Is Dan Brown Worth Reading?

Arguably the best works are popular and literary, and Dan Brown is a master of public appeal.

In this regard at least, writers have a lot to learn from him.

In his popular works are often buried very worthy themes, positive societal messaging and strong examples of how to pace and create tension within the space of a novel.

Some writers and readers describe his novels as populist, rather than literary, but accessibility and readability are great qualities for a novel to have.

Yes, you are likely to find Dan Brown worth reading. For writers, his novels offer strong examples of how to take your reader on an engaging and exciting adventure, and for readers, his novels offer a heightened passage through some of the most fascinating and concealed spaces that exist. 

Where to Start with Dan Brown?

Image: Philip Scalia

The best place to start with Dan Brown is arguably with Angels and Demons, a novel you can begin reading here, and the first of his novels to feature Robert Langdon, Brown’s famous symbologist protagonist.

Angels and Demons does contain scenes which may prove mildly confronting for some readers, who may wish to begin instead with The Da Vinci Code, the second novel of the series, before then circling back to read Angels and Demons once they are more familiar with the themes Brown examines and with the kinds of organizations and beliefs he explores. 

Why are Dan Brown’s Novels Controversial?

Many of the novels Brown has published, particularly those featuring Robert Langdon, were received initially by some readers and publicized by some vendors as an effort to attack certain beliefs and faiths.

Brown, who was raised in a religious household with a mother who played the church organ, has described his novels simply as ‘entertaining [stories which promote] spiritual discussion and debate.’

Brown has described a fascination while growing up with codes and puzzles, and also a curiosity which drove him, as a child, down religious and scientific lines of questioning.

While studying, Brown developed an interest in art history. In his novels, he references extremely famous artworks which are often religious in nature, drawing upon the content of the artwork and any relevant conspiracy theories or lines of enquiry which challenge existing religious thought, to develop a sense of mystery and of discovery for his reader.

Brown often uses the features of significant, well-known paintings and sculptures as clues or markers for his characters as they attempt to solve a mystery or locate a code of spiritual, religious or historical significance within a very limited time period. 

Why Do People Criticize Dan Brown?

Dan Brown has come under scrutiny as a writer for writing his novels to an explicit formula.

In other words, some readers and writers vocalize a dislike of Brown employing similar techniques and story structures across each of his novels.

Brown has also come under fire for drawing heavily upon conspiracy theories and religious themes within his novels to generate publicity and to encourage debate and sales.

Brown’s success and popularity can largely be understood though, to be attributable to his understanding of craft and of the thriller genre, though many readers and writers like to dismiss Brown as a writer without literary sensibilities. 

Why is Dan Brown so Popular?

Thriller novels, generally speaking, are exceptionally popular, and Dan Brown’s thriller novels are some of the most well-known and widely enjoyed of the lot!

Because Brown takes readers on a literary, artistic and spiritual adventure, his novels carry broad appeal.

Brown has also, through his focus on art history and exotic destinations, found a way to entice many readers of literary novels over to reading and enjoying genre fiction.

What’s Dan Brown’s Best Novel?

Dan Brown has had the most success with his novel The Da Vinci Code, largely due to the controversy generated around the novel at the time of release, but Angels and Demons often receives praise for being his best novel.

In Angels and Demons, Brown appears to perfect his own style of writing for the first time, offering a gripping and quite intellectual adventure on an extremely tight turn around, complete with visual and other forms of problem to solve throughout.

Is Dan Brown Worth Reading?

Yes, you are likely to find Dan Brown worth reading.

His novels have sold exceptionally well because he understands how to engage his reader through the provision of problem solving activities while also appealing to their own existing knowledge of places, history and artworks.

Cleverly, Brown chooses to write about artworks and conspiracies which are familiar to most of us, while also offering a level of detail and of examination of these same works, and possible related mysteries beyond the knowledge of the ordinary person, which is informational to many of his readers.