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4.0 out of 5 stars Same format, but still a gripping read!
From the opening chapter when Langdon wakes up in hospital with a head injury and haunted by visions I was hooked. All the expected questions were popping in my head: what happened, where is he, who's after him - you know, that kind of thing. And the pace doesn't slow from there.

Set in Florence, Venice and Istanbul we're taken on a rollercoaster journey as...
Published 18 days ago by Bookboodle

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286 of 314 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars We've Been Here Before...
I actually wasn't going to buy Inferno given how woeful I considered The Lost Symbol to be; however, I received a copy of the book as a gift and plunged in, consuming the book in a matter of a couple of days. Whilst my earlier review of The Lost Symbol was quite positive in terms of what Brown was trying to do, large parts of my criticism of that book also apply here. The...
Published 15 months ago by Mark F. Davies


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286 of 314 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars We've Been Here Before..., 25 May 2013
By 
Mark F. Davies (Dundee, Scotland) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
I actually wasn't going to buy Inferno given how woeful I considered The Lost Symbol to be; however, I received a copy of the book as a gift and plunged in, consuming the book in a matter of a couple of days. Whilst my earlier review of The Lost Symbol was quite positive in terms of what Brown was trying to do, large parts of my criticism of that book also apply here. The novel opens with an amnesiac Langdon waking up in a hospital room after apparently being shot in the head - we're not in Cambridge anymore Toto. I actually consider the opening of the book quite fresh; taking away Langdon's memory proves a successful literary technique for Brown, allowing him to effectively retrace Langdon's footsteps (and his own work in previous novels).

What follows is more of the same types of shenanigans we read about in Brown's previous efforts. There's a biological weapon (Angels & Demons), an assassin tracking Langdon (The Da Vinci Code), a litany of literary/art references (The Da Vinci Code) and a professor who seems far too in control. Part of what I loved about the early Langdon books was that they always showed Langdon as being out of his depth, a humble academic sucked into a situation he doesn't fully understand. He survived and saved the day through using his intellect and his instincts, making him a sort of bookish Indiana Jones. In short, he was a very good hero for the series. You'll note I'm using past tense for this; it's because he now has transformed into caricature. Everyone knows Langdon; museum curators, security guards, the Director of the World Health Organisation; basically wherever Langdon goes, he is known, accommodated, and assisted in his exploits. He isn't a man alone anymore, he's a man with a massive following and this is where the novel descends into the ring of Hell reserved for tired writers who rehash plots (Dante has a place for Brown, several actually, Circles 5, 8, and 9). Moreover, there isn't a building Langdon doesn't know in the novel; he's certainly quite the traveller, so much so that one wonders when he actually has time to write the books he's so famed for...

On the point of symbols, there aren't many. There's no deduction, there's no reasoning, there's just explanation after explanation of art, messages written in text which Langdon also knows all about. Due to the fact Langdon knows it all, and this does get rather annoying after a while, the reader is left with the distinct impression that they've read this novel before. In fact, we have. Several times. Brown's decision to give Langdon amnesia is actually very clever (or manipulative and devious) because it could be argued that the 'been here before' feeling one gets when turning the page is caused by Langdon's feeling of having been here before. However, I actually just think that Brown didn't have anything new to offer us and so he's rehashed old ideas whilst dressing them up as the déjà vu of an amnesiac.

The truly ridiculous part of the novel, however, is the WHO (World Health Organisation). I'm willing to accept that government agencies, global enforcement bodies etc. etc. are willing to consult academics from relevant fields when trying to assess threat levels. I'm willing to accept that such academics are in a privileged position to know things that others do not, thereby allowing them to play a pivotal role in helping avert disaster. What I am not willing to accept however, is that an organisation such as the WHO, or any other organisation for that matter, would entrust the mission of locating a biological weapon of mass destruction to a man who spends his life analysing symbols and obsessing about a Mickey Mouse watch he wears in order to not take himself so seriously. My hopes soared when the timepiece was lost but then, the Director of the WHO found it for him and returned it to his wrist, ready to tell time another day. I eye rolled here.

For me, the moment Langdon utters the words, as he does twice I believe, "It's a matter of life and death!" in the novel, I found myself rolling my eyes again. Langdon is an academic, not a field agent and yet the WHO were concerned when he stopped 'checking in' with them whilst in the field. Why was he in the field? Why are they trusting this man with anything beyond his area of expertise? Why did Dan Brown think this would fly? Oh the questions. Yet again Langdon is the ONLY one who can help. The ONLY one who knows. The ONLY one who can overcome a severe brain injury within hours and spend the rest of the novel running (not recommended as running increases blood pressure and could cause bleeding in the brain - not so for Langdon). In short, Robert Langdon is amazing. Too amazing. The more amazing he becomes, the more ridiculous the books become and, for me, we're really at critical mass in terms of the amazingness of Robert Langdon.

In my review of The Lost Symbol I wrote that Dan Brown has kind of exploited Langdon enough and should consider stopping writing him and move on to pastures new. With this novel, in my view, Dan Brown has made it clear that he should absolutely stop writing the character and move on. There's nothing new Langdon can do without the book either being so ridiculous it is caricature or so boring it becomes unreadable.

A quick word on Dan Brown's writing ability. Critical reviews of the book have focussed on the fact that Dan Brown isn't a tremendous writer. Let's be clear, he's not, but that doesn't matter. Just as a Michael Bay summer blockbuster will never be Citizen Kane, so too will a Dan Brown blockbuster never be able to accomplish the dizzy heights of Dumas, Brontė, Shakespeare or Proust. I don't expect Dan Brown to be an amazing writer because if he was the book would be an effort to read and that isn't what you need or want from a blockbuster. So whilst critics focus on Brown's inability to write brilliantly, I choose to largely ignore that because the book isn't intended to be a literary work of art. The skill is in the story, not the execution; it's just a shame that the story has been told before.

The book isn't bad, hence my three star rating, it's just overdone. Readers would probably get more out of reading The Da Vinci Code than reading the new novel and could actually get away with substituting The Last Supper in The Da Vinci Code and anti-matter in Angels & Demons with Dante's Inferno and still have read the new book; after all, that's essentially what Dan Brown has done in order to write it.
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26 of 29 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Everything you wanted to know about Florence......., 14 July 2013
By 
Andrew White (USA) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
As a tourist guide, Dan Brown's Inferno surpasses Fromers any day. Anything you ever wanted to know about Florence and Venice is described in brilliant detail, leaving nothing to the imagination. As a gripping yarn, however, Inferno is miles off course. It's riddled with repetition, leaving readers with the distinct impression that Mr. Brown was struggling to find content for the publisher. Without wishing to ruin the story for fans of Dan Brown, the plot follows Robert Langden's efforts to thwart a mad scientist hell bent on infesting the human race with an ingenious pandemic virus. The plot twists here, vaults there and re-writes itself more than once. Inferno is a far cry from Dan Brown's earlier efforts, making me wonder if his writing career has peaked early.
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16 of 18 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Diminishing returns, 9 Oct 2013
By 
The critics, especially here in Britain, have been hyper-dismissive of INFERNO. Echoing Dan Brown's previous Robert Langdon adventures, it's easy to read - and easy to forget.

The medieval poet Dante provides the book with its title and most of the 'symbology' which is Brown's hallmark. He injects lumbering quantities of guidebook history in Florence and Venice and the city (I won't spoil the surprise) where the story reaches its climax. What he doesn't inject is very much originality. The plot is as threadbare as an early episode of DR WHO.

The critics are right to lambaste the author.The writing is pitifully bland. 'There are probably endless possibilities,' Langdon says at one point: nobody in his editorial team (he thanks them all by name) spotted the tautology? If Brown thinks that repeated use of the word 'chthonic' (relating to the Underworld) gives his book a touch of class, he is mistaken. At the end our hero and heroine are 'locked in an embrace that neither seemed willing to end' - there's a line Barbara Cartland would be (and probably is) proud of!

The law of diminishing returns is applying to Dan Brown's books. For all the hoopla, THE DA VINCI CODE wasn't as original or as pacy as ANGELS & DEMONS, Langdon's first foray; this latest episode (and THE LOST SYMBOL) would not have made it past the publisher's slush pile from an author without his track record. But Mr Brown rightly feels free to ignore his critics: like Liberace, he's laughing all the way to the bank.

[Reviewer is the author of SHAIKH-DOWN]
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164 of 193 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Could have been better, 17 May 2013
By 
Parm (A bookshop near you) - See all my reviews
(TOP 500 REVIEWER)   
Review

Writing a review for a Dan Brown book is not an easy thing, he is one of the biggest selling authors out there. His Da'Vinci code achieved almost a cult following status, to even attempt any sort of critic would bring down the wrath of the Brown followers. (but what the heck)

For me personally the book has its good points as well as its bad points. There is a good plot buried within this book, but the book inst an over all great book.

I love thrillers filled with action and quirky unknown symbolism or archeology, and Robert Langdon should be able to deliver that. At times he does, at times I feel educated and feel the pace of the plot building. Then out of the blue Dan Brown decides to take on the role of Florentine, Venetian tour guide, or Dante Historian. Its not that I mind being educated, in fact I love learning this stuff, I really want to visit Florence now. BUT: the stories pace and power and writing style changes as the author introduces this stuff. All of a sudden I feel like I'm starting again, the brakes have been slammed on to the tension and it's lost, the pace is gone, and the purpose of the thriller writer is wasted, for the role of tour guide.

If you read a book by for example Andy McDermott, you will get explosive action, highs and lows and a continual build of tension through to a dramatic conclusion. This dramatic and heart pounding conclusion gets lost with Inferno because of all the tour guide info, and because of the style of its delivery. If the same info had been delivered as part of the narrative at a higher level and with the full content in authors notes at the end....? well this may have been a reading hit as much as it will sell just fr having Dan Browns name on the cover.

I have seen some criticism in reviews, of the science behind the book, on population expansion, and I don't agree with the criticism, I liked this part of the book, I also recommend reading this book when you have the flu and are a little spaced with a fever, because the global disease thing gets a freaky scary edge while you are struggling with the coughing and wheezing.. (a bit odd but there you go).

If I the lowly, unpublished novice could offer the multi million book selling writer any advice it would be to go back to basics, don't try so hard to educate and show your obvious intelligence to the reader. You're supposed to be writing a fast paced balls out conspiracy thriller, the reader wants a ride through their biggest fears, they want heart in the mouth action, you can be forgiven for almost implausible get away's, if the plot is fast. Save the education for the end, we readers do also read authors notes (and are happy to learn from them). But from a thriller we want action action action, plot plot plot, nothing wrong with salting some education along the way in a subtle fashion..but the tour guide while great, should be a separate book in the tour guide section.

I give this book 3/5 : like I said, I had fun and being sick helped. But this idea had 5/5 written all over it, it just needed better execution.

(Parm)

A side note: my son almost never reads, but he likes Dan Brown's books, so no matter what I think of the book, there are and will be many people out there who for them this is great. If Dan Brown can make people like my son pick up a book and read, well that's a great thing, and if it inspires others to write, who look at DB and think, WOW how much money? and they go out and write new, better, greater books, then DB has done something wonderfu
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars What a drag..., 14 Jun 2014
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Disappointing. More like a tourist travel guide, the plot did not get interesting until after two thirds read. Repetitive and predictable from the outset, it is awarded 3 stars only because I managed to persevere to the end...in fact, I'll change that to 2 stars.
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66 of 79 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars contrived device-ridden tripe, 21 Jun 2013
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I started this book with an open mind, expecting a routine thriller with some twists. What I got was a plotline that was so contrived and unconvincing that the publishers either did not read it or just reckoned that it would float on previous sales by Dan Brown.
The characters are two-dimensional, poorly developed and completely implausable. For more mature readers think of the Dallas Bobbie Ewing "I am not dead, I was just having a shower for the last 26 episodes" and that will give you an idea of how absurd the plot lines are in the book.
I must admit that I did laugh out loud at some points, so I did get some enjoyment from the book. How when swerving to a stop sitting on a motor trike between two parked cars. His pursuers flash past from the direction facing him. They dont see him but as they roar past he not only sees a woman looking drugged between two men, but also can describe her and the jewellery that she is wearing!
Or that his mensa companion never works out anything before him.
The amount of padding in the book would be enough to keep you warm on a chilly night, with paragraph after paragraph of descriptions of the history of buildings, even those just "on the way" to another building.
It is a good job Dante is long gone otherwise he would be asking for royalties for the repetitive use of whole sections of his work.
I could go on but I don't want to give away more of the paperthin plotline for those of you who, as some form of
punishment, still feel you are obliged to read this drivel.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Same format, but still a gripping read!, 9 Aug 2014
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From the opening chapter when Langdon wakes up in hospital with a head injury and haunted by visions I was hooked. All the expected questions were popping in my head: what happened, where is he, who's after him - you know, that kind of thing. And the pace doesn't slow from there.

Set in Florence, Venice and Istanbul we're taken on a rollercoaster journey as Langdon attempts to solve the mystery and the clues in a race against time before a catastrophic plague is released into the world. Sound familiar, course it does! This book follows the same suit/format/template of the other Langdon novels; Angels and Demons, The Da Vinci Code and The Lost Symbol even in the ending of each chapter on a cliff-hanger of sorts. Basically different city/villain/lead female but in the same style. But you know what, why change a format that works and sells millions of books. I love it. The tension, the excitement, the red herrings, the double crossing, the will they won't they, deciding who you trust, the descriptiveness of the city's architecture and the fact that I might actually learn something.

The book is littered with Italian phrases, some are translated, others you understand because of the answers. I like this, makes it feel more authentic. And the beautiful descriptions of Florence and Venice's architecure and art just make me want to jump on a plane now.

The subject matter itself is quite a provocative topic - world overpopulation.

"Here the throng of tourists was almost impenetrable, creating a claustrophobic crush..."

In some respects I can kind of see where Zobrist is coming from, the figures and facts speak for themselves but his method is obviously way off. Brown does like to stress his point and you will find a lot of repetition in this book (hence 4/5 not 5!)

So overall, you have to like mysteries, you need to like history and problem solving and although part of the Professor Robert Langdon series, this being number 4, this can easily be read as a standalone and is crying out to be made into movie as per the others.

Is is factually correct, is it historically correct, is it accurate? I don't know and I didn't care. I got totally swept along, believed every word and as I'm not a history or classics graduate then I didn't need to pick it to pieces. It's just a bloody good story.
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89 of 107 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Dante 's inferno...what a letdown, 11 Jun 2013
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The worst Dan Brown book ever. I loved the Davinci Code & Angels & Demons but this book was more like an excuse for Brown to just show off his knowledge of Italian Architecture. The book dragged on endlessly, you need an Italian language degree because it leaps constantly from English to Italian every other word and hovered for too long on certain parts. The ending was totally rubbish...it felt as though Brown got as bored of writing this jumbled mess as I did of reading it.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Fed up with all the descriptions of things Italian!, 15 Jun 2014
By 
Mrs. J. J. Mcgowan "Anja" (Republic of Ireland) - See all my reviews
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The story line is getting lost in all the museum's, art works, descriptions and hidden codes! This is the last Dan Brown book I will ever read!
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4.0 out of 5 stars Professor Robert Langdon knows something. Or not., 6 Aug 2014
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Professor Robert Langdon knows something. Or not.
Gets chased. A lot. Actually, permanently chased until it switches to him doing some chasing too.
They want to kill him? Do they want to kill him? Or not? Why? Who does?
Sound familiar?

This time it is against, as is usual, an interesting backdrop of travelogues through Florence, Venice and Istanbul.
Short sentences. Short Chapters.
Somehow all that works. I wish I knew how and why. Is it because it reads like a screenplay? Is it a screenplay?

After Angels and Demons, everything that told me I shouldn’t enjoy this well paced romp through Europe on the trail of…well…does it matter?
Yet I did. A great deal. I have no doubt I shall be reading other of Mr Brown’s works although I have no idea why.

Want a holiday read? Read this.
Want a well paced page turner? Read this.
Want to be entertained? Read this.

In short. Read this.
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Inferno: (Robert Langdon Book 4)
Inferno: (Robert Langdon Book 4) by Dan Brown (Audio CD - 14 May 2013)
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