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Mysteries and Memories Blog

Origin by Dan Brown

A newer book from Dan Brown with the continuing character Robert Langdon. It was a pleasant alternative in that Robert Langdon did not have a female crush or love interest or damsel in distress to save. There is a main female character, but she has her own, independent set of challenges and fits the role of a helper on his quest.

In this novel he stands mostly on his own to work out the puzzle left by a friend. The puzzle is one of the greatest of mankind, a riddle of the Sphinx, if you will. It is an existential riddle that brings religion and science to the forefront and on a collision course. The answer to the riddle that Robert Langdon's longtime friend has proposed or theorized threatens powerful people in science as well as religious circles. It seems the people are threatened by a fear of the unknown or a potential loss of their own power or authority.

While Dan Brown covered religious ground in previous books, it was mostly Catholicism or Christianity. Origin, in a refreshing openness, includes the world's three major religions, Islam, Judaism, and Christianity. Unfortunately the reason for coming together for the leaders of the three religions is to lament a possible loss of power and make plans to thwart it. In previous novels, Dan Brown does a great job of building up each section of the puzzle to the exciting conclusion of each section, then making a segue to the next. But, Origin seems to lack the excitement in the search for the puzzle pieces and falls flat when the pieces are found. The segues to new sections seem forced and not elegant as before. Overall, the experience of the novel was bland and the ending a confusing disappointment. This is unfortunate because his prior novels left the reader with a sense of accomplishment and completion. A reader might feel cheated of genuine, even if merely fictional, responses to the existential questions asked. The question may have been fully fleshed out over the course of the book, but the answer is given short shrift. Truly a disappointment from this author considering his other successes.


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