss you,” she whispered. Langdon smiled affectionately and wrapped his arms around her. “I’ll miss you, too.””
Translation: ‘Sienna, you are a babe, you truly are, even without hair; still I’ve got several babes waiting in the wings, all as hot as you and one even distantly related to Jesus Christ, so be a good girl and wait for your turn in a corner. If I feel lonely and in dire need of some bunga-bunga action I might, remember MIGHT, call you. Or not. Ciao bambina, arrivederci, grazie mille, I guess I don’t have to show the door to a woman with the IQ of 207, right?
Are you feeling the increase of the humility level? It’s caused by thousands of ladies, girls and matrons crying and blubbering over that delightful book. It ended well, it kept you entertained, it taught you about art of Florence, it broke your heard but in a positive way and in a completely controlled environment, with plenty of doctors and WHO officials around. Robert Langdon remains still single, ready to be
leashed, chained, enslaved married. You can start counting your days till the next installment. Ah, Dan Brown, you charmer, you.
I am speechless.
Yes, he did it again. Wrote a book worse than all the rest. The worst Dan Brown so far. The worst of the worst. A kind of achievement, don’t you think? And you killed an innocent female character in a very rude fashion, Dan Brown you monster! Avenging Vayentha I pronounce your newest book…