Book Review: Dan Brown’s Inferno

Inferno Dan BrownInferno by Dan Brown

The blurb: ‘Seek and ye shall find.’

With these words echoing in his head, eminent Harvard symbologist Robert Langdon awakes in a hospital bed with no recollection of where he is or how he got there. Nor can he explain the origin of the macabre object that is found hidden in his belongings.

A threat to his life will propel him and a young doctor, Sienna Brooks, into a breakneck chase across the city of Florence. Only Langdon’s knowledge of hidden passageways and ancient secrets that lie behind its historic facade can save them from the clutches of their unknown pursuers.

With only a few lines from Dante’s dark and epic masterpiece, The Inferno, to guide them, they must decipher a sequence of codes buried deep within some of the most celebrated artefacts of the Renaissance – sculptures, paintings, buildings – to find the answers to a puzzle which may, or may not, help them save the world from a terrifying threat…

Set against an extraordinary landscape inspired by one of history’s most ominous literary classics, Inferno is Dan Brown’s most compelling and thought-provoking novel yet, a breathless race-against-time thriller that will grab you from page one and not let you go until you close the book.

My review: You know what to expect from a Dan Brown novel. Pulse-pounding fiction that has you ripping through the story, marvelling at all the historical facts and intriguing figures you never knew existed, whilst being amazed at the codes and symbols being unveiled. Sadly in this instance all was not as I expected.

I really, really struggled with this book. I persevered and I’m glad I did as in my, very humble, opinion the last 20% of this book is head and shoulders above the rest. This is not Dan Brown at his best. Don’t worry I offer a full 100% no spoilers policy.

For me the historical detail that is usually blended so seamlessly felt clunky and dull. It was like someone had taken my action-packed adventure and mixed up the pages with a history text book. It was clear that Brown greatly admires Dante but such reverence can get in the way of a ripping good plot.

I also feel preached to. It’s an uncomfortable position to be in as a reader. This is the first of his books I’ve read where I’ve felt like he’s had an agenda and he’s trying to force it on me. There are many scary facts about our population crisis in this book. I’m sure they’re accurate and should be heeded on a world stage, I’m not sure a work of fiction was the best forum to air these views. The reason it took me so long to read was because I was so depressed whenever I put it down that I found it near impossible to muster up the desire to pick it up again. To put myself through another round of soul-bashing. To get past the inevitable feelings of ‘what’s the point of life’ that comes across through his messaging. Apathy is seen as the worst of all the deadly sins. Heaven help those who see the problem and don’t do anything about it and Dan Brown has made sure we’ve all seen the problem.

I think there’s a very real place in literature for Dan Brown books but for me this isn’t the best example of that canon.

5 out of 10 stars *****

BUY ME! Inferno

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One thought on “Book Review: Dan Brown’s Inferno

  1. I agree inferno is poor. it seems Brown has just knocked a book together again on the back of someone else [this time Dante]. it comes across as a weak Da Vinci code style adventure. moving from city to city chasing mediocre clues. this is then mixed in with a travel guide to Italy. take away the descriptions of places he visits and you will end up with a book around 100 pages in length. Brown now plays on his best seller status and produces rubbish because he knows it will sell.

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