Tonight, let us be like the early explorers.
Those who left everything behind and set out across vast oceans…
Those who first glimpsed a land that had never before been seen…
Those who fell to their knees in awestruck realization that the world was fr greater than their philosophies had dared imagine. Their long held beliefs about their world disintegrated in the face of new discovery.
This will be our mind-set tonight.
— Dan Brown, Origin (2017)
I wanted to start this post with that quote which is part of a speech of one of the main characters in the novel because it feels appropriate. One really must go into this book with an open mind because this is one of those books that pit religion versus science.
This plot line is without a doubt Darn Brown’s forte. It is tastefully done and not at all disrespectful on any side. We hear both arguments from religious sects involved and the science community.
If you’re one of those people who take such books seriously (enough for you to have your “faith” questioned), I advice that you stop reading any Dan Brown books at all. You people already got some of his works banned in places and made me miss the premiere showing of The Da Vinci Code movie because it was R-18! And I was only 15 at the time which really frustrated me. That quote at the beginning is for you.
But if you’re like me who just want to read a beautifully written book that is so rich in atmosphere, history, and random facts that make you question what you even learned in school (because Robert Langdon is a far more effective teacher that actually says interesting facts about politics, art, and history), then continue reading on!
Truth be told, I am intimidated to write this “book review” for this one. I don’t know if I’ll give it any justice at all and I really don’t want to sound like I’m just rambling. So readers, again, let’s remember the tag line of this blog: I tried writing a book review.
In this 5th book to Dan Brown’s Robert Langdon series, we follow our favorite (and probably the only one we know) Harvard professor of symbology and religious iconology, Robert Langdon as he attends a super vague and secretive party at Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao, Spain where his student-turned-friend, the futurist Edmond Kirsch is said to announce his latest discovery.
Nobody, not even the head curator of the museum where the exclusive event is taking place, knows what this said discovery is. At the start of the presentation, Kirsch revealed that prior to today’s worldwide revelation, he has discussed his discovery with three leaders of different religious sects around the world. Not because he has deep respect for these people (he is a self-proclaimed atheist) but because he thought it fair that science warn religion for its coming demise. For what he is about to reveal tonight will forever change, and hopefully, destroy all religions.
Tonight, he will answer life’s two most pressing questions:
Where do we come from?
Where are we going?
However, before Kirsch can reveal his discovery, he was assassinated in front of his guests in the museum and in front of all the millions of viewers watching the live feed of the event.
Robert Langdon, with the help of Ambra Vidal (the museums head curator) and Winston (a super advanced AI that Kirsch has secretly created), they go on a wild goose chase around Spain where the monarchs of Spain get involved, a conspiracy theory website is revealing secret communications, and the race to reveal or forever bury Kirsch discovery begins.
I absolutely loved this book. I don’t know why I was even surprised since Dan Brown is one of my favorite authors. But it still surprised me. It took me 5 days to read and I’m sad that I wasn’t able to read it in a 24-hour readathon because I definitely could have done it. I’ve waited 4 years for this! I should’ve been excited to read it and finish it. But alas, I am in that certain mood where you just want to read all the books so you end up starting a lot of them and end up abandoning them 1/4 or 2/3 of the way. I now have around 7 currently reading books.
Aside from my trouble getting through it, not because it was boring but because I wasn’t in the mood, I have no negative thing to say about it.
This plot of religion versus science is one of my favorite plot lines ever, especially if it’s written by Dan Brown. At first, Origin reminded me so much of the atmosphere, plot, and overall feel of Angels & Demons. You may think “Well, isn’t he just recycling his own previous works now?”, but trust me, my comparing it to Angels & Demons does not take away anything but rather adds a certain something. If you must know, A&D is one of my all time favorite books. So to have a similar book is a joy for me!
However, in Angels & Demons, we focus mainly on the religion aspect. For Origin, we get to focus more on the scientific aspect. You’ll understand what I’m saying if you’ve read both books.
As usual, Dan Brown has managed to create a masterpiece that despite being a fictional story, was very much thought provoking and isn’t hard at all to forget that it isn’t happening in the real world. The reason why I think people shun his works is because they read so real, they get afraid of the truths behind his research and overall story.
But keep in mind that even if the places, organizations, and some people mentioned are real, his story isn’t. So don’t get lost in it too much.
We cannot deny, however, the fact that zealots and over conservative people do exist in our world and they may not go through the extreme cases of hiring someone to kill or silence scientists who may endanger their church’s followers’ belief (I certainly hope not!), it is safe to assume that once, they did exist.
Personally, I grew up going to church every Sunday, attending Sunday school, and participating in church youth activities. I have my beliefs. I don’t question the existence of God. I already know and believe where I came from and where I’m going after my time in the mortal world comes to an end.
But that doesn’t mean I am ready to shun all scientific progress and discoveries! Not even if science proves to me how Jesus Christ was able to walk on water and raise the dead. I will read your discovery and be proud at how science is able to give us proof. But I still wouldn’t shun my religion because of it.
I also wasn’t offended at how Kirsch questioned how intelligent people believe in religion. I understand his points. All I can say is, it’s great to have hope, faith, and belief that something, someone, somewhere is watching over us. Just because someone is intelligent, does not mean that they need all the physical proof for every tiny detail of their lives. Don’t ever call religious people as simpletons.
I admire how Dan Brown was able to sell us Kirsch’s discovery and not hate religion by the end of the book. Unlike his previous works where it’s really a war between science and religion, in this book we got a beautiful balance.
And we got Winston!
This brilliant artificial intelligence is probably my favorite character in the book. I loved all the scenes where he was in. I loved how he tried at humor and perception like humans do. It scary to think that science in real life is attempting to create someone like him. But for the story, his character was integral in the overall plot.
Let’s not even begin to talk about the morality of creating an artificial intelligence. That’s a whole other level. Probably science versus humanity.
That is probably all I can share with you without going into spoilery details. I also want to end it here so it wouldn’t be obvious how I’m just rambling now. I really loved this book and I hope you get to read it too. Especially if you love history, adventure, art, and basically just science versus religion things.
I also would just like to mention how I’m only now noticing Dan Brown’s favorite trope for his Robert Langdon series: Langdon always gets entangled in crazy adventures and he always manages to find a beautiful lady sidekick to tag along after him. But we never hear from any of them or his previous adventures in the next books. Which is odd. If I were Langdon, I’d never shut up about how he once chased a serial killer who stamped cardinals with Illuminati symbols onto their burning skin, or proved that the Holy Grail is in fact not a cup but a lady.
Book Rating: 5 stars!
Author: Dan Brown
Publisher: Doubleday Books
Publishing Date: October 3, 2017
Edition: Hardbound, First Edition
STORY TIME (HOW I GOT THIS BOOK)
You know how I always complain and mention that we Filipino readers can’t necessarily celebrate a book’s birthday or publishing day? Because the bookstores here don’t release them on time or same as the world? Well, I was taken by surprise that on October 3, 2017, Origin was released here!
I wasn’t going out that day and then I saw it online that they’re available in the Philippines NOW, I got stressed.
I called my mom (who was out that day) to buy me the book. She checked the price and told me to go to the bookstore myself so I can use my bookstore card which accumulates points with every purchase.
So I waited and waited for them to get home so I can borrow the car and head to the bookstore and it was nighttime when I got it and I was so happy! I didn’t even care that it was my last money.