Thursday, May 30, 2013

Inferno by Dan Brown

When an author like Dan Brown releases a new book, it's a mad flood of orders for bookstores and eReaders. I had my copy reserved months ago and marked my calendar for its arrival. I was in the middle of reading two other books when the script hit my screen, and I promptly stopped both books to read Dan Brown. Yep. He's that good.

Inferno pulls the reader into the world of Dante Algheri. If you are unfamiliar with The Divine Comedy it might be a good idea to at least read the Cliff's notes of this classic piece of literature before reading Inferno. Having a working knowledge of the Seven-Deadly Sins and Algehri's obsession with the number nine (Nine circles of hell, nine rings to rise in purgatory, etc...) lends a better understanding to some of the twists and turns Dan Brown is famous. Then again, if you'd like to be totally shocked at the all the connections, wing the read.  (But just in case - here is where you can read the text of the poem by Dante - it is in public archive: http://www.gutenberg.org/catalog/world/readfile?fk_files=3275979&pageno=1)

Robert Langdon's wisdom and knowledge of symbology are at work again in the pages of Inferno. But this time, Dan Brown does change up the pace. I enjoyed the mystery of Langdon's character in Inferno - he struggled more than he has in the past to make it all come together - and for me this was a welcome change. His character has an eidetic memory, and yet it sometimes wasn't what he needed. Some good old fashioned connect the dots surfaced in the pages, amidst, of course, a sneaky blonde and a cunning Provost.

Being plunged deep into Italy didn't hurt my feelings any either. I've long had a desire to learn more of their language and their culture, and Dan Brown easily draws the reader into the idiosyncrasies Italians cultivate toward their doges, their basilicas, their churches, and their customs. The detail of the art alone described in the pages is enough to make a reader book a trip. But just when you think Italy holds all the answers, Brown whisks you away.

Inferno was a very quick read for me, as I'm sure it will be for most people. The pacing and action is non-stop and the quick wit of Langdon makes for a comfortable plot. I didn't think it held as many awe-revealing moments as Angels and Demons, but then again, Angels and Demons is my favorite book of the Robert Langdon series. However, I will say the premise of this book certainly does give one pause. As the reader, you can pretend it isn't true, but as a human, one glance around a crowded city, and you know it is. He addresses a very specific and real problem in our society. Like it or not.

I'll still run out an purchase the next Dan Brown book to hit the shelves, whenever that may be. But for now, I'm looking forward to the movie (that I'm sure is to come) and watching Tom Hanks descend the circles of hell in order to save the world.

Happy Reading!




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