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Monday, January 5, 2015

Book review: Inferno by Dan Brown

Finished January 4, 2015

Synopsis at Good Reads

Harvard professor of symbology Robert Langdon awakens in an Italian hospital, disoriented and with no recollection of the past thirty-six hours, including the origin of the macabre object hidden in his belongings. With a relentless female assassin trailing them through Florence, he and his resourceful doctor, Sienna Brooks, are forced to flee. Embarking on a harrowing journey, they must unravel a series of codes, which are the work of a brilliant scientist whose obsession with the end of the world is matched only by his passion for one of the most influential masterpieces ever written, Dante Alighieri's The Inferno.

My review at Good Reads

3 of 5 stars

First I will say there like this book a lot more than I did the last book I read by Dan Brown. I still haven't figured out if I really like the book or just kind a like the book. It's the oddest sensation I’ve ever had after reading a book. The art history offered in the book was fantastic and the facts about the art mostly accurate. I've read other reviews of Brown's work and I agree there is a tendency to add “known opinions” that never existed in with facts in a way that makes large parts of the fiction created around the fact to be more real than they are. But reader beware; don’t believe everything you read in FICTION. Brown does a great job of using researched facts to create a conspiracy theory on which to base the plot of his books. I really don't think that's a bad thing but sometimes it can be overdone. I guess it's both what I like most about the book and what bugs me most about the book. I like how all of the puzzle pieces fit together using the facts to create fiction. I wasn't crazy about the over-facting. It started to become tiresome.

But more than the conspiracy theory story that was sometimes overdeveloped I was bugged by characters that were a unbelievable. When you're developing a story that supposed to make the reader believe they are reading more possible additional facts, the characters need to be more believable. In the book that starts with the hero, Robert Langdon suffering from partial amnesia he has an incredible ability to remember just everything that he's ever come in contact with. Couple that with the female main character, Sienna Brooks, who is beyond genius with an IQ higher than most of the most intelligent people on earth and it it leaves the reader expecting no mistakes to ever be made and a much shorter book.

The end was too long. After a catastrophic climax that was left dangling at the end the rest of the book almost seems forced, as if there needed to be “something” else in there. It actually is kind of a sad ending in the unsolved global crisis and our lead hero taking a nap on the plane on the way home. It just left me feeling frustrated that no one actually did anything. I think a conspiracy theory fiction is supposed to leave you feeling hopeful that something can be done, not like a victim. I could just be reading too much into that too.

The action was good the details a bit overdone, but I like detail of historic art so I can't complain about that too much, but I am bothered by the unbelievability of many of the characters and definitely some parts of the plot. Oddly, however, as many little things about the book as I can easily complain about and as disappointed as I felt with the ending I can't really say that I didn't enjoy the book. Odd indeed.

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