Origin – Book Review
Dan Brown is one of my favorite authors, not because he is one of the best writers (he’s not!), but because he has these fascinating ideas that come up as really entertaining to me as a reader. Not to forget, the amount of research he does and the way he clearly declares how all the facts and places in his books are real makes him stand really tall for a fan like me. I have always enjoyed his books, despite of the similarities and therefore Origin was one of the most anticipated books of this year for me.
Brown is up with the Science VS Religion notion again
The story begins with Robert Landon’s arrival at the Guggenheim Museum Bilbao. He is there to attend the unveiling of a discovery that will bring a breakthrough in science and answer the most notorious question – “Where do we come from?”
The host of the evening is a former student of Langdon and a forty-year-old tech magnate Edmond Kirsch, who with his excellent computing and audacious predictions has become a controversially popular figure.
To no surprise, he is killed before he can make the announcement that is supposed to change the way we think and bring science above God. Now it is up to Langdon and the museum’s director Ambra Vidal to unlock Kirsch’s secret.
For some reason, I was a bit skeptical about this book.
The theme of our origin has been done and dusted in Hollywood. If you are a movie freak, you must have seen a lot of sci-fi flicks, you must be familiar with many names which revolve around the same theme. I don’t read sci-fi books, but I’m sure the origin of mankind is not exactly a new topic to debate upon even in the literature world.
When I had read a few pages of the book, a fear started enveloping me about how it will end. Of course, I will talk about the climax of origin, but let me first discuss about all those 400 pages before that.
I am quite disappointed with the writing.
Dan Brown has done literally zero efforts in coming up with something cannot be related to his previous books in the Robert Langdon series. Well, I have never had a problem with it up till now. That is because I always loved how Langdon worked towards uncovering a mystery and all the facts that were revealed in the process. Also, the whole journey used to be thrilling and fast paced.
In Origin, Robert Langdon has only a little to do. In most of the pages, you will read about what is happening post the death of a person who was about to make a huge announcement. It felt like Robert was just a little part of the huge mess. The book was piled up with unnecessary characters and subplots that just made it thick and less intriguing. In the whole plot, Robert just had to (spoiler ahead) find the password of Kirsch’s phone. Of course, the plot twists occur, but they are way too predictable.
As usual, the female supporting lead has only a little to do (well, Brown didn’t even give enough space to Langdon this time). It becomes agitating when you already know what is going to happen next. But the author takes you through thirty some pages before telling you exactly what you had in mind.
Origin takes inspiration from our present world.
You do get the idea of how news travel in the modern world. How the technology is used in a different manner by common people and then that in the dark corners of the internet. We do have a question in our mind with all the advancements – “Where are we going?” This is supposedly the next big revelation Kirsch was about to make and according to his statement it was more shocking than our origin.
The Climax of Origin
There will be spoilers ahead. Don’t read if you haven’t read the book yet. To be humble, the book did not break any new grounds with the much hyped revelation. After such a huge build up, when the answer was finally revealed, I had simply stopped caring about it. But anyhow, it was better than the answer for ‘Where are we going?’. It was so generic that I believe 8 out of the 10 movies we see are developed around the same concept. Of course, we know that the machines are going to be a significant part of our lives. The hybrid models are not too far as well. We are already using AI in our day to day routine. Amendments are being made in the field of science to embed that intelligence in our body. Well, the pacemakers and tony bots cleaning our blood are a few examples.
In a nutshell, I just want to say that the climax did not have a shocking value. The answers provided were something we have already seen or read about. To top that, Brown also threw in a plot twist after the climax of the book. Well, I did not see that coming and that is probably because I had lost interest. But it was over the top and lazily tried proving how AI is a dangerous entity and something that cannot be fully controlled. Don’t tell me that comes as a surprise to you!
Overall, I was not impressed this time.
I found Origin quite okayish and so far it is the only book by Brown that I did not enjoy. I wish I could remove about 200 pages from the book and make it more crisp. It could actually prove to be a fast paced and thrilling journey then. If you are a fan and have read his previous books, I know there’s no stopping you. However, do not expect it to be great.
Historically, the most dangerous men on earth were men of God…especially when their gods became threatened.
In the beginning, man created god.
May our philosophies keep pace with our technologies. May our compassion keep pace with our powers. And may love, not fear, be the engine of change.
Love is a private thing. The world does not need to know.