Deception Point

//by Dan Brown//published 2001//

download (3)A while back I read Digital Fortressmy first Dan Brown read.  I really enjoyed it and added some of his other books to the TBR.  While Deception Point was a gripping read (and Brown is now 2/2 for making me stay up until the book is finished because no matter how tired I am, I can’t stop reading), it had some very similar plot lines to Digital Fortress, which means that I wasn’t really all that surprised by the ending.  It was still an engaging read, and I enjoyed seeing how he was getting where he was going, but it lacked the complete WHOA factor that Digital Fortress had for me, leaving this one more of a 3/5.

Also, so much dying.  I really don’t like gruesome deaths, and this book had a couple.  One in particular…  not interested in hearing about someone getting torn apart by a shark, especially from the perspective of the person who is being torn apart.  Ugh.  Brown seems to get on these kicks where he kills off everyone he can find, and I find myself thinking, “Okay, just calm down.”  

So yes.  I’m bad at synopsis-ing, so here it is from the cover flap:

When a new NASA satellite spots evidence of an astonishingly rare object buried deep in the Arctic ice, the floundering space agency proclaims a  much-needed victory… a victory that has profound implications for a U.S. space policy and the impending presidential election.  With the Oval Office in the balance, the President dispatches White House Intelligence analyst Rachel Sexton to the Milne Ice Shelf to verify the authenticity of the find.  Accompanied by a team of experts, including the charismatic academic Michael Tolland, Rachel uncovers the unthinkable:  evidence of scientific trickery – a bold deception that threatens to plunge the world into controversy.

But before Rachel can contact the President, she and Michael are attacked by a deadly team of assassins controlled by a mysterious power broker who will stop at nothing to hide the truth.  Fleeing for their lives in an environment as desolate as it is lethal, their only hope for survival  is to find out who is behind this masterful ploy.  The truth, they will learn, is the most shocking deception of all.

Rachel is a great protagonist, except she’s basically exactly like Susan from Digital Fortress.  Her boss is exactly like Susan’s boss.  And several other people are exactly like other people.  It was like reading a doppelganger novel.

And, of course, the president is the good guy, the liberal Democrat who is the only one who stands between the money-hungry Republican capitalists and the complete destruction of our society as we know it, while his challenger, the conservative Republican, is the worst kind of sneaky, crafty hypocrite who sleeps around, accepts bribes, and does whatever it takes to get ahead, all while spouting conservative platitudes.  It does get a bit old to be told repeatedly that there are no truly pious people in the world – only honest atheists and hypocritical people who pretend to be religious so they can take advantage of people.

For me, the honest, forthright, I’m-here-for-the-people-not-personal-gain president was the most unbelievable character out of all of them.  You don’t get that high in politics without being a bit of a scuzzer, let’s be real.

But Brown must have something going for him, because despite all this, and despite the fact that I was already 98% confident of how this was all going to play out, I couldn’t stop reading.  I blame the short chapters.  I really have a problem with short chapters. I was also a little bit in love with the third member of the we’ve-discovered-the-truth posse (who for some reason isn’t even mentioned on the jacket cover review??  It’s definitely Rachel, Michael, and Corky running for their lives), who was funny, engaging, intelligent, and a great deal of fun.  He gave an otherwise rather  intense book some great dialogue.

Final beef – throughout, Rachel and Michael obviously have a thing, but they’re so busy running for their lives that they don’t really get into it.  Yet suddenly, the very end of the book they’re all like, “Yay, now that we’re done fleeing assassins, we can bang!  Even though we’ve still only known each other like three days!  Woot!”  It didn’t feel weird that they were going to pursue their relationship, but it did feel weird that they were just immediately sleeping together.  It didn’t jive for me.  Ah well.

So, Deception Point:  engaging read, but a little too much like Digital Fortress to really impress me.  Still, I have some other Dan Brown reads on the TBR, so we’ll see how they hold up.