Digital Fortress by Dan Brown – 3/5
Synopsis: the NSA houses a massive, and expensive, computer that can crack encrypted information in minutes. Except this new code, the computer has been trying to crack it for 18 hours and counting. Something is terribly wrong here. Amongst blackmail, secret plans, vengeful hackers, and a cloud of mystery the truth comes to light. Or is that really the truth?
Review: First, I have to say that I love Dan Brown’s new books (Da Vinci Code, Angels & Demons), however when I picked up this novel, I had no idea it was the first one he had published. I think that has a lot to do with the low score I am giving it.
I think in the character development and plot, it is relatively obvious this is his first rodeo. The plot itself is good, very Dan Brown. Lots of mystery, details, multiple threads, and the truth is never what it seems. But overall, about a third into it, I was losing interest with some of the plot lines.
The first character aspect I did not enjoy was Susan and David’s relationship. They’re in love, they’re having some problems, blah blah blah. That’s fine. However, I don’t think their relationship was developed enough for the reader to be invested in it. To start with, the characters are separated by thousands of miles from the beginning of the story. If you really want to make me as worried about David as Susan was, I need to believe in their love, and the brief flashbacks of their love are just not doing it for me. I get that most novel’s have a romantic thread in them, I just don’t think this one was done right.
I also very quickly lost interest in David’s side of the story. I think because there was much more development on Susan’s side, more mystery, more intrigue. While David had one issue after another – which you can see coming from a mile away. I found myself skimming through parts of it (which I rarely do), trying to get back to Susan’s story. One small part of the story, I won’t say more about it to avoid any spoilers, seemed completely unnecessary. At the very end of the story, you find out how it really ties in, but even then, I think the novel wouldn’t have been any different without it.
It seems I have mostly negative things to say about this book, but don’t get me wrong. I did like it; time literally disappeared as soon as I opened it and started reading. At this point, the novel is almost 20 years old, and that plays into how it reads today. Overall, it’s a good, not great, Dan Brown novel, and worth reading if you have nothing else on deck.