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. This evening 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.
In order to evade a tormented enemy who is one step ahead of them at every turn, Langdon and Vidal must navigate labyrinthine passageways of hidden history and ancient religion. On a trail marked only by enigmatic symbols and elusive modern art, Langdon and Vidal uncover the clues that will bring them face-to-face with a world-shaking truth that has remained buried – until now.
Author: Dan Brown
Publisher: Bantam Press
Release Date: 03/10/2017
Page Count: 480
My Chosen Format: Hardback
My Rating of ‘Origin’: 4 out of 5
Thrillers, for me, aren’t something I pick up all too often. I think having them once in a while is a good thing as I seem to enjoy them all the more for the rarity of how much they crop up in my reading list. I love fantasy, sci-fi and horror, but they just don’t often have that page-turning, adrenaline-fueled reading frenzy that a thriller often does.
I remember falling in love with Dan Brown’s plot dynamic of ‘find clues in art/religious text/architecture a long time ago and have had this one sat on my desk for what felt like forever. I’m so glad I finally cracked it open and gave it a read. Although it is the fifth book in the Robert Langdon series, you can quite happily read it first, middle or last. It does not spoil any of the books that come before it.
Right from the get go I was hooked by this. The whole plot revolves around a renowned futurist having made a discovery that will shake the very foundations of religion to the point where people will just sit up and realise their beliefs aren’t what they thought them to be. After witnessing his ex-student and friend, the man responsible for this discovery, assassinated just as he was outlining his findings in front of a global audience, Robert Langdon and the curator of the Guggenheim museum in Bilbao find themselves in a life and death struggle to find a way of releasing this discovery to the entire world.
The writing was, as can be expected with Dan Brown, incredibly good. He has a very intelligent, informative and detailed style as far as outlining sciences and the general surroundings/monuments/architecture. After reading this, you will have a great knowledge of the architect Antoni Gaudi and his stunning buildings and parks that are dotted around Barcelona (these buildings play a large part in Origin). Brown is very good at leading the reader along with the characters and making it feel natural and simple to keep up with despite the often heady sciences involved. Not once, when running around the streets of Bilbao or Barcelona did I feel ‘lost’, It was quite nice, having been to Bilbao myself, to read of familiar landmarks/buildings etc …
For all his quality, I did find the parts with the assassin to be quite boring. I just didn’t feel overly engaged with him as a character and felt that, at times, the things he was being told directly contradicted things he already knew and nothing was said of it. His scenes should have been interesting, they were written in an interesting way, I just felt no affinity towards him as a character so struggled through his sections and breathed a joyful sigh of relief whenever we switched back to Langdon.
The book as a whole was fairly light on action and seemed to focus more on historical facts (Gaudi, much about the church etc …) and discussing the question of how religion and science could/could not coexist. For all that, I still felt it a very enjoyable and easy to read novel. I could be a little biased in the fact that I am a huge fan of the character of Robert Langdon.
I felt a tad underwhelmed by the ending, good though it was. With that said, the build up to the end felt worth the read to me.