Scathing Book Reviews of Angels and Demons, by Dan Brown

Angels and Demons by Dan Brown is the prequel to the book The Davinci Code.  However, the new Angels and Demons movie starring Tom Hanks is the sequel to the  The Da Vinci Code Movie. Sound confusing?  Just wait ’til you read the book.

Anyone whose read any of my little review summaries can tell that as much as I like a well written Scathing Review, I don’t really wish the author ill.  However, Dan Brown is just making too much @*%! up and passing it off as research to give him a pass.  Anyone that uses the book Holy Blood, Holy Grail as a supposedly factual foundation for their fictional story is just ~asking~ for criticism, and if that SPOILERy review at the bottom of this post is the real ending, he deserves as much grief as he can get.  The writers of these Scathing Book Reviews of Angels and Demons think the book is devilishly bad: 

There is no way you could use the words “good” and “Dan Brown’s writing” in the same sentence unless you were saying something like “Dan Brown’s writing most definitely is not good. It makes people want to gouge their eyes out.”

…and:

60 pages into the book I’ve decided the best course of action is to burn it.

…and:

The theatrical exclamations had me laughing incredulously. Example: When a woman happens upon the lone eyeball of her mutilated father, Mr. Brown (with all the grace of a third grader telling a flashlight ghost story), breathes, “She would have known that shade of hazel anywhere!” Stumbling onto a lone eyeball is commonplace, it seems. But… this eyeball looks familiar somehow… (Have we met before?) I’m waiting for this to dissolve into a Saturday Night Live sketch.

…and:

I have a bad habit. Once I start a book, I finish it, Hell or high water. Only thus can I explain how I got through this one.

…and:

This book is absolutely incompetent. People call it “fast-paced”. Well, yes but only by being corny and simple-minded. I’d have to quote extended passages to prove my point but suffice it to say that an assassin, after kinky sex, has “contented loins”.

…and:

…It came as a surprising revelation to me that a man in these United States could become a multi-millionaire writing so very poorly. My first thought was “Geez, even I can do that”. Dan Brown would be a competent copywriter for dish detergent, but he is wanting the basic descriptive powers of a fiction writer.

…and:

I realize that a great many people like Dan Brown’s books and think he is a talented author, but then again there are significant numbers of people who enjoy being peed on or watching Carrot Top, so the fact that Dan Brown is a best selling author perhaps shouldn’t surprise me as much as it does.

…and:

Dan Brown writes so terribly that he is beyond criticism. No adjective – no, string of adjectives – is too trite or cliché for him to throw in. All I can hope is that Mr. Brown made so much money off this mess of a book that he need not ever write another.

…and:

There are several murders in this book and after reading it I wished I had been one of them.

…and ending on a happy note:
This is quite possibly the worst-written book I’ve ever read. I struggled, waded, crawled and staggered my way through it. Then when I finished it – what a relief – I opened the window and threw the book out into the street. I’m very glad to say it was raining at the time. I will never read another word written by this author again. Yet, strangely, the book left me mildly optimistic: if a bestselling author can dredge up this dross, and write so appallingly badly, and get away with it, then surely there is hope for all of us.

and SPOILER ALERT, the most Scathing Book Review of all, a summary of the ending of Angels and Demons:

After the hero jumps out of a helicopter at 15,000′ using only a tarp as a parachute, surviving an anti-matter explosion on the way down, only to land safely in the river where coincidently a doctor sees him land and revives him. His third or fourth time he has escaped death today). All the while, the “pope”, who had a parachute, is pretending a miracle has happened as he has landed atop St. Peter’s to the roar of the crowd. JEEEEEEZ Get me outa here!!! Even as a movie, this would get boos.

Scathing Book Reviews of Tell No One by Harlen Coben

Reviews have been almost universally glowing for the recent French Movie Adaptation of Tell No One by Harlen Coben, the famed American thriller writer.  After watching all those Truffaut films back in College, I find it interesting that anyone in France would deign to make a film by any American writer, much less Harlan Coben.  Go USA!  

I’ve read Promise Meby Harlan Coben, and I have to say that I found it a little too twisty. My suspension of disbelief hangs by too thin a wire, I guess.  Also working against me was that Promise Me is one of the later books starring “Myron Bolitar”, and I was coming in cold to Myron’s story and his large cast os supporting characters.  Coben’s writeup in The Atlantic certainly makes him seem like a great guy, and I can only wish him continued success, but the writers of these Scathing Book Reviews of Tell No One would tell no one to read the book:

I’m sure I’ve read worse books than Harlan Coben’s “Tell No One”, but at the moment, I’m hard-pressed to think of one.

…and:

Honestly, it reads like it was written by a ninth-grader with a great imagination but little knowledge of the writing craft.

…and:

This third-rate prose style is further sabotaged by the author’s relentless penchant for shopworn cliches and similes and metaphors so egregious that even the likes of Mickey Spillane wouldn’t think twice about blue-penciling them.Thus, we are treated for lines like “His pounding heart was like a bird desperately trying to escape from a cage.”, or “the shocking realization hit him like a falling piano.”

…and:

The story gets too ponderous to believe, by the time you realize the plot is as leaky as an Enron tax return, you’re sucked in and you owe it to yourself to finish. Don’t expect to be enchanted and mystified with the ending, it’s not Tom Cruise and Penelope Cruz in climax but more like Archie and Edith Bunker.

…and:

This is the most stupid, unbelievable, shot full of holes BS I’ve ever read. I can’t even bring myself to write a

…and:

The reason I give it 2 stars instead of 1 is because I actually finished it and there was something that made me want to see how the whole bloody mess would finally end. What an unbelievable plot, flimsey characters and mediocre (at best!!) writing style.

Scathing Reviews of The Dark Knight Returns, by Frank Miller

With the recent release of the movie The Dark Knight, it seems appropriate to take a look at one of the books that served as an influence. Yes, its time for Scathing Book Reviews of The Dark Knight Returns, by Frank Miller. If you were around in the 1980s and reading comics – uh, I mean graphic novels – you couldn’t escape the hype. The Dark Knight Returns was one of those books that made mainstream media mention in Time Magazine in other periodicals, because it made a big splash by “making Batman dark.”

Well I read it. And I have to say that even then, I couldn’t understand all the praise. Batman as a dark, grief stricken, unhinged creature of the night? Heck, that take on him goes back to the 1960s, with the writer/artist team of Denny O’Neil and Neal Adams. My first introduction to the character in any depth was in “The Untold Legend of the Batman” in 1981, which made the character’s craziness central to the storyline. Guess who was trying to kill Batman in that one – HINT, his initials are BW and he lives in Wayne Manor.

Anyway, while Frank Miller’s books are usually pretty edgy, he seems like an awfully nice guy in interviews. So I’ll have to say – like the author, and appreciate the book, but think its been overpraised. These Scathing Book Reviews of the Dark Knight Returns wish he would just leave Gotham for good:

The art is terrible! rather then giving it a dark feeling, it looks like something from a childrens book that might be called “The Rainy Day” or “the Wet Dog” it uses water colors and weird-shaped heads.

…and:

I love the Bat, and I have tremendous respect for Frank Miller. I was crushed to find this book such a piece of mindless drivel, and frankly, offended. I have lost every bit of respect I ever had for Miller.

…and:

I gave up after about 20 pages of not being able to tell what was going on because of how terribly sloppy the drawings are.

…and:

While the book’s premise (Batman coming out of retirement to save Gotham from a disatrous crime wave) is worthy, Miller’s execution, as both a writer and an artist, sinks the book like a rock.

…and:

This is full of tired cliches of ‘the gritty and dark hero’. I nearly puked reading this book. One of the most overrated comic books ever written by man or beast. Plot? SUCKS. Characters? SUCKS. Writing? SUCKS. Art? SUCKS.

…and from the inevitable ALL CAPS Department, with a great point about the virtue of having Robin along:

WHAT IS THE POINT OF HAVING A 12-YEAR-OLD (OF EITHER GENDER) COMING ALONG WITH YOU, WEARING BLINDINGLY BRIGHT CLOTHING AND LEGGERY. FRANK MILLER SAYS IT’S TO MAKE BATMAN LOOK BIGGER, BUT I KNOW THE REAL REASON; TO DRAW GUNFIRE AWAY FROM BATMAN.

Scathing Reviews of Watchmen by Alan Moore

Watchmen, by Alan Moore is an award-winning graphic novel currently being adapted into a “Watchmen Movie” by Warner Brothers. We will all know this and more by the time the Studio’s marketing machine finishes it job, and will no doubt be giving each other Watchmen DVDs during Christmas 2009, and probably even Watchmen Watches.

I read Superhero comics back when it was originally published, and finally read it in the 1990s, whilst sipping a Grande Mocha at my neighborhood Barnes & Noble. My impression? To use a fanboy term – “Meh”. I appreciate the effort, and understand its industry impact, but I think its a bit overpraised. Here are some other Scathing Reviews of Watchmen that would encourage you not to Watch the Watchmen:

There are people around who insist on comparing this stuff to great works of literature. I wonder if they ever read any.

…and:

The art is subpar, the cliches glaring, and the “mature humor” nearly as subtle as Roseanne.

…and:

The artwork is gross and uninteresting, the characters, at least in the first 60 pages, are completely boring, uninteresting and hollow. And there’s not a moment of comic relief.

…and:

The story was incredibly average. The art was mediocre at best. Alan Moore’s writing is eloquent but an eloquently written boring story is still boring.

…and:

Teenagers, poorly-read and possessing malnourished tastes in prose, [are] predictably awestruck… They thought it was ‘realistic’; they thought this was ‘great literature’.

…and:

I did not care about the characters at all. Who cares! Oh boo hoo I am a brooding super hero. Feel my pain?

…and:

It is the kind of thing that is trying sooo hard to be deep and witty, but fails miserably because of a lack of ANY REAL STORY… Moore seems to want to remind you on every frickin’ page how clever his “real super heroes” idea is. First of all it ain’t and secondly WE GET IT ALREADY NOW DO SOMETHING WITH IT.

…and, for what I hope is the first and last time that I know of, a link between Citizen Kane and Watchmen:

I would not really call The Watchmen the “Citizen Kane of graphic novels.” It is more like Tarentino’s movie, Pulp Fiction, multiple plot lines, hip references, and plenty of gory violence and power trip fantasies to satisfy a basically adolescent audience.

Scathing Book Reviews of The Firm, by John Grisham

The Firmby John Grishamwas the publishing phenomenon of 1991. It served as the launching pad for Grisham’s long career, and for a great line by Gene Hackman in the movie adaptation: “The Firm frowns upon drinking at lunch. I’ll have a scotch and soda.”

However, these critical reviews of “The Firm” are a bit shaky :

I was the beach for a week with nothing good to read so I picked up a paperback copy of this book at a 7-11. Let this be a warning to us all– don’t buy literature at the same place you buy chili dogs.

…and:

I give this book one star because it provides more purgative power than staring blankly at the wall for two hours.

…and:

Good reviews and personal recommendations prompted me to buy the thing. Thankfully I bought it in paperback (they burn easier).

…and this 2 star review, strangely reminiscent of Doctor Seuss:

I bought this book when it was first published, and I did not lke it. I read also the Italian translation, and I did not like it. I watched the movie, and I did not like it ( I am not a fan of Tom Cruise, do you believe it?).