Thursday, December 15, 2011

A Retro Review: Digital Fortress

I know lots of people are Dan Brown fans. My mother is one of those people. I have a nook and lots of time, right now, so I figured I would give it a try. Sort of one of those "Mom reads these books and she doesn't read a whole lot, so it should be okay, right?" Plus, I wanted to read his few books in order (not succession, that is far too large for Mr. Brown) which took me to his first: Digital Fortress.

Published in 1998, Dan Brown's first novel takes place in Seville, Spain and in DC at the NSA's headquarters. The two main characters, Susan Fletcher and David Becker, are working two sides of a problem that include computer algorithms and encoded rings. The story starts simply enough: Becker, a linguist, gets called to pick up a passkey from someone in Spain. Meanwhile, Fletcher does what she does best and attempts to break a code that has the NSA's main computer - TRANSLTR - stuck in an endless loop typical of a virus. Why no one had checked the encryption key it was processing for mutation strings sooner is beyond me, but that is the way the story rolls.

Anyway... there are car/bus/Vespa chases, a fight, murders left and right, a hit man, and a Catholic church in this book. Of course, our hero tag team saves the day, the second in command goes crazy and stuff, everything fits at the last second.... blah blah.

Personally, I couldn't get into this book. It should not have taken me this long to read the almost 300 pages of ridiculously simplistic text. The fact that they are all supposed to be the best in the country at what they do leads me to question where they are recruiting from. I have never see this level of conversation for the degree of scholastic achievement they have. Not to say that people from a certain scholarly level are held to a higher standard than most. Not at all. I just expect them to be able to communicate to each other in a more proficient way. The conversations on Dawson's Creek were far more intellectually stimulating. Also, weak plot twists and super predictability left me a bit saddened. I have read teen books with more umph. Fear Street, anyone?

I was hoping to get something out of this and was left looking at a last page wondering if that was the rough draft.

Sadly, I will continue to read his books and hope that this was just a bad first book. I look forward to my next book: Angels and Demons. I hear it's pretty good!

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Maritza said...

Great review! Better than the book.

Q said...

Let us know about Angels and Demons.
I seem to read nonfiction...once in awhile I will do a fiction but it better be good!
Sending you lots of smiles and hugs.
Happy Holidays,
Sherry, who misses the butterflies