Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Digital Fortress by Dan Brown

Published: 1998
Genre: Fiction, thriller
Pages: 430
When the NSA's invincible code-breaking machine encounters a mysterious code it cannot break, the agency calls in its head cryptographer, Susan Fletcher, a brilliant and beautiful mathematician. What she uncovers sends shock waves through the corridors of power. The NSA is being held hostage... not by guns or bombs, but by a code so ingeniously complex that if released it would cripple the U.S. intelligence. Caught in an accelerating tempest of secrecy and lies, Susan Fletcher battles to save the agency she believes in. Betrayed on all sides, she finds herself fighting not only for her country but also for her life, and in the end, for the life of the man she loves. (from backcover)
Digital Fortress is not a book I would have chosen on my own. Basically, I read this one out of desperation - I had no unread books in the house and needed to satisfy my craving. So, I borrowed this one from a friend who hasn't yet read it.

If you haven't read any books by Dan Brown (The Da Vinci Code, anyone?) you might not fully understand me when I say how terribly bland his writing is. I wouldn't call this guy an author - I'd classify him as a literary entertainer. It seems like he's totally unaware that adjectives exist, or that you are indeed permitted (and encouraged) to make your readers feel emotion while reading your novel. Brown's writing is so flat and linear that you should never pick up one of his novels expecting to dazzled by his way with words. I'd like to include a passage from Digital Fortress to give you an example of what I mean. But really, the whole book could be used as one big example to prove my point.

Since I never only talk about the bad points of a novel, I will be fair and say what I did enjoy. I must admit, this was an addicting book. Obviously it wasn't because I enjoyed Brown's writing, but because the storyline had so many cliffhangers and unanswered questions, making you want to keep reading and find out the truth. One chapter leads to the next, which leads to the next, which leads to you spending hours on end turning the pages. The only complaint I have about the plot is that, at times, it seemed a bit too theatrical. Dangerous car chases while shooting at your enemy through the window? Yeah, that kind of action belongs in a movie, not a poorly written book. However, if you enjoy mystery and suspense, you will devour this book in a matter of hours without a doubt.

As I said before, I consider Dan Brown to be an entertainer over an author. He's great at creating an exciting and intriguing plot that, if you can ignore his mediocre writing style, is sure to keep you interested.

Final verdict: Borrow this one from the library if you're someone who enjoys a bit of action and suspense - it's sure to keep you entertained for a few hours. Do not read it expecting to have a new favourite author, though. You'll be disappointed.

18 comments:

Juju at Tales of Whimsy.com said...

I love the honesty!

This doesn't sound like my type of read. I do however remember thoroughly enjoying the Da Vinci Code.

Emidy said...

Thank you! :D

I read the Da Vinci Code, too. It was pretty enjoyable and kept me interested.

Nely said...

This is the only Dan Brown book I haven't read. I totally agree - he is definitely an entertainer.

♥Nely

Emidy said...

Nely: Thanks for visiting! I've only read two of his books - this one and The Da Vinci Code, of course. I believe he has a new one out. The Lost Symbol? I'm not sure if that' it.

Bookalicious Ramblings said...

I agree, Dan Brown's definitely more an entertainer than anything, but he sure can make you speed through a novel with all his cliff hangers, lol. I read all of his books except the last one and enjoyed them to some extent, but they're just not what I go for. Decent escapism though. :)

Dana said...

I agree about Dan Brown being an entertainer more than an author. I enjoyed The Da Vinci Code and Angels & Demons for the quick-paced plot moreso than the writing, and even though The Lost Symbol is sitting on my bookshelf I've had a hard time getting motivated to read it :/

Shoshana said...

I like a book that will entertain me...because honestly, I fall asleep on those 'literary books' with fancy language but not much on entertainment. If I am going to invest over 8 hours on a book, I'd expect to be dazzled. Sure it's nice to read a book with proper language and very literary...but I'd take an entertaining book over boring books (like Slammerkin for example), dreary, dark and non-entertaining book every time.

I like Digital Fortress, although I have to agree with you that it's exciting but not much meat. But then, I'm easily entertained. And in entertainment department, Dan Brown does not disappoint.

Emidy said...

I agree with you all! Sometimes, it's nice to read a book that is exciting, entertaining, and will keep you interested. A deep, philosophical side is not always needed for a book to be enjoyable.

Leslie Waters said...

I agree with you about this book, it is my least favorite of Dan Brown's books. If you want to read a book by him that's a lot better, you should read Deception Point.

Shy said...

I've read Digital Fortress and Deception Point by Brown and I think his books are just OK. The thing that kept me leafing through the pages was because I was very curious about the whole mystery. I have the other two of his - The Da Vinci Code and Angels & Demons - on my shelf. Seriously hope these two could be even more entertaining! I like your honesty in this review =) A very good one.

Emidy said...

Leslie: I haven't read Deception Point yet! Maybe I'll pick it up and see how it is.

Shy: Thanks for visiting! That's exactly how I feel - if it weren't for the mysterious plot that keeps you on the edge, I wouldn't read his books. But they're always so addictive!

Hardie said...

Good review!
Hardie -- www.Mountaintop.be

Paul said...

Great review. Of all his books this was my least favourite, I really enjoyed the Da Vinci Code.

Emidy said...

Thanks, Paul! I read that one too, and it was better than Digital Fortress at least.

Hazra said...

Oh, I didn't like this one either! And the ending was such a damp squib! I've seen that people enjoy the first Dan Brown read, like the second, but after that it goes downhill. Love your honest review!

Emidy said...

Thanks, Hazra! Now that you mention it, I've noticed that too! Once you read a few of his books, you really see how his writing doesn't compare to some other authors.

Greg Zimmerman said...

I like your depiction of Brown as a "literary entertainer" - though even that may let him off the hook too easily. :)

I hated this book - in fact, when anyone asks me about the worst book I've ever read, this one's my answer!

Cheers,
Greg
http://thenewdorkreviewofbooks.blogspot.com

tweezle said...

Great review! I have this on my "to read" pile. I've only read "Angels & Demons" and I did like it, so will have to wait & see on this one. It may move up on my pile, though, because you've really stirred my curiosity :)