There seems to be no end to things that Dan Brown will mutilate in his highly successful and profitable endeavors. You buy one of his books for money and in exchange, receive a couple of hours of entertainment that makes you feel dirty and want a shower afterwards. Today’s target was Dante’s The Inferno. Professor Robert Langdon continues his profitable and successful James Bond and Indiana Jones blend. You know what you’re getting with a Dan Brown novel, roughly 400 pages and 300 chapters of fast-paced action. Definitely one of those books you want to take to the beach or on a plane ride, because it’ll keep you occupied with page-turning thrills for a couple of hours.
You know what you’re going to get when you pick up the latest Robert Langdon novel. If you don’t, try starting with Angels & Demons (2000), then pick up the smash hit The Da Vinci Code (2003), and you can then complete the back-story with The Lost Symbol (2009). Dan Brown has also written a couple other books that don’t specifically feature Robert Langdon, but are similar in theme – Digital Fortress (1998) and Deception Point (2001). Basically, if you’re heading down to say, Aruba for a week-long vacation on the beach, you’d do well by picking up the complete works of Dan Brown amongst others, although it’d be an excellent idea to get them as e-book versions (with just a couple of physical books).
One doesn’t need to have actually read Dante’s Inferno in order to enjoy Dan Brown’s Inferno, but it certainly can’t hurt. There are direct references to Dante, and the imagery is directly tied to Dante’s journey though Hell. At times, it felt rushed and constrained, and still packed in the useful tidbits of information here and there (just enough to make you want to consult a travel agency or research if those actual works of art are still where they were said to be in the book). Brown definitely didn’t do justice to the wonders of Florence, as much as Brown strived to do such. He doesn’t have to worry though – as spending that much time in Florence in the book, praising its wonders of the art world is enough to make any reader want to visit Florence immediately. I know it’s definitely one of the places I want to visit someday.
As with any Robert Langdon adventure, the book begins with a strange scenario which then proceeds into a fast-paced, frenetic dash to find answers about whatever the current mystery is, whilst dispensing sage advice about books and works of arts that the reader should peruse one day if they are ever to become ‘cultured’. Symbology isn’t a real field of study, although semiotics is, so if you’re looking for actual literature in the style of Dan Brown’s books – I’d steer you towards Umberto Eco. Dan Brown is essentially popular culture’s version of Eco, with ‘Lite-‘ book-length adventures that involve some of the concepts of semiotics.
As with all Dan Brown novels, the entire plot-line is revealed near the conclusion of the novel, with the storyline wrapped up in one neat little tidy box by the final sentence. Don’t forget to begin salivating for the next Robert Langdon adventure! It’s the George Lucas formula, and Brown has already profited immensely from his adequate handling of the one-page chapter. Read Inferno if you’ve got a couple of hours to kill, and already like Brown’s novels as a guilty pleasure, or as beach reading.
While not the best beach-reading that Brown has authored, it’s also not the worst option out there. For this reason, I give Inferno a C+ rating in the “beach reading” category.
Overall Grade – C+
Edition: Doubleday first edition (May 14, 2013)
Binding: Hardcover with dust jacket
Page Count: 480
Original Language: English