What makes a writer popular? Creativity? Prose? Style?
Then why is Dan Brown popular?
His books are some of the few novels I read. In fact, he is one of the only 2 authors I have recently (as in in the past 10 years) read multiple books from. The other being JK Rowling. Over the past few years I have read Da Vinci Code, Angels & Demons, Digital Fortress. And I have just started reading The Lost Symbol. Two chapters a day, on the toilet. I was planning to read The Deception Point after that, too. Not too sure about that anymore.
It’s quite disappointing to say the least. Where should I start?
Well, first, the repetitiveness really stands out, especially after you have read a few of his books. All the recurring themes – Christianity, strange symbols, ancient languages, secret societies, conspiracy theory, pseudoscience… the list goes on.
The repetitiveness is even in the writing. The diction and the choice of phrases. Have you tried counting how many “you are not alone“‘s there are on any given page?
It’s fun when you read it the first time… second time… and third time?… And then there is Robert Langdon. Ever since The Da Vinci Code proved to sell, every book following that features him as the main character. And even if you combine all the character development done on him in all 3 books, that’s still not too much at all. How much does the readers know about him?
He wears a Micky Mouse watch and is afraid of elevators. That’s about it.
For other characters it’s even worse. It’s always a knowledgeable charismatic man and a beautiful brainless woman. The sole purposes of the women always seem to be the sex in the endings, and so the guy can explain ancient mythologies to the reader by explaining to her.
And the antagonist is always a bloody and freaky guy that wants to blow the world up for fun.
Compared to other writers of similar fame, his writing SUCKS. For example, if you look at Harry Potter. Just pick ANY random sentence, and it’s full of imagery, figurative language, beautiful words, smile-inducing humour, and deep meanings. Dan Brown is nowhere near that.
A friend of mine also blogged about this some time ago, and I think she summed it up really nicely –
the fast pace keeps the page flipping, but you have to stop every couple of sentences to cringe at how awful some of his sentences are.
You can find the post at “A Giraffe’s Belly”, link on the right.
A few years ago I went to the Brighouse (Richmond) library and asked a librarian for help finding a Dan Brown book.
She said, with a very sarcastic voice, “Oh, you won’t find any Dan Brown book on the shelves…”.
Now, I think I know why.