Inferno by Dan Brown

InfernoInferno. Finished 1-29-13, rating 4.25/5,  thriller, 462 pages, pub. 2013

Robert Langdon #4

In the heart of Italy, Harvard professor of symbology Robert Langdon is drawn into a harrowing world centered on one of history’s most enduring and mysterious literary masterpieces . . . Dante’s Inferno.

Against this backdrop, Langdon battles a chilling adversary and grapples with an ingenious riddle that pulls him into a landscape of classic art, secret passageways, and futuristic science. Drawing from Dante’s dark epic poem, Langdon races to find answers and decide whom to trust . . . before the world is irrevocably altered.

from Goodreads

I read the reviews when this came out that it was just another recycled Dan Brown book, so I put it on the backburner, and picked it up at the library last week with low  expectations.  I’ll be honest and say I do think this does follow a formula, but for me it’s a formula that works.  As for it being recycled I disagree.  The bad guy in this one is more complex than some of his others (especially the tattooed Lost Symbol guy) and I loved that this book tackled a very real issue of today, overpopulation.  And our dear professor was not to be relied on since he was suffering from amnesia, which I personally found lame.

This book took us back to Italy, Florence and Venice, and I was happy to revisit both of these beautiful cities.  I did think that Brown used way too much description and I wanted to read about the cities I love, unfortunately, I did find myself skimming some paragraphs when Langdon was escaping capture in Florence.  Which leads right into the biggest issue, for me.  The book needed some editing.  If I had to read (and each time more dramatic than the last) how the woman in charge of WHO was a broken soulless woman because she couldn’t have children one more time I was sure I would start swearing (ok, maybe the fifth time I did).  The book needed to be tighter, especially for the thriller it was intended to be.

“Zobrist asked the following: If you could throw a switch and randomly kill half the population on earth, would you do it?”

“Of course not.”

“Okay. But what if you were told that if you didn’t throw that switch right now, the human race would be extinct in the next hundred years?” She paused.:  “Would you throw it then?  Even if it meant you might murder friends, family, and possibly even yourself?”

(page 218)

I thought that by tackling the overpopulation issue Brown moved from the past to the future well.  Frankly, it was scary.  I haven’t read Dante’s Inferno and I must remedy that soon now that I’ve had a primer, but even so I’m sure it was a stretch to connect the two.  But that didn’t stop me from enjoying the ride.

I think this is better than the last one but not back on par with the first two Langdon books.  What did you think?

14 thoughts on “Inferno by Dan Brown

  1. booketta says:

    I do like Dan Brown’s books even if they are formulaic. I haven’t read this one yet it’s on the wishlist so Like you, I will probably borrow from the library. Thank you for the review 🙂

  2. Veens says:

    I kind of hated the Lost Symbol so I never even read any reviews of this one except for yours. My sister was reading this book the other day and can you believe it, I didnot even read the back-flap – i am so pissed of at Brown lol! Now I am thinking of at least giving it a try. Thanks for the honest review.

  3. Leslie says:

    I read the first book and liked it. Then Da Vinci Code came out and with all the hype I set it aside and it’s still waiting for me to read it, what, 10 years later. I suppose it might be time to give it a go. I don’t want to be the last person on the planet to read it.

  4. Pamela D says:

    I was thinking of reading this book, but my mom read it recently and told me not to bother. She mentioned some of the same problems that you had. In particular she thought that there was too much description of the cities. She thought that she was reading a travel memoir more than a thriller.

  5. The Word Jar says:

    Interesting review. I enjoyed The DaVinci Code and Angels and Demons, but then the Lost Symbol really lost me. I think Brown was dealing with editing issues back then as well (tighten it up!). Maybe no one wants to put the editing screws to him because he brings in so much money. I’m still not sure I can tackle Inferno, though. Have you read his earlier works–Digital Fortress and Deception Point? I found them pretty fast-paced and enjoyable. I kind of wish he would take a break from Langdon and go back to those books.

  6. Literary Feline says:

    My mom loaned me her copy of this a few months ago and I still haven’t gotten to it for much of the same reasons you mention hesitating to read it too.

  7. kelley says:

    I liked the book. I like the way Dan Brown writes. I think most authors have a “formula”. If I like it I stick with it until I feel I’ve had enough. I can’t remember how many Victoria Holt books I’ve read over the years, and I just bought two more.

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