Book vs Movie: The DaVinci Code // Review

Whaddup peeps? As of exactly seven days ago, I finished the second book in the Robert Langdon series by Dan Brown, The DaVinci Code.

First things first: I would like to preface this by saying that this book was amazing. But I would also like to say that the movie, while similar, was not as good as the book.

I think I told you guys a while ago that I had re-watched the movie The DaVinci Code for the first time in like 10 years. I really, really enjoyed the movie and was so excited about it that I went to straight to the bookstore to pick up the first two books in the series, Angels & Demons and The DaVinci Code. The first book, A&D, was spectacular. I was so enthralled in this book from beginning to end, it was just really fun and interesting and I loved it.

I felt the same way about The DaVinci Code – it was extremely well written, well researched, and put together. It had everything and more that I could want from a murder mystery book, and it really made me think back on history and Bible versus and things that I never could have put together to make an interesting chain of historical evidence (whether it’s fiction or not, it’s very intriguing.)

That being said, by reading this book I was actually a little more disappointed in the movie version. First of all, I don’t think they should have released the movie counterpart BEFORE A&D. Since it technically comes first in the series I think it would have made more sense to continue with releasing the movies in chronological order simply because of the character development that happens in Angels & Demons.

Here’s where I want to clarify something: I was super excited when I realized that the first movie was actually the second book. I thought it was really cool that they could switch up stories like that and still make everything in the plot make sense.

What I didn’t like was the fact that Robert Langdon, the main character and symbologist, was used in the movie to promote the fact that Sophie was related to Jesus and therefore had healing powers. In the first book, Angels & Demons, Langdon goes through a lot of difficult situations involving tight quarters and closed off spaces. Langdon, you may have guessed, is claustrophobic. He doesn’t like elevators, he doesn’t like planes, he doesn’t like anything small and enclosed.

Well, in the first book that’s never resolved; that’s just his character flaw. Good ol’ Langdon, always finding himself in tiny closed off places! That scamp! In the second book, this flaw is still not resolved. But in the first movie The DaVinci Code it is! In the movie Sophie has this weird healing power that allows her to touch people’s foreheads and cure them. So what does Sophie do? She puts her hand on Robert Langdons head and he all of a sudden can be stuck in tight corners. WHAT?!

Fine. I get that you’re trying to make a point to really prove that she has these mystical ties to Jesus and that Mary Magdalene and Jesus are her ancestors. But are you really going to sit there and tell me that she can frickin’ heal people by touching their heads but then never mention that AT ALL in the book? Like where do you even come up with that part of the plot? It’s never alluded to in the novel, it’s never mentioned that some ancestors had magical healing powers – there’s nothing even remotely close to that to give anyone that idea, and yet in the movie here she is just healing people whenever she wants.

I don’t know, I know this is a small flaw to find but it actually really irks me. I feel like if you’re going to make this HUGE point of proving that this woman is related to Jesus then you should back it up. In the book it would have been pretty easy to squeeze that little piece in because it is, after all, the second book in the series. There’s already been one book where we learn of his claustrophobia, so why not get rid of it in the second book? But they didn’t do that.

Instead, they let him stay claustrophobic and continue on to find the murderer. But in the movie they make it a big spectacle that she can heal him because that’s what her mother used to do to her and oh by the way did I mention she’s related to Jesus?

It all just seems too convenient. I was perfectly fine with having The DaVinci Code come out in film version first, I figure that each book is different enough that they can get away with it. But I just can’t condone putting magic healing powers in a movie that barely goes into his extreme fears simply to prove a point.

I can’t speak for everyone but I’m pretty sure that if we’re reading The DaVinci Code we’re not really going to second guess magical powers in the middle of the novel. It’s just not going to happen. Everyone is too involved in the book to care. I mean you could throw in a gorilla riding a unicorn with Gollum on his back yelling “I’M THE REAL JESUS” and I don’t think anyone would question it.

I guess what I’m trying to say is that I would be fine with this whole healing power thing in the movie if it was alluded to in the book. But there was nothing that I read that would support that theory. And I’ve seen a lot of movies where they take away plot to fit it into the movie, I can’t remember a movie that added extra plot to it. I feel like they could have gone without it, or at least explained it a little bit in the book.

All that said, though, I thought this book was really great. If you’re someone who enjoys history, who likes reading about secret societies or if you just really like mystery novels this book is for you. It has everything in it: action, adventure, murder, love, car chases. Everything.

Dan Brown does an amazing job of really getting his readers to accept the theories he’s putting out there because without them none of the book would make sense. You can tell that he really did a lot of research and knows what he’s talking about when it comes to secret societies and rituals. He also consistently blows my mind with all of his symbolism work. I know that the main character is a symbologist, but it has to take a lot of time and effort to truly understand the meanings behind so many of the pictures, architecture and random trinkets discussed in the books.

I would highly recommend this book to anyone at all who loves mysteries. The book is about 600 pages but it goes by so fast with all of the craziness going on! I guarantee you’ll love this book. I do recommend that you read the book first in this case just because the book does a much better job at explaining all of the complicated rituals and beliefs than the movie does. The movie gives you more of a bare minimum or an overview instead of a solid explanation.

I’m going to start the next book in the series The Lost Symbol – this one is about Freemasons!! I’m very excited to read it and I’ll be sure to keep you posted on how it’s going! My only complaint so far is that they are working on the third movie which will be Inferno, but the order goes Angels & Demons, The DaVinci Code, The Lost Symbol, Inferno. I don’t know what it is about the movies, but they just want everything to be all outta whack.

If you’ve read any of the Robert Langdon series comment down below and let me know what you thought so we can talk about it and I won’t feel like a crazy person just sitting here obsessing over these books!

Until next time, friends!

Rachel

e-mail: rachel@booksandcleverness.com

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Top 3 Books I Want To Read

Hi friends! So this week I’m in a funky mood. I’ve been wanting to buy more books but I don’t have enough money and I already have a ton of books that I haven’t read yet that I need to read. It pains me to want to buy books so badly and not do it, but it’s for the best, I’m sure.

I have a pretty big collection of books. Most of them I’ve read but some of them I haven’t. Recently I’ve been trying to read all the books I own instead of going out and buying new books. This is great for my bank account, and it’s super difficult for me. So rather than pine and think of all the books I want to buy, I’m going to get myself excited about the books that I already own.

So without further ado, let’s begin:

  1. The Revenant – Michael PunkeTheRevenant_Poster

I actually just saw the movie based on the book and it was fantastic! I had no idea that this movie was a book first (published in 2015) and the second I saw the cover at Barnes & Noble I had to buy it. This is my most recent purchase and I’m just itching to read it. For those who haven’t heard of the book or the movie, the premise is about a trapper in the 1800s who is mauled by a bear and left for dead, but not before his son is killed before his eyes with no way to stop it. This book/movie is the ultimate book of revenge and vindication, and I can’t wait to read it.

Side note: The movie was incredible (yes, I will eventually do a Book vs Movie on this one). And I love Leonardo DiCaprio. He’s easily one of my favorite male actors. Everything he touches turns to gold (except his Oscar…. poor Leo.)

2. The Mole People: Life in the Tunnels Beneath New York City – Jennifer Toth

This is a book I’ve wanted to read since the mid-2000s but was a little too scared to. As someone who lives relatively close to New York City, I’ve walked those streets many-a-time and don’t really like thinking that there could potentially be an entire race of people who live beneath your feet in total squalor, but with a somewhat advanced society. I don’t know, it just always scared the living daylights out of me.

molepeopleBut recently I’ve wanted to learn more. I’ve been told that this book is fiction, but nearly everything I’ve read has said that this book is categorized under “non-fiction” and “history” and that fascinates me even more. This book and the stories told within it could be fiction or they could be facts.

It’s one of those things where when I think of it, my brain logically goes into “oh please, this is totally fiction” but slowly changes to, “hold up. Of course it’s true!” I mean let’s just discuss the possibility here for a second: New York City is completely overpopulated. Years and years ago it was so crowded that they couldn’t build outward anymore, only upward. Who’s to say that they couldn’t built downward as well?

Looking at an entire city filled with more than 8 million people spanned over 305 square miles, where are they all going to live? Let’s assume that each person has an apartment – that’s 400 square feet that they need to live in. At a certain point you can’t build flat anymore – you have to start building up. There’s unlimited space in the sky. Maybe having the world’s tallest apartment building isn’t the greatest idea, but hell! It gets people to be off the streets and in their own space!

So if you agree with the fact that you can’t build on the ground anymore, and can only go up, what makes you think you can’t go down? What in the world would stop people who don’t have the money to afford a NYC apartment from inhabiting the tunnels hundreds of feet below the surface? Nothing! They’ve already been excavated, you can continue to excavate the area, and you’re free of the windy air pummeling down on the other NYC homeless. And that’s why I absolutely can’t wait to read it. It’s just so interesting!

    3. The Lost Symbol and Inferno – Dan Brown

I know I’ve already discussed reading the first of the Robert Langdon series Angels & Demons but I’m just so so so excited to finish this series. I’m halfway through the second book, The DaVinci Code, and I’m absolutely loving it. My boyfriend was sweet enough to surprise me with the last two RobertLangdonbooks of the series so that I wouldn’t have to go out and buy them. (He’s a good man who knows the way to my heart!) And since then, they’ve been sitting on our coffee table just whispering, “read me! we love you! you know you’re curious! read me!” and damn is it hard to resist!

I’m not even halfway through the entire series and I’m already thinking this is one of the best mystery/adventure/historical fiction-ish series I’ve read. It has everything: history, murder, bad guys, guns, an awesome symbologist, super smart women, and conspiracy theories (that honestly make a hell of a lot of sense)! It’s amazing!

I highly recommend reading these books if you haven’t already (I know, I’m late to the Dan Brown game).

So those are the top three books that I have in my possession right now that I absolutely can not wait to read!!!!!!

If you have any books that you think I should read, or any books that you think I should add to my collection please feel free to let me know!

Until next time!

Rachel

e-mail: rachel@booksandcleverness.com

Angels & Demons – Dan Brown Review

Hi friends! I’ve been meaning to write this post for the last week, so I’m really excited that I get to write it now. “Rachel, why are you so excited to write this blog?” Because, friends, I have finished the very first book in my quest to read all of the Robert Langdon series by Dan Brown. angelsanddemons

I know, I know. I’m super late to this party. Here’s how it happened:

On New Years Day I watched The DaVinci Code on Netflix. My boyfriend and I hadn’t watched this movie since it came out in theatres (2006, holy shit!), so I was really excited to watch it. I’m a huge fan of history, a huge fan of secret societies (hay, Masons, haaaay!) and a huge fan of adventure movies, particularly when there’s a mystery involved.

What I remembered about the movie was minimal, so I really had an open mind going in… I was enthralled the entire time. My boyfriend not so much, but I loved it. So I immediately decided I needed to read the series and we took a late night trip to Barnes & Noble and picked up Angels & Demons and The DaVinci Code by Dan Brown.

I think I’ve mentioned that recently – maybe in the last year or so – I’ve been reading at a much slower pace than usual. Well, when I started reading Angels & Demons on New Years Day night, I read 75 pages which is basically a full 50 more pages than I’ve been reading per night (A fact that I’m incredibly ashamed about – I’m sorry! I just get sleepy!)

To say that I was excited about these first 75 pages is an understatement. I wasn’t just excited, I was involved. I was in Rome with Robert Langdon and I was seeing a dead scientists on the floor with a brand on his chest. In fact, I was so involved that for the next four weeks I read A&D almost every night and finished the more than 700 page book and was so incredibly proud of myself. Again, I hadn’t been reading more than TWENTY-FIVE PAGES PER NIGHT. I don’t know if you know how long it takes to finish a book by reading twenty pages per night, but the answer is: a long time. A lot longer than I want. It really is almost a shameful amount because I had been reading 100 pages per night easily for a very, very long time.

Anyway, finishing the book was awesome and sad. It was an amazing book and I got to start the next one in the series, but it was also a great book that I didn’t want to end.

So let’s get into the review. 5 stars. 100%. A+. Seventeen thumbs ups.

Seriously, I have not read a book that I have enjoyed this much since The Martian back in July 2015. That’s a long ass time, man.

This book, for starters IS the first book in the series. Why The DaVinci Code movie came out first, I have no idea. My only guess is that it was more popular than the first book and could easily be an independent story, separated from the rest. But nonetheless, it is, in fact, the first book of the series. It goes:

  1. Angels & Demons
  2. The DaVinci Code
  3. The Lost Symbol
  4. Inferno

Now, A&D was incredible. Again, I know I’m way too late jumping on the bandwagon, but honestly I’m really glad that’s happened because now I know that there’s a solid movie series to go along with the books when I’ve completed them.

I remember when the movie Angels and Demons came out and I remember loving it. But I don’t remember anything else. There were little snippets of memory that I thought might be from the movies but I wasn’t sure (like some guy being branded by a fire) but I didn’t remember who was good and who was bad. That made reading this book even better.

I know that I’ve discussed this, but I actually don’t mind seeing the movie version before the book version because then I get an idea of how someone looks, I can really imagine their features and facial expressions. I’m not saying it’s great for every movie, but I’m never really upset that I saw the movie first. That’s only happened a handful of times.

That’s why when I was reading A&D I had so much fun following around Robert Langdon. Not only is the character strong, funny, intelligent and fun to follow, he also looks exactly like Tom Hanks in my brain and I’m A-OK with that. Who doesn’t want to think about Tom Hanks before bed? He has such a soothing presence.

This book was witty, funny, sad, emotional, thrilling, and every other adjective under the stars. It was an absolute joy to read and it made me really look into the historical side of the societies Brown brings up. He’s a phenomenal writer and a brilliant man when it comes to intertwining historical and factual references into completely fictional situations. Not to be confused with historical fiction. He is not a historical fiction writer. He is simply wonderful at using facts about history to support his own crazy fictional adventure.

I would liken this book to something a little more for young adults: the movie National Treasure with Nicolas Cage. I don’t care what anyone says, I really like Nic Cage. Rage Cage is awesome, and he might not be the best actor but he sure is fun to watch. My boyfriend and I have been saying we’re going to watch Pay The Ghost for a while now, and maybe we just will this weekend! (Note: my boyfriend and I are people who really enjoy B movies and not great movies/movies with maybe not so great actors. We also like to be entertained. If you are like my sister and her husband, this movie, or anything with Rage Cage in it may not be suitable for you. You’ve been warned.)

Anywho, I really highly recommend this book to people who love history and who love to be challenged when reading a book. This book will keep you on your toes the entire time and I guarantee that if you don’t mind a reading a huge fucking book (700+ pages) with a lot of plot twists before you get the truth, you will LOVE this book. Go get it!

I’ve also just begun The DaVinci Code and I can’t wait to finish it. It’s about 500 pages, and I’m about a third of the way through, but it’s already amazing. I even remember the plot from the movie and it’s still good. I’ll keep you all posted on my thoughts of that book and the next books.

I’m instituting The DaVinci Code as the February book for the Books and Cleverness book club, but you can read whatever you want. Just get those books under your belt!

Well, that was a long one.

Until next time!

Rachel

e-mail: rachel@booksandcleverness.com