The Da Vinci Code

Common Sense Media says

Too arcane for younger kids, better for adults.

Age(i)

2
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4
5
6
7
8
9
10
11
12
13
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17

Quality(i)

 

What parents need to know

Positive messages

Murder, theft, deception. Protagonist, however, remains virtuous. Anti-Catholic assertions.

Violence

Several brutal murders, a splayed, naked dead body, and a cilice (essentially a spiked chain) tightened around a characters thigh at all times.

Sex

References to ritualistic sex in front of an audience of followers.

Language

Mild profanity.

Consumerism
Not applicable
Drinking, drugs, & smoking

Some alcohol use.

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that this book was intended for adults. In addition to ritualistic sex, brutal murders, and self-abuse, the book contains ideas that may be intellectually confusing for kids, and even many adults.

Parents say

Kids say

What's the story?

Robert Langdon and Sophie Neveu seek to uncover a millennia-old conspiracy hidden, among other places, in the artwork of Leonardo Da Vinci. They are chased by prelates of the sinister Opus Dei, police, and a mysterious mastermind known only as "The Teacher."

The story interweaves history, fictional history, famous art, and the architecture of France and England, all while posing and solving various intricate puzzles as Langdon and Neveu solve a deathbed mystery left for them by Louvre curator Jacques Sauniere. Most challenging is that the two must not only solve the mystery, but beat Opus Dei to the information, conceal it, and then decide what to do with it.

Is it any good?

QUALITY
 

THE DA VINCI CODE, for all its success, is simply a poorly written thriller with a controversial hypothesis about the life of Jesus Christ and the Catholic Church. The characters are two-dimensional and the plot is boilerplate suspense novel stuff. Dan Brown has villains, chase scenes, and some moments of genuine tension. None of it is earth-shattering, though its intricacy is impressive.

Despite all that, it's a fascinating read. The novel opens with a warning that implies that, although the plot is fictional, the research into the development of Christianity is genuine. (Spoiler alert) Over the course of the book, Brown questions the divinity of Jesus and presents a supposed marriage to Mary Magdalene and a line of descent that survives through to contemporary times. Those who take it as a legitimate challenge to their faith will find it infuriating.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about the religious themes and the book's hypothesis. What do kids think would be different if the story was true? Did they wonder if there was any truth to it? How does the author tell his audience -- besides labeling the book fiction -- that this is a story and not an alternative version of the truth? Readers who have seen the movie may be interested in comparing and contrasting the two, and discussing how controversy sells.

Book details

Author:Dan Brown
Genre:Contemporary Fiction
Book type:Fiction
Publisher:Doubleday
Publication date:June 4, 2006
Number of pages:454

This review of The Da Vinci Code was written by

About our rating system

  • ON: Content is age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • PAUSE: Know your child; some content may not be right for some kids.
  • OFF: Not age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • NOT FOR KIDS: Not appropriate for kids of any age.

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Quality

Our star rating assesses the media's overall quality.

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Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging, great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging, good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging, good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging, okay learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

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What parents and kids say

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Kid, 12 years old December 27, 2009
AGE
12
QUALITY
 

Great Book

That's all I can say
What other families should know
Educational value
Great role models
Teen, 14 years old Written bypoofle January 2, 2011
AGE
11
QUALITY
 

Okay for kids too!

I read this book when I was 11 and it's been one of my favourites ever since. Granted, I'm an avid reader, but I think kids will be engaged by this book all the same even if it is a little higher-end intellectually. Gives you a lot to think about, for sure. It does have some graphic images though, like this guy called Silas hitting himself with a spiky belt (I think) because he was under the illusion that enduring pain somehow was a kind of way to show that he loved God. However, that scene was in no way a mindless insertion of violence - it made me wonder about the power of belief and believing, and how there's more than meets the eye more often than not (for example, some may dismiss Silas' behaviour as insane but who's to say what insane is since he's simply believing in something and going by his own beliefs?) Some parts of the book may also have more vulgar words but no f-words, I'm sure. Controversy and religious issues aside, I think this book does have a rather intellectual theme that may require more thinking in order to understand. But 11 isn't too early to start reading such books because kids actually understand a lot more than some adults give them credit for (I personally think with almost the same complexity now as when I was 11). It's a good read and something different from the usual thriller, at least.
What other families should know
Great role models
Teen, 13 years old Written byPajameister March 8, 2009
AGE
12
QUALITY
 

Fantastic!

Though not Dan Brown's best piece of literature, The DaVinci Code offers an intricate plot that will captivate the reader. A lot of stigma surrounds the "anti-catholic" devices Brown uses, it must be remembered that this is a novel, and nowhere does it claim to be otherwise (Brown states that references to geography and artifacts are correct, which seems logical since it's a work of realistic/historical fiction). For anyone looking to be entertained in a way that won't rot your brain cells, Brown has you covered.

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