KokkieH Reviews Inferno by Dan Brown

As mentioned, the first two-thirds of the novel was quite enjoyable.  The pacing was good and there were enough unanswered questions to compel me to keep turning the pages looking for answers:  Who is the white-haired woman in Langdon’s visions?  What is Sienna’s secret?  Who is the mysterious stranger following them through the streets of Florence?  How did Langdon get injured?  What is the secret of Dante’s death mask?

Forrest Gump as Robert Langdon in The Da Vinci Code
Forrest Gump as Robert Langdon in The Da Vinci Code

After the hunt for the Holy Grail and preventing a madman from taking over the world by gaining magical powers through getting a mystical tattoo on his head, a run-of-the-mill mad scientist seeking to wipe out a third of humanity with a genetically engineered plague was refreshingly realistic.  In fact, I would say Brown’s choice of antagonist is the best thing about the novel.  Not only is it a very plausible scenario in our age of bioterrorism and genetic manipulation, but the antagonist is made even more menacing by the fact that he is already dead when the novel starts, appearing only in Langdon’s visions and in a video left behind as a pair of bright green eyes staring from behind a medieval plague mask.  This leaves Langdon and Brooks up against The Consortium, a secret organisation of incredible power and influence, acting on final instructions left to them by said mad scientist.

One last thing I noticed very early on is that this time around Brown opted for multiple points of view.  The previous Langdon novels tended to be written entirely from the protagonist’s point of view, with only a scene thrown in here and there to show us what the bad guy (Silas, the assassin, the crazy tattoo guy) was up to.  In this novel every major character gets a chance to show us their perspective – a very effective technique in thrillers…if done right.

However, the first part of the novel did have its faults.  And to find out what they were, click on Page 3 below.

9 thoughts on “KokkieH Reviews Inferno by Dan Brown

  1. Y’know, by the end of your 2nd page I was starting to like the sound of this novel. By the end…less so :P. I’ll probably still check out the Lost Symbol movie, though, if only because I liked the Angels & Demons adaption so much.

    1. The first two thirds really weren’t bad, and you wouldn’t notice the Brownisms if you’re not an expert on Dante and Florence. But he ruined it for me with the twists. The final act did not fit in with the first two, in my opinion (and I confess I don’t know that much). Next time round I’ll rather read the original Inferno 😉

  2. I could reconcile most of the ‘plot twists’… The fact that agent bruder was reporting back to WHO and not the Provost… I got lost there! Who was he calling if not the provost? There explicit references to him calling a male. Unless he’s been calling his HQ, and some random person, this twist goes down as a fail!

    1. Definitely. Especially when we consider that his boss was right there with him (and we’ll ignore the fact that Europe doesn’t have its own SWAT team to deal with epidemics and such…). What really irritated me is that he used Sinskey’s POV, in other words her thoughts, to show us she’s a captive while she was actually in charge. Laying red herrings is one thing, but that felt like Brown was trying to trick us.

  3. I’ve read enough Dan Brown to not want to read any more. The two I read – ‘The Of Vinci Code’ and ‘Angels and Demons’ reveal a mastery of structure and of a topic highly likely to seize interest – but that’s about it. The science and history he reveals in these books is riddled with idiotic errors, and I was left with the disturbing impression that he hadn’t actually visited Paris for the former novel. More crucially, for me anyway, his writing has a choking ineptitude about it that to my mind should have been fixed by his publishers; both in terms of his characters – who are cardboard – and the technical writing style itself. I can’t fault the guy for selling 80 million copies or more of his books, but the ones i read could have been so much better written.

    1. In this case I feel he failed in terms of structure as well. The last part of the book almost seemed disconnected from the first with all the about-turns regarding the character roles and motivations. It’s as if the story got away from him at some point and he just pushed ahead regardless.

    1. The ending quite ruined what would otherwise have been a reasonably entertaining, though still not great, novel. I think there are many better ones you can read instead.

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