Saturday, September 28, 2013

Book Review: Inferno by Dan Brown

Reviewer: Alan Chin
Publisher: Doubleday
Pages: 461

Harvard professor of symbology Robert Landon awakens in a hospital, disoriented and suffering from a head wound, He recalls nothing of the last thirty-six hours, including how he got there.  Langdon’s world soon erupts into chaos, and he finds himself on the run in Florence with a stoic young woman, Sienna Brooks, whose clever maneuvering saves his life. He finds a set of clues left by a mad, but brilliant, scientist that led Landon to the conclusion that a deadly virus is about to be let loose on the world to cull the population to under four billion humans.

The race is on. Landon and Brooks must evade the authorities and killers while trying to find the mad scientist before it’s too late.

This book is typical Dan Brown. It is one long chase, scene after scene of almost getting caught and finding a way to escape. All of the clues are built around Dante Alighieri’s dark epic poem The Inferno., and parts of that were somewhat interesting. The premise of amnesia, however, is tired, and doesn’t really work because it is all too outlandish, too improbable, and not at all interesting. I felt it was basically The Da Vinci Code all over again, only not was well done.

The parts I enjoyed most (which is to say the only thing I enjoyed) were the descriptions of timeless locations such as the Palazzo Vecchio, the Boboli Gardens, the Duomo, and other sites in Florence and also Istanbul.

I must admit that, although I didn’t enjoy this read, the ending was an agreeable surprise. However, trudging through four hundred pages of over-the-top, clich√© chase scenes and reading everything I never wanted to know about Dante’s The Inferno, to get to twenty pages of pleasant bombshell didn’t make this a book I can recommend.

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