Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Book Review: Inferno by Dan Brown

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Description from Good Reads
In his international blockbusters The Da Vinci Code, Angels & Demons, and The Lost Symbol, Dan Brown masterfully fused history, art, codes, and symbols. In this riveting new thriller, Brown returns to his element and has crafted his highest-stakes novel to date.

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.

My Review 
I'm a fan of the Robert Langdon novels. I really like him as a character, and find the stories to be interesting. I love the way Dan Brown incorporates real things into his fictional stories. Although, I do spend quite a bit of time when I'm reading his novels looking up the art he talks about, the science behind the story, and the organizations he is hinting at. I think it does help me better understand the story, and what is behind the action. 

I really enjoyed the amnesia element- I thought it was an interesting way to follow the story. Robert Langdon not knowing how he got somewhere? Not having the slightest inkling that maybe he's already been in this exact situation?? It was a great storytelling device.  And I also enjoyed the way he brought The Divine Comedy to life, and introduced me to the history and art referenced in the process. Part of the story, to me at least, is researching what he's talking about, and learning more in the process. But there came a point where I really felt like I was spending more time researching and less time enjoying the story. 

The story begins with Robert in a hospital, a doctor being shot, and him being rescued by a young woman named Sienna. Isn't it always a young woman for Robert? We quickly learn Sienna is a genius with a 208 IQ. So, following the basic formula, Robert is now looking for something with a beautiful, young, intelligent woman. 

He is also being chased, trying to find a biological weapon before it gets released, or before anyone else is able to. 

The weapon itself was created by a man who tries to warn the WHO (World Health Organization) of the population growth (this was very interesting, and I spent a couple of hours researching- the gist is that our population growing at the rate that it is will virtually wipe out all of our natural resources within 100 years), doesn't get what he wants, and decides to take matters in his own hands. So we follow Robert and Sienna, looking for clues that we know Robert has already discovered answers to, however, due to the amnesia, he is having to relearn all of the information he already knows. 

The man who created the weapon is Bertrand Zobrist. About 1/2 way through the story, we actually find out Zobrist was at Robert's university under the Humanity Plus, or H+ Summit. 
Here's another point that made me a little angry at the book- these H+ symbols were all over Harvard during the summit, and the symbologist Robert Langdon did not look into what it was? That stuck me as a clear story device, and not true to who the character is. 

The story continues in typical Brown fashion- getting chased and barely escaping, ducking into corridors and running for your life. And eventually they come to a point where you find the truth- and then comes the twist with Sienna, which I won't ruin, but I was actually shocked. I didn't see it coming. I believe I said "Oh, wow" while I was reading it. And we find out what the virus that Zobrist created actually does, with about 50 pages left to turn the book around.

I gave this book a three star review on GoodReads, which is not on par with his other books- the others I gave four stars to, except Angels and Demons, which got a five star review. 
I'm trying really hard not to spoil what I felt was a pretty good novel with twists I didn't see coming. However, it gets three stars because half the time I read the novel, I was spending time researching and not enjoying the story, and half of the other half of the time, I was thinking to myself that I can already see the movie in my head. Like, he wrote this knowing there would be a movie. The other books didn't read like this one, and I was a little disappointed. The other ones actually did explain the history behind the art and the organizations, where I feel like in this one, you were just expected to know what everything was. And I didn't know what everything was. And I have read The Divine Comedy, though it's been quite a few years. But a little more explanation would have been nice. I couldn't imagine not reading The Divine Comedy and reading this book- I think I would have been totally lost.

You can purchase a physical copy of this book from Amazon here, and the Kindle version here.

FTC: I borrowed this book from my local library.

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