This book has heart and you can tell from the writing that Bailey put much care and thought into developing the characters and plot. It’s a smart book. I felt like I was watching an exciting movie from beginning to end, a unique legal thriller with the feel of an inspiring sports film. I like how the author didn’t try and make the characters awkwardly “cool” and didn’t overstate the message of the book. The best part of the book is that it roots on the fighting spirit in each main character, and even one of their dogs 🙂 Bailey’s characters are real and human, qualities that are refreshing in a book’s cast, yet ones that I don’t always find in our “be more, do more” society. I’m usually a slow reader, but I didn’t take long to read this one and definitely recommend it.
I enjoyed reading this book for the second time in my life. I read it out loud to my toddler, who didn’t listen much. For me, it was a good reminder that witches do exist and that they don’t respect the youth. I also loved reacquainting myself with what an awesome storyteller Roald Dahl is. I like creatively cautionary tales that show you what the world is really like without spreading panic and fear. Roald Dahl is a master at that, and the main characters in this book are not only tough, but also sweet and caring. I won’t spoil the ending, but it’s very satisfying. For an extra good time, read the book out loud and create your own thick accent for the witches. It makes the story that much more real.
Like a lot of people, I started this book because of the title. What I found inside was a problem being answered with a solution that just perpetuates the problem. Problem: we should all realize that we aren’t immortal and that the universe doesn’t care about our survival. Solution: we need to live in the NOW and just be “epic” every day (which is the talk of immortality). Trying to be epic each and every moment is something we’re already encouraged to be by media, culture, and society. It’s not a very motivating or realistic message at the end of the day, even when worded with jarring language like the book uses. A moment-to-moment epic mindset can easily lead to apathy, boredom, anxiety, and depression. I guess I also have to mention–one of the lines suggests to write a book as an example of something epic to do in life. This book is 13 pages long, I don’t know if epic is the right word for that. I have no problem with the gusto of “just do it” in life as exemplified by Michael Jordan, but the specific message of this book just doesn’t do it for me.
I’ve read other books by Dan Brown, and I found this one to be denser and harder to get through. All throughout the story, there are very intricate descriptions of architecture in each city Robert Langdon visits. While written in a careful and even poetic way, the details were sometimes cumbersome to take in. Also, the suspense of the story was interrupted quite a bit with characters “smiling wryly” or “chuckling coyly.” …Stuff like that, which made me wonder, who smiles and chuckles so much when there’s a mystery to be solved that could have dangerous repercussions for the world? Still, I’m glad I stuck with the book because the ending was a thinker and there were twists along the way that I didn’t expect. The finale leaves you with a very powerful question that there is no obvious answer to. The book also came back full circle from beginning to end, which I always appreciate in a story. The characters are not black and white, there’s a lot of gray. Long, long read for me (I’m a slow reader), but worth it in the end!
Dante Alighieri’s quote from the book: “The darkest places in hell are reserved for those who maintain their neutrality in times of moral crisis.”