First and foremost, Edmund Kirsch reminds me of Tony Stark. Literally down to the personality type and the fashion choices. And Winston (AI) reminds me of JARVIS. I just really needed to get that out of the way.
Moving onto the review portion of this post, Origin does not disappoint. Unlike the previous books, and maybe as a result of the context of when this book was written and published, we see Robert Langdon is a world where technology exists and so do Tony Stark-like men who claim to have discovered information so devastatingly important that it will forever change the fundamentals of society. That is how the reader is introduced to the book’s particular premise. You don’t quite know what the information actually is, but you do know that it is something big.
Edmund Kirsch (Tony Stark) is described as a “world-renowned maverick – a billionaire computer scientist, futurist, inventor, and entrepreneur” (p. 13) who doesn’t believe in monogamy and called religion a myth found on lies. He hits hard, is all I’m saying. But, I was honestly waiting for the Avengers to burst through the doors of the Guggenheim Museum Bilbao, as a surprise or something. But back to the plot, the reader is first introduced to Edmund, who in turn wanted to seek the counsel of three of the most influential spiritual leaders within their religion (Christianity, Islam and Judaism, respectively), in order to gauge the effect and fallout that Kirsch’s discovery will have on, not only the faithful, but religious congregations across the world.
Kirsch is thus aiming at going public with his newly discovered information and intends to do so within a few days of his meeting with the three spiritual leaders. However, this is where the mystery and suspense that is so inherently a part of Dan Brown’s writing, comes to the fore. You are thus a witness to another adventure, and you question how in the hell Rob Langdon always seems to be right in the middle of crazy situations such as these. Significant things occur (i.e. murder, betrayal, treason, conspiracy, etc.) and Langdon with the fiance of the Spanish Royal Prince Julian, Ambra, go on a quest to ensure that Kirsch’s discovery finally sees the light of day, considering particular organisations wanted it to be silenced.
You will be asking yourself, Who Is The Regent?
And, Who Is Monte@iglesia.org?
Answer: they are one.
There are religious organisations and figures who desperately want Kirsch’s discovery to remain secret and thus do their best to orchestrate a web of lies filled with murder and manipulation, in order for their ‘righteous’ goal to be achieved.
I found Prince Julian to be pathetic and lacking in any sort of strength of character.He just was an annoying character, who really had no purpose but to be a possible suspect with limited character development. However, I will say that you will, as the reader, have an intense hatred for Bishop Valdespino, but as the story progresses,you will find that his story, and the story of the dying King of Spain, to be deeply moving and unquestionably sad.
In terms of ‘action’, there really isn’t much in comparison to say, Angel’s and Demons, Da Vinci Code and Inferno; and like the previous books in the series, the ‘figuring out cryptic messages to save the day’ happens in one day. However, one of the biggest, most significant additions to Origin’s storyline, that I don’t believe was a part of the other previous books, was the importance of social media and the internet. There is one scene where a small group of boys come across the dead body of areligious leader, an Allamah, Syed al-Fadl, instead of calling for help, they took photos to ‘share’ on social media. There was a callousness in the scene that I found confronting, and quite real, to be honest.
It’s like Kirsch knew of the possibility that he would be killed in result of his discovery, or, he thought that the cancer eating his liver, would overcome him and thus, be unable to share his discovery with the world. He organised aspects of the ‘hunt’ for the password to access his presentation, three months prior to his murder. He was a futurist, perhaps he calculated the likelihood of both possibilities as high enough to take such measures that even in the result of his death, Kirch’s discovery would be disseminated to the public. Although, when I was able to finally read what the actual discovery was, I was kind of disappointed? It was a bit anti-climatic and kind of boring, in comparison to Brown’s previous books in this series. But I do have to say that the Artificial Intelligence, Winston, is a very intricate and ethically ambiguous character, but if you are concentrating enough, his hand in every aspect of this story will be easy to see.
I should also note that Mónica Martin is an exceptional character, and I wish she was explored and developed more fully because she was honestly as fundamental, or even more so than Ambra Vidal. Because I found Vidal two-dimensional and boring and a pointless character. Langdon could have done everything himself, she was just there to provide a connection to the Royal Family. Instead, make her the foundations of the story – make Vidal vital, her knowledge of Spain and of history be emphasised! She is the directory of the Guggenheim Museum, you can’t tell me she ain’t a smart lady. But that part of her character declines quite early on. Or maybe that was just me? Let me know what you guys think!
rating: 4/5 (because it can run a little slow fyi)
Till next time! Happy reading!