Book review: Origin by Dan Brown

Where do we come from? 
Where do we go? 

No, I'm not quoting "Cotton Eye Joe," but referring to questions that Dan Brown explores in his most recent novel, Origin.

Origin is a thrilling fiction tale following Professor Robert Langdon as he journeys to Spain to solve riddles and ponder the controversial tale of how life began. Dan Brown is a master of pitting religion against science (read Angels & Demon, and basically every other one of his novels), and Origin is no exception. His books are generally formulaic: nerdy protagonist, crazy world-changing discovery/implication, hot chick, scary assassin, plot twist, and ending a chapter on a cliff-hanger. Although the plot was very predictable (maybe because I have read all 7 of his books), I enjoyed the story incorporating historical sites, recent pop-culture references, and page-turning writing.

At the heart of Origin and what makes it so interesting is its theme debating how life began: "Just imagine what would happen if we miraculously learned the answers to life's big questions." As an atheist who is slightly leaning towards agnosticism, I appreciated how Origin did not completely discredit Creationism but highlighted the importance of faith and how to balance religion vs secularism in modern society.

Origin is also a great book for lovers of travel, art, and history, [basically culture] and Brown pays homage to lots of famous historical sites and works of art, but also captures intrigue by featuring "hidden gems." I bookmarked most of the destinations mentioned in his story, which you can actually find on Google maps.

If you like reading about historical sites and mystery/thriller novels, Dan Brown does not disappoint. I'd definitely recommend reading Origin, but it does make slightly more sense after reading Angels & Demon/other Langdon series books. From Rome to Paris to DC to Barcelona,  Brown makes puzzles about historical destinations fascinating while making you think about life's most challenging questions- and that to me is inspiring.


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