Saturday, June 13, 2009

Angels&Demons&Darwin Oh my!

Angels and Demons or The Darwin Conspiracy

I know there was a ton of media surrounding the release of Angels and Demons. That is usually enought to send me in search of entertainment elsewhere. I did, however, venture to read Angels and Demons by Dan Brown as historical fiction is one of, if not my very favorite genre. It didn't let me down; I felt Langdon's excitement while reading through the archives of the Vatican (hey, I'm a dork, nothing gets me quite as excited as dusty old papers) I was captivated along with Langdon as we were trying to solve the puzzle before the time ran out and....yup Ewan Mcgregor ends up the bad guy. Ok, I haven't SEEN the movie, but something about the previews was enough to give this away to me the whole time I was reading the book. And that's just from reading the book, I can't imagine the disappointment seeing it. Did anyone else, or is this just me, totally get that from the previews? It didn't make the book any less enjoyable, but since the movies undoubtedly always lack some of the magic the book offers, and the previews seemed to give the movie away, what's the point of watching??

After I finished this book I wanted something along those same lines...some history woven in with the fabricated storylines. I was on my way out after a frenzied stop at Barnes and Noble
-side note, by frenized I mean this: Have you ever seen a crowd of women at a shoe sale, or the day after Thanksgiving in line for the must-have-toy-of-the-season, that crazed, possessed look they take on? That's kinda me around books-stores, sales, what have you. If you see me in Barnes and Noble, it's probably safest to stay back 50 feet)
-I digress...On my way out with my two big bags I pass the "last chance" bins I'd missed on my way in. I had intended on a historical fiction, as I stated earlier, but Charlaine Harris' latest book had come out, I found a few other things I'd been meaning to check out, etc. So lying out to the side was this book called The Darwin Consiracy by John Darnton. Something in the wording "based on exhaustive research" piqued my interest. I started immediately. The first few pages, which aways determine to me how long it's going to take to finish a book and how engaged I will be in that process (alas, I have several I have started that I haven't finished, but dear reader, it is my life goal to finish everything I start) The first few pages were rocky, at best. Granted, I had very limited knowledge of Darwin. Ok, by very limited I mean next to nothing. I am not a huge fan of science. However, Angels and Demons had that theme of Religion and Science running over and over, so it had somewhat aroused a bit of interest.

Birds? This guys on this island measuring bird beaks? Really? What did I get here? It was a rough start. I sat the book down for several days. i had all but moved on with my life, ready to conquer the next book, when I had this nagging suspicion I had given up to easy. I went back and forced myself thru the first chapter or so, when I realized that there was a great story blossoming. Jumping between the present historian, the journals of Liza, Darwin's daughter, and Darwin's experience on the Beagle, a historical mystery unfolds. Not since The Historian by Elizabeth Kostova had I been so delighted at the outcome. The story weaves around, back and forth, and comes together at the end leaving the reader, or at least myself, satisfied. It's like a little "thank you" for hanging in on those first few rough pages.

Perhaps it's because of all the HYPE surrounding Angels and Demons, perhaps its that I knew how it was going to end before I started reading it, perhaps it was something in the unknown world of Darwin that got me, but for my money, The Darwin Conspiracy wins hands down.