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Book Review: Inferno by Dan Brown

Years ago when The Da Vinci Code was causing uproar I decided to read said book and having enjoyed it, went on to read Angels and Demons. I preferred the latter but thoroughly enjoyed both. They move quickly, jumping forward relentlessly and can be a little bit full on but still a good read. So, when I saw that they had made the film of Inferno and as I happened to have the book in the house, I thought I would give it a try. I was expecting another cleverly thought out adventure, with little emotion but plenty of intrigue.

That’s not what I got.

Inferno follows Robert Langdon on his latest escapade, buckle up for some excitement! And then unbuckle and just get off the damn ride. I really wish I hadn’t started this novel, I have an irritating need to finish any book I start, so I was unexpectedly stuck with a book that would bore and frustrate me in equal measure!

Dan Brown’s writing isn’t exactly highly sophisticated and his characters aren’t very well rounded but I appreciated the effort and research that went into his books. I love the way he both condemns and explores religion, particularly Catholicism. And I also really like his appreciation of art history and the way he uses it in his novels. Sadly all the things that kept me reading his past books were severely lacking here.

For me, few authors can make good use of the memory loss technique, and that was the first sign. As the novel went on I started to think it was going to end with ‘And it was all a dream’, which it may as well have. Anyway, it wasn’t a good starting point for me at all and it just got worse…and worse.

He’s an experienced writer so I forgave him the lazy memory loss thing. What I can not forgive, at all, was his technique for building tension. Now, it really has been years since I read his other books so maybe he has always done this but it is in this novel that it screamed out to me constantly. He became particularly fond of using ‘?!’, two innocent pieces of punctuation which he has now killed for me. I have used it on occasion, sometimes when it is well placed, it works perfectly. Who would have thought though that putting a question mark with an exclamation mark could actually push me the closest I’ve ever been to setting fire to a book! AND I HAVE READ FIFTY SHADES OF GREY! It was infuriating! I truly can not express how much it wound me up, I’m honestly surprised that I managed to keep the book intact. Use your words Dan! It was damn lazy writing. Hmm, I wonder how I can add some panic to this sentence?! I have to stop writing about this particular point now as I can feel the rage starting to build up in me again, just know that I was not impressed!

So, yeah, the book wasn’t off to the best start but there was an entire adventure still to unfold so I got on with it. Now again, I may just not have noticed this with the earlier books, but I got the distinct impression that he thought I was stupid. It was Langdon who had memory loss not me, I didn’t have to be constantly reminded of what happened two seconds ago! Every time he went back to a character I had to read their whole bloody back story again! Yes, I know that’s happening because YOU TOLD ME TWO PAGES AGO! It was so irritating I had to start taking breaks between chapters just to warrant the reminder.

(Also, did you know Langdon is claustrophobic? Because I’m not sure he mentioned that enough.)

This book could easily have been half the size had I not been told the story ten times over. There was so much unnecessary information! And now I have to mention the advertisement for iPhone’s that was just plonked in the middle. I didn’t get a lot from the storyline however I can now tell you the handy special features of an iPhone! It wasn’t even subtle. I hope he was paid well for that little product drop because believe me, it did nothing to make me want to buy an iPhone. It was like the advert break in a TV show but just right there in the book!

I’m going to try really hard now to give you the positives of the novel, of which there are few. I enjoyed the information on Dante and the way in which his work has influenced others. I liked the description of Venice, a city I have always been intrigued by. Also there were some twists I didn’t expect.

Yep that’s it.

The novel comes with it’s usual puzzles, corrupt people and pretty sidekick but none of its mystery. I didn’t really care what happened or who it happened to and that’s good because, well, nothing happened. I’m not even sure the novel ended. Usually I would recommend the book here but I’m not even going to bother. It was a waste of time, time I now can’t get back.

So yeah, that’s what I thought of Inferno. What about you? Did it entice you enough to buy an iPhone?

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