Man, what can I say about Angels & Demons that hasn’t probably already been said by thousands of other people before me?
I can at least say that as with The Da Vinci Code, there’s a bone structure to this story that I halfway like; it was at least interesting enough to keep me reading. That bone structure, however, is sadly bogged down by writing that for the most part just doesn’t work for me as a reader. There’s an argument to be made for Brown’s short, choppy style being what you want for a thriller–after all, the emphasis here is supposed to be on the action and the clues that Langdon uncovers, not the elegance of the wording. Problem is, that style isn’t generally snappy enough to deliver the tension that it should.
Sometimes it does work, I’ll grant. The bit I actually like the best is a sequence where Langdon’s trapped in a sarcophagus, which triggers his claustrophobia: a scenario that felt a lot more personal and scary than the later, over-the-top climax where our hero pulls the most ludicrous escape from an aircraft since James Bond. And I’ll also allow that the camerlengo is an effective character–usually. I’ve got issues with his big God Good Science Bad diatribe that he delivers not long before the climax, as well as with some of the assumptions behind his entire set of motivations.
All in all, A&D as well as its sequel strike me in a very odd place for books. Which is to say, bad enough that I’m definitely not impressed, and yet, decent enough light amusement and the printed equivalent of MST3K fodder. Two stars.