The Da Vinci Code

Book review by
Brad Philipson, Common Sense Media
The Da Vinci Code Book Poster Image
Too arcane for younger kids, better for adults.
Popular with kidsParents recommend

Parents say

age 14+
Based on 21 reviews

Kids say

age 13+
Based on 46 reviews

A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this book.

Positive messages

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

Positive role models & representations

Robert Langdon is an intelligent and determined problem solver. He searches for the truth and tries to protect the people around him. 

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
Drinking, drugs & smoking

Some alcohol use.

What 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.

User Reviews

Educator Written byMagmo74 August 28, 2012

Beware...warning to parents

This book contains fairly graphic descriptions of sex acts as well as ritualistic torture scenes. I think that it would be very confusing to someone who is not... Continue reading
Adult Written bywhateverfloats September 14, 2009
Teen, 14 years old Written bypoofle January 2, 2011

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 bo... Continue reading
Teen, 13 years old Written byPajameister March 8, 2009

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... Continue reading

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?

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.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about the religious themes and The Da Vinci Code's hypothesis. How does the book portray the church? 

  • 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? What do kids think would be different if the story was true? Did they wonder if there was any truth to it?

  • Readers who have seen the movie may be interested in comparing and contrasting the two, and discussing how controversy sells. 

Book details

For kids who love thrillers

Our editors recommend

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