Origin by Dan Brown.
Synopsis… “Robert Langdon, Harvard professor of symbology and religious iconology, arrives at the Guggenheim Museum Bilbao to attend the unveiling of a discovery that “will change the face of science forever”. The evening’s host is his friend and former student, Edmond Kirsch, a forty-year-old tech magnate whose dazzling inventions and audacious predictions have made him a controversial figure around the world. Tonight is to be no exception: he claims he will reveal an astonishing scientific breakthrough to challenge the fundamentals of human existence. But Langdon and several hundred other guests are left reeling when the meticulously orchestrated evening is blown apart before Kirsch’s precious discovery can be revealed. With his life under threat, Langdon is forced into a desperate bid to escape, along with the museum’s director, Ambra Vidal. Together they flee to Barcelona on a perilous quest to locate a cryptic password that will unlock Kirsch’s secret”.
Overall rating 4 out of 5 stars.
The setting of Origin was perfect, it was set in Barcelona so it was nice to read one of Brown’s books where I knew the places being described, as I’ve been to Barcelona in the last few years. For me, this piqued my interest straight away and I loved reading how Brown described each location. Brown has this way of making you feel as though you are in the location, heightened only by the fact I know the city in question.
Character wise, I’ve always loved Langdon throughout the books, but Ambra was awesome. She was such a badass, despite the fact she was due to become the future Queen of Spain she didn’t hesitate in following what was right and doing what was necessary. And Winston, that was the biggest shock I’d read all year! I thought they all gelled together really well too, the dialogue was easy and really flowed between them despite the clear differences in the characters.
The story itself wasn’t Brown’s best, in my opinion, but it did still grip me. He has this clever way of writing a chapter with a cliff hanger and then in the following chapter completely swapping characters or locations so we want to keep reading!
It did get quite confusing, with the Church and Valdespino, the Regent and a lot of other minor characters that weren’t really fully developed but contributed to the story. There were also a couple of smaller plot lines that didn’t get tied up and were forgotten about, which frustrated me.
The ending though did give me the shock of my life and I wasn’t expecting it at all. But for me it wasn’t enough to bring the book up to the same standard as his other work.
Let me know if you’ve read Origin as I’d love to hear what you thought!