Review of "Angels and Demons" by Dan Brown

I don’t normally review books, but this one I have to get off my chest. I’ll put the summary right up top for those who don’t want to read the whole thing: This book is a horribly unimaginative way to ruin appreciation of ancient art and completely ruin any hope of ever understanding basic physics.
Not only is the protagonist in this the same as in “The Da Vinci Code”, but the antagonist might as well be the same. Both are crippled, brilliant, rich good guys turned bad guys. But the fun doesn’t stop there. He also has an incredible good-hearted holy man who does no wrong in the whole book until the end, where he straps on the only parachute in the chopper and jumps out, saving his own blessed skin while leaving Mr. Langdon to die with the bomb. These horrible characters lead into a plot that looks more and more like a bad Scooby Doo cartoon the further you get into it.
This is only topped by the author’s complete lack of knowledge about the science fiction aspects of his little tale. For example, the head of CERN somehow owns an X-33 spaceplane. You know, the one that was shelved before it ever left the drawing board stage? Oh, and it does Mach 15…INSIDE the Earth’s atmosphere. If I were to say “somehow, the pilot can still see through the fireball at the leading edge of the plane” that would be giving Dan Brown too much credit. He doesn’t even acknowledge the existence of said fireball.
Next, he completely butchers antimatter. The whole premise of the book is that a weapon can be made out of antimatter that is significantly more powerful than a Nuclear weapon, and can be stored in something completely non-metal. There are too many things wrong with this to list. As an example, he seems to think that anti-matter/matter collisions (annihilation) means that matter is destroyed (not true). He at least did get the idea of a containment unit basically right, but completely missed A) That this has already been done (see Penning Trap), and B) That it is freaking HUGE. And metal. And power hungry.
But the icing on the cake (and the part where I could no longer read the stupid book) came when the protagonist jumps out of a chopper from 3 miles up and uses a freaking windshield sun-shade to slow and guide his decent. Really? How can any thinking person read this and not go “What?!?” All you have to do is take a canvas bag and let it out of a car window at 60MPH while trying to hold on to know that this is DEFINITELY not going to work.
In short, the book is trite and contrived, and despite being fiction, purports enough BS as fact to set back the nation’s IQ another 15 points.


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