Wednesday, May 29, 2013
Inferno by Dan Brown
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
Apparently this kind of action/thriller just isn't my thing. There were many times I felt like I was listening to a Dante-esque version of The Amazing Race (a TV show where contestants find clues that take them running frantically all over the world completing seemingly irrelevant tasks to get to the next clue.) Much of the action just confused and/or bored me. The plot was fascinating and the way the problem of over population was used in context with Dante's vision of Hell was definitely interesting. But Inferno repeatedly lost me in the erratic race from clue to clue.
What really grabbed me about the story was the plausibility of a situation like the one described. Overpopulation is definitely a relevant issue today and many statistics online verify some of what was proposed in Inferno (I know this because I stopped reading to Google these statistics, this alone tells you how intriguing this book was.) It is terrifying to imagine what the wrong kind of scientist could release into the world in the hope of solving the population problem.
The story was resolved in a way that I honestly didn't see coming. I am not scientifically inclined so I have no idea if what was being suggested is even possible, but it seemed logically sound and gave me something to think about and will likely spark a lively discussion with the best friend once she finishes reading it.
The scenery was awesome! One thing that I enjoy about Dan Brown's books is that it explores many of the places that I would so love to go. That part of this story took place in the Hagia Sophia and in and around Istanbul made me quite happy! I hope that one day he writes a story that explores more of the art and history of Istanbul, there would certainly be enough material to work with as that whole area has such cultural significance. So, location was definitely a win in this story.
The aspects that didn't work as well for me were the action sequences and the suspense surrounding the good guys and villains. Also, some of the twists were just too farfetched at times and there was so much running around that I often lost the thread of the story and found myself wondering what in the world Robert Langdon was even trying to accomplish. I will say that Langdon is much more committed to that type of chaos than I could ever be. I would have checked out the Hagia Sophia, wished everyone the best of luck, and went the hell home.
The characters were okay. I didn't feel any significant connection with any of them but that could be because I never knew who was telling the truth. It was like a whole bunch of Snapes running around causing havoc and I wasn't sure why(Harry Potter reference) Several had compelling background stories but I had no idea if they were even the truth or was part of some super secret false identity.
Ultimately, it was worth the read and presented topics that were worth thinking about. I suppose Dante would be somewhat pleased that he was featured in a book likely to become a blockbuster summer movie, but he might also have wished that it had been written by someone with a bit more literary style and finesse. I would recommend this to anyone who enjoyed The DaVinci Code or who likes gratuitous action and chaos in their thrillers.
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