Angels and Demons by Dan Brown – Book Review

Post Category: Novels
Angels and Demons by Dan Brown book review Indian Book Critics summary critical analysis

Dan Brown needs no introduction! He is an American author famous for his novels that have become synonymous with mystery, secrets, and conspiracies. In this article, I will be reviewing his novel Angels and Demons, the first in the series of Robert Langdon (adventures). Starring Langdon, a professor invested in studying icons and symbols of ancient times, this book, Angels and Demons, has received positive feedback from readers and acclaim from book critics writing for various newspapers and magazines. Well, there are some negative and so-and-so kinds of responses as well. However, largely, the book remains a successful publication in the mystery genre.

Dan Brown’s Angels and Demons takes readers to the edge of the grand ring where events are taking place, defying conventional boundaries and delivering a unique reading experience. With its distinctive blend of relentless suspense, religious symbolism, and historical intrigue, the book stands out amidst the literary landscape, distinguishing itself from other works in the genre. It is beyond history and mystery and eventually mutates into a conspiracy of a grand scale – something for which Dan Brown is widely known. While it may not be without its flaws, Angels and Demons undoubtedly leaves an indelible mark on the reader’s imagination. Exposés of towering scales remain with them for many days after reading the last of this novel.

Many readers have dearly liked its masterful fusion of heart-stopping thrills and erudite historical references. Though critics and readers interested in historical correctness have criticised the novelist for inadequate historical wisdom exhibited in the novel, readers do get an impression that history is involved in the storyline with a sensational pinch of mystery and conspiracy. We can debate Dan Brown’s research, whether it’s meticulous or bereaved of history, supports the storyline as he weaves together an intricate cobweb of symbols, art, and religious lore that does engulf casual and common readers in its myriad folds. The author’s ability to seamlessly integrate complex historical elements into the narrative is commendable, offering readers an immersive experience that might propel them to investigate as it entertains. The pacing of the story is relentless, taking readers on quick laps through a series of breathless twists and turns that keep them on the edge of their seats until the final page. My experience was amazing and I expect other readers to find it the same.

Among appreciation for many other qualities of the novel, it should not be forgotten that Brown’s writing style possesses a rare gift for making the complex accessible. It allows even those unfamiliar with the subject matter to grasp the intricacies of ancient secret societies and religious symbolism. It also extends the circumference of readership and brings readers from different religious and cultural backgrounds to the fold, easing their interest with a quick backdrop that aids their context. His attention to detail brings the settings to life, whether it be the grandeur of Vatican City or the labyrinthine halls of clandestine archives. It should be noted that the author’s prose has a cinematic quality, invoking vivid imagery and creating a sense of urgency that mirrors the characters’ race against time. Well, did the same entice the producers of Hollywood to put their cash into Brown’s novel? Interesting chatter!

Coming to the elements that make this novel different from other thrillers and mystery novels, let us discuss a few. Angels and Demons stands out as a literary work that intertwines fact and fiction. Though we can always debate the veracity of ‘facts’ per se, in its literary context, the novel does make use of facts to enrich the fiction and offer readers a unique experience that they seldom get from conventional thrillers bathed in imagination only. It is, after all, Brown’s ability to blend historical accuracy with imaginative storytelling that sets it apart from other books in the genre. Unlike many thrillers that prioritize plot over character development, Angels and Demons offers readers well-rounded protagonists who navigate the treacherous waters of conspiracy and intrigue. Robert Langdon, the enigmatic symbologist, emerges as a compelling figure, driven by intellect and a moral compass that adds depth to his character. One might also care to notice that Robert Langdon, with a prosaic and rather dull name and a job that seldom fits the vacancy of someone who can solve conspiracies and reach to the final layers of ancient mysteries, creates compassion and interest in himself and keeps increasing the same thought the length of the novel. The same stands true for the entire novel – a slow starter because things unfold, and once it begins, it never stops!

On the flip side, as we always observe here on Indian Book Critics, the book does have its drawbacks. At times, the narrative can feel overly formulaic, relying on a familiar pattern of cryptic clues, high-stakes chases, and last-minute revelations. Though it might not bother the ardent fans of Dan Brown or this genre, it does annoy readers who may be trying this one as their first novel of this genre. And a repetition of such patterns can lead to a sense of predictability, diminishing the element of surprise for astute readers. Additionally, while the historical elements are expertly integrated, the characterization of certain secondary figures may appear shallow, lacking the same level of depth and nuance afforded to the main characters. And that also extracts certain chunks of intrigue from the plot as it becomes singularly driven by Langdon, the antagonists, and the author himself. Some may also argue that the book delves into controversial territory, touching upon sensitive religious themes that can polarize readers. While the story’s fictional nature should be acknowledged, readers need to approach it with an open mind and an understanding that the author employs artistic license in his exploration of these subjects. Yes, the validity and use of such a license are always subject to scrutiny… Yes, the novel is too long, a voluminous one.

After carefully putting out these facts about the novel, and not revealing the secrets of the plot at all, I can assert that Dan Brown’s Angels and Demons is a gripping thriller that sets itself apart from the genre with its fusion of historical intrigue, religious symbolism, and relentless suspense. Brown’s research cannot be relied upon, and neither should a person reading the book expect historical correctness from a novel. Accessible writing style contributes to a unique reading experience, pulling readers into a world where fact and fiction collide. While the book may exhibit a certain level of predictability and shallow secondary characterisation, its strengths lie in its ability to intrigue, entertain, and challenge readers’ preconceptions. Angels and Demons stands as a testament to the power of literature to blur the lines between reality and imagination, leaving an indelible impression long after the final page has been turned.

To get a copy of this novel – click here for the Amazon India book page link.


Review by Amit for Indian Book Critics

Angels and Demons by Dan Brown – Book Review
  • IBC Critical Rating


Dan Brown’s Angels and Demons, as the name implies, takes readers on a journey that’s compelling and revealing… readable and enjoyable!

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1 Comment. Leave new

  • Gautam Shankar
    June 6, 2023 3:11 am

    A quality review… though the book is already old, new-age readers may have a glance of this review Tod decide whether to read Dan Brown’s classic Angels and Demons or not. Good stuff guys! keep working like this


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