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Sunday, July 21, 2013

Book Review: Inferno by Dan Brown

Book: Inferno

Author: Dan Brown

No. of Pages: 480

Genre: Fiction

Publisher: Doubleday

So … finally I pick up Inferno to read. I loved the first 4 novels from Dan Brown. The fifth one was a disappointment and I was afraid the 6th might be one too. The preview chapters excited me as I read about Langdon having a nightmare and then suddenly waking up in pain, in a hospital, with an assassin outside, in a city which is thousands of miles from home and with no recollection of how he got there. Hopes were slightly raised!!!

The novel starts off pretty well with all the usual Dab Brown bells and whistles formula albeit with a twist (mentioned above). So we have a global man-made catastrophe about to strike and Langdon seems to be the only one who can stop it with help from a beautiful lady who gets entangled with him and is on the run with him. We have assassins following them along with police and para-military agencies. There is no one who can help and Langdon has to crack the code (AGAIN) using his intimate knowledge of history, symbology and historical places.

Dan Brown creates some good amount of suspense in terms of who's who and what their motives are and how does Langdon end up in the situation he finds himself. Making earth's population explosion as the key issue was an interesting device. While you read Inferno, you get the 'Da Vinci Code' and 'Angels and Demons' kind of feel again and again … and you might be forgiven for thinking that Dan Brown is now writing on a fixed formula. Yes, he does that. But, the novel is an interesting read anyway.

The plot is pretty interesting. The story has a very interesting set of twists and turns which might not shock you but will surely surprise you. The narrative manages to keep a strong grip on the reader. There is more to the story than history, symbology and historical places. I actually enjoyed reading this one. 

The central issue of the story - Over Population - is a very real one but the 'solution' offered by the 'villain' is not just drastic but pretty much dangerous and leaves u stunned to the core. You keep osciallating between your own views on the solution.

As usual, Langdon takes you through a touristic journey of art - Dan Brown does an excellent job at that. I am sure, Inferno will again drive a surge in tourism for the locations through which Langdon goes through in this book.  I just wish, Dan Brown books were in some sort of new age Digital Book format where each location / painting / sculpture / wall / ceiling he describes, could be laced with pictures and 360 degree panaromic views of the actual location along with video guides and all. It would make the whole reading experience much more 'visual' and enjoyable. We won't have to wait for the movie to enjoy it visually.

There were a few things which I did not really like about the book. The 'coo' of a pigeon which seemed to have 'saved' Langdon and is a constant source of suspense did not really pan out well. The 'assassin' could have played a greater role. I expected it to be more exciting. Another thing which struck strange (and difficult to digest) was imagining middle-aged Langdon running around and chasing.

What does impress is the pace of the novel, the twists and turns in the story, and finally, the climax. Very unlikely, very unexpected, very … thought provoking and scary.

I never recommended 'lost Symbol' to anyone because I kind of did not like it. But, Inferno is something I will easily recommend.

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