The Da Vinci Code

the da vinci code dan brown book review

Wow. I can’t believe it took me this long to read The Da Vinci Code. This book has been in my house for years, I had even forgotten about it. My mom bought it back when the movie was going to the released. Even after watching the movie, for some reason, it never caught my attention. That was until recently, when I found this copy while doing some rearrangements. I read the first few pages and was immediately hooked.

Here’s the book summary: While in Paris, Harvard symbologist Robert Langdon is awakened by a phone call during the night. The curator of the Louvre has been murdered inside the museum, his body covered in baffling symbols. As Langdon and gifted French cryptologist Sophie Neveu sort through the bizarre riddles, they are stunned to discover a trail of clues hidden in the works of Leonardo da Vinci—clues visible for all to see and yet ingeniously disguised by the painter. Even more startling, the late curator was involved in the Priory of Sion—a secret society whose members included Sir Isaac Newton, Victor Hugo, and Da Vinci—and he guarded a breathtaking historical secret. Unless Langdon and Neveu can decipher the labyrinthine puzzle—while avoiding the faceless adversary who shadows their every move—the explosive, ancient truth will be lost forever.

I think it’s important to keep in mind that there’s a thin line separating fact from fiction here. Dan Brown chose a conspiracy theory to elaborate on the entire plot. Most of the references mentioned are true, it’s evident that the author did previous research. However, it’s also true that he made adjustments so they can fit the story. So basically, this book should be taken for what it is: fiction.

Putting aside all controversies, it was an engaging, fast-paced mystery. The plot undergoes so many unexpected turns, it will leave you gasping until the very end — where all the puzzle pieces finally come together. Even though I’ve seen the movie more than once, I don’t recall that much from it. So I was taken by surprise with most of the events that occurred in the book. Now that I’m done, I’ll definitely be rewatching it soon.

It’s written in third person, and while Robert Langdon is the protagonist, we also witness the perspective of other characters which makes it more interesting and easier to understand. While the prose itself is not outstanding, Dan Brown did a great job at writing intermittent cliff hangers that were resolved in later chapters.

Anyway, this book makes me want to book a flight to Paris and visit the Louvre Museum ASAP! Also, Tom Hanks fits perfectly the role of Langdon.

Rating: 4/5  

Women Who Run With The Wolves

women who run with the wolves clarissa pinkola estes book review

I can’t even begin to describe this book in a way that does it justice. It can be intimidating at first, especially since Jungian psychology can be a bit off/weird. I highly suggest you look up who Carl Jung was so you can have a better understanding of the points made by the author. Another suggestion is to keep an open mind while reading this book, as not everything is meant to be taken literally. 

The purpose of the book is to explore fairy tales or stories by breaking them down into parts. Each one of the elements represents a part of a woman’s psyche and Pinkola does a wonderful at analyzing each deeply. 

Just a brief FYI, the term psyche means human soul, mind, or spirit. Therefore, psychology initially was defined as the study of the soul. 

It contains a total of 16 chapters, these are some of the stories that were studied:

  • The Wolf Woman (La Loba)
  • Bluebeard
  • Vasalia the Wise
  • Manawee
  • Skeleton Woman
  • The Ugly Duckling
  • The Red Shoes
  • Sealskin, Soulskin
  • La Llorona
  • The Little Match Girl
  • The Crescent Moon Bear
  • The Handless Maiden
Continue reading Women Who Run With The Wolves

Between darkness and light

(Miraflores – Lima, Peru. Circa 2014).

“We go through life walking in the immense darkness of unknown realities with a little flashlight in our hands, imagining that only what our little light makes visible is real. We generally see and experience only an infinitesimally small sliver of what actually exists and remain strictly within the confines of what our tiny light illumines. The true power of life does not lie within the confines of our tiny light, but in the immense darkness of unknown realities that are the greater story of our lives. 

Our lives are much more immense than we know, and connected to vast currents of hidden influences and possibilities. But we must stretch out into the darkness with the full measure of our longing, and surrender to the greater unknown context of our lives in order to begin to embrace and be embraced by a Love that is awaiting our invitation. And it is not only an invitation in word but also in deed—the act of offering our Being and the fullness of our lives to the darkness of the unknown currents—eternal possibilities that we cannot control but must instead invite with heartfelt surrender.” 

— Adyashanti

I read this quote a few days ago and I just felt the message it conveys is too important not to share. Once we unveil our perspective on life and realize there are so many greater things beyond what we know — it helps us realize that our problems aren’t as devastating as we thought, while also providing a sense of hopefulness we all need during times like these ❤

Review: Six Of Crows

Six Of Crows follows the story of a group of teen misfits led by Kaz Brekker, also known as Dirtyhands — because no job is too dirty or too dangerous for him. They embark on an impossible mission that requires breaking into the world’s most secured prison, the reward being a sum of money beyond their craziest dreams. Except that things don’t go as planned.

I wasn’t sure what to expect when I began reading it. I was confused during the first few chapters, trying to remember the names of the characters and places. Not to mention, I was completely clueless on what a Grisha is so I had to Google it, even though it’s later explained in the book.

Wow. I was completely mind-blown. This book is action-packed, the plot has so many turns — my heart was racing during the last two sections. I loved how it’s written from the perspective of different characters. Even though it’s in the third person, it felt very close. The backstories are detailed and enable us to learn more about these characters and empathize with them, despite their actions. Oh and let’s not forget the three romantic relationships that are developed through out the story, each different but equally lovely!

My only critique is how everything had a solution. Yes, Kaz is clever and was always a step ahead. But in reality, sometimes things go wrong and there’s no plan to back it up. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not a negative person wishing for some catastrophe to occur. But if some of the events wouldn’t have been fully solved, it would’ve felt more tangible.

Regardless, I highly recommend this book. And even though I haven’t read Shadow and Bone yet, I’ll start watching the show on Netflix. I will, however, read the rest of the Grishaverse books as soon as I get the chance!

Rating: 4/5

“The heart is an arrow. It demands aim to land true.” 

Leigh Bardugo, Six Of Crows

The Tenant Of Wildfell Hall

This is the first time I read a book by Anne Brontë. I’ve enjoyed the works of her sisters, so I had high expectations for this one. And it did not disappoint, on the contrary, I didn’t expect to like it this much. The Tenant Of Wildfell Hall follows the story of Gilbert Markham, who becomes fascinated by Helen Graham, a beautiful and mysterious woman who has just moved into Wildfell Hall. He quickly becomes her friend and is the first to refute local gossip that questions her character and behavior. However, he soon has reasons to regret his infatuation, and doubts begin to arise in his mind. Only when Helen gives Gilbert her diary and tells him to read it, he finally learns the shocking truth about her life.

It’s not a really love story (even though we see how Gilbert and Helen fall in love with each other, it’s not the focus of the novel). The story is rather about detrimental love that explores the role of women in marriage and how they were expected to act in certain ways due to the standards of society. Except that the heroine, Helen, is unwilling to tolerate negligence and takes action on her own.

Bear in mind that it was published in 1848, receiving negative reviews for the realistic way of depicting controversial topics such as alcoholism, psychological abuse and adultery. Anne was bold for addressing these issues and placing the main character at a crossroad.

I liked the epistolary format, as the events are described through Gilbert’s letters and Helen’s diary. Both of the characters were easy to empathize with. What surprised me was that some parts of the plot were actually fast-paced for a classic novel, since most classics are generally character driven.

Anne’s writing style was remarkable, I think she’s now my favorite Brontë sister. However, I was expecting the end to be a bit different. It felt that part could either been shorter or focused more on the relationship between Gilbert and Helen. Besides that, it’s a must-read! Specially if you’ve enjoyed Jane Eyre and/or Wuthering Heights.

Rating: 4.5 / 5

“Smiles and tears are so alike with me, they are neither of them confined to any particular feelings: I often cry when I am happy, and smile when I am sad.”

Anne Brontë, The Tenant Of Wildfell Hall

Review: A Court of Wings and Ruin

A Court of Wings and Ruin is the third book in the ACOTAR series. To be honest, when I started the first book, I never expected to like the story and the characters so much. I don’t think words can describe how much I loved the first two books, and this one was no exception.

Here’s the synopsis: Feyre will bring vengeance. She has left the Night Court – and her High Lord – and is playing a deadly game of deceit. In the Spring Court, Tamlin is making deals with the invading king threatening to bring Prythian to its knees, and Feyre is determined to uncover his plans. But to do so, she must weave a web of lies, and one slip may spell doom not only for Feyre but for her world as well. As mighty armies grapple for power, Feyre must decide who to trust amongst the dazzling and lethal High Lords – and hunt for allies in unexpected places. But while war rages, it is her heart that will face the greatest battle.

So far, the books I’ve read in the series have had a good balance between being character-driven stories and fast-paced plots. A Court of Wings and Ruin is even faster-paced than the previous ones since there’s a war unleashing. And not everything is what it seems. The unpredictable turns and twists of events made it a remarkable read.

I loved getting to know new characters. Some of the High Lords from the other courts were briefly mentioned in previous books, but they finally took shape and form thanks to the detailed descriptions of both their appearances and personalities. We also get to know more about Tamlin’s motives. As much as he’d hurt Feyre in the past, I believe Tamlin deserves redemption. All the characters have made poor choices one way or another, and Tamlin’s isn’t much worse. He’s not my favorite character either, but he’s certainly no longer the villain and his actions in this book are proof of that.

Another aspect I enjoyed was getting to know Nesta more. I despised her in the first book, she seemed selfish and obnoxious. But here we realize that it’s just a wall she’s been putting up. I’m not saying she’s the opposite, the coldness is inherent to her, but she’s not a bad person either. I cannot wait until I read a Court Of Silver Flames. In this book, you can tell already that there’s a ton of chemistry between Nesta and Cassian — only that chemistry likely seems to be rather explosive.

Last but not least, Feyre and Rhysand continue to surprise me. No wonder they’re mates, they think just the same and are willing to sacrifice themselves while at the same time do whatever it takes to save each other. They’re not trying to win for glory, they’re following what their heart dictates. They both gave me Gryffindor vibes in that aspect — the type of bravery that doesn’t go unnoticed.

In the meantime, I’ll be taking a break from ACOTAR. I know there are two books I have yet to read, even though the main trilogy finished with this one. The next books focus on other characters, and I’m looking forward to reading them. However, I want to get my hands on physical copies of English editions. And since local libraries currently don’t have them in stock and Amazon is doing limited shipping to my country, I’ll just have to wait.

If you haven’t read the series yet, I hight suggest you do. Not to mention, the author Sarah J. Maas recently shared on Instagram that the ACOTAR series will be made into a TV show. It’s worth that hype, that’s all I can say.

Overall rating: 5/5

“It’s a rare person to face who they are and not run from it – not be broken by it.” 

Sarah J. Maas, A Court of Wings and Ruin