(Look at that magnificent beast. At least Tom Hanks has better hair in this one)

When I was in junior high, I read Angels and Demons for the first time. I read The Da Vinci Code first, not knowing that it was actually fiction, but loved it so much, I wanted to read the rest of D-Brown’s books (More on that later). I was OBSESSED with Dan Brown and his books, so much so that I wanted to be a symbologist when I grew up.

“You know, symbology isn’t a real major or a job,” my uncle said, deflating my dreams. Oh well. Anyway, I remember having this 3×3 inch notecard that I would use as a bookmark. On it, I would trace the Illuminati brands and write quotes I liked from the book. During this time, I was getting confirmed in the Lutheran church and we had to pick a Bible verse. I picked, “Upon this rock I shall build my church” STRICTLY BECAUSE IT WAS IN THE BOOK. Like I said, obsessed. In my freshman year of high school, I did a report on this

Zach, circa 9th grade

book and actually got into an argument with my English teacher about how realistic the book was.

“So you’re telling me, that I can jump out of a plane and just carry a tarp with me and the drag will keep me alive? You know that’s not right, it’s ridiculous!”

“BUT THE BOOK SAYS A SQUARE YARD OF DRAG WILL…” Of course, if it is in a Dan Brown book, it is real.

So I was very excited when I decided to re-read this book. I really wanted to see if it held up to my nostalgia. While I was reading it, bits and bobs of memory would come back and I would smile or laugh. Well, in short, it held up, but in a different way.

angelsanddemonsFor those who don’t know, this is where we are introduced to Robert “The Dolphin” Langdon and his Mickey Mouse watch. Langdon is called to CERN after the murder of one of their top scientists who was branded with the word “Illuminati.” Never to shy away from a good mystery, he travels to Geneva. He meets Vittoria Vetra, the scientists adopted daughter who was working with him on his super secret project. Turns out, they were trying to create the universe. After some complicated, probably not real science, Vittoria reveals that they created a mini big bang, but also created antimatter, the opposite of matter. It is highly combustible and very destructive.

But *GASP* their largest sample has been stolen! The Hassassin, a villian working for the  Illuminati, took it and it is hidden in the Vatican. ON THE NIGHT OF CONCLAVE! How can they be expected to elect a Pope during a giant bomb threat. To make matters worse, the four Preferiti, or “Most likely to be voted Pope”, are missing, stolen by the Hassassin. It is up to Langdon and Vittoria to find the antimatter, the preferiti, and, perhaps, themselves.

As goofy as the book is, with its pseudo-science and pseudo-religion, I can’t help but love it. I really don’t think this has anything to do with nostalgia. For some reason, Danny Brown just speaks to me. It also may come from my enjoyment of terrible things. MST3K  is my jam and I unironically enjoy Birdemic. Maybe it is actually good. I dunno.

Some of my favorite things about this book:

  • Robert Langdon’s origin story (which is surprisingly similar to Batman’s)
  • Robert telling us how much he loves his house
  • Robert telling us how much he loves swimming
  • Robert Langdon in general
  • Vittoria only becomes an object of male affection in the last 200 pages and is actually a very strong female character otherwise
  • “Do you believe in heaven?” at the end of the book.

Next, I will be talking about The Da Vinci Code and the profound impact it had on my reading life.