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3.9 out of 5 stars
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3.9 out of 5 stars
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on 2 August 2015
Having now read three Robert Langdon books I am convinced that Dan Brown wants to be Wikipedia. I enjoyed 'Inferno' a lot more than 'The Lost Symbol' but Brown has fallen into his usual trap of filling the book with a plethora of superfluous information - he REALLY wants to show you just how much information he had gathered during his research.

"I'm typing this review on my keyboard to let you know what I thought of the book."

Now, let me 'Brownisize' that above sentence for you:

"He wrote his review on the QWERTY keyboard, so called because of the layout of its keys, harkening back to 1873, when it was created for the Sholes and Glidden typewriter and sold to Remington. It had become the standard keyboard layout around most of the world, finding its footing during the digital revolution. He tried to write a coherent review to express how he felt about the book but his cognitive abilities were hindered due to a lack of caffeine that day. Studies by the Institute of Neuroscience and Medicine had shown that the neurostimulant could reduce the risk of neurodegenerative diseases like Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s."

See what I did there?

Another annoyance is the amount of time that Langdon does a 'double take.' Seriously...I think he'll be wearing a neck brace in the next book.

Also, people have a habit of overreacting to rather bland pieces of information. In chapter 59 one man 'staggered back a step, steadying himself on one of the stanchions' after learning that Langdon had amnesia. Sure, it's a surprise (I haven't given away a spolier by the way) and I'd probably react with raised eyebrows, but staggering back? Really? When I read that description I fell off my seat in amazement, knocking over the coffee table with my outstretched arm and fracturing my ulna.

Ok, that last sentence was also Brownisized.
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on 29 May 2016
Having read all of Dan Brown's books I knew what to expect when reading inferno. There's clearly going be a crisis, adventure, danger, European locations steeped in symbology and a ton of art work crafted by masters.

This book had all of Dan Brown's best qualities and throughout 95% of the book I was constantly asking myself where the hell the storyline was taking me.

I do have one or two very slight disappointments with the book. I love hearing about all the art, the history and the Italian or Latin phrases, but my main disappointment was that this book was the first where I felt there were too many descriptions bogging the storyline down.

It's too common for people to compare Browns books to The Da Vinci Code, but in my opinion Angels and Demons was his most spectacular work. Having said that, it's completely unfair to compare one book to the other and I implore people to read with their minds open and without comparisons being at the forefront of your mind.
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on 11 June 2016
Brilliant full audio copy of the book. To buy the abridged version is a false economy. I have several audio books narrated by Paul Michael and find him to be a very good reader. Dan Brown is an author using factual information and weaving into it his fictional characters. Because of this I have found myself referring to the internet on several occasions to expand on the information given. His description of The Florence Baptistery also known as the Baptistery of Saint John, is a very good example of this. It is a long book so is obviously a long audio book with something like 17 hours of listening but I enjoyed every minute of it with the good descriptions of places, artifacts and of course the plot.
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on 1 September 2014
I really enjoyed this book, I'm not going to say much about the plot, only that it's about the world being overpopulated. Once again, Dan Brown has written an excellent book. The book draws you in immediately.
Why didn't I give it 5 stars? Well, I thought some of the descriptive passages were too long. At times I felt I was reading a travel or History book. This were interesting to a point, but just too long for my liking.
However, I couldn't put the book down, I loved the characters, their personalities were described so well.
I laughed and had tears in my eyes at other times, I was truly hooked from page 1 to the end. Such a pity about the lengthy travel/history lessons.
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on 20 September 2013
Dan Brown's an easy target. To be fair, people like to criticise and many have commented on whether his books are actually well written or not. It's a matter of opinion but I'm sure we would all like to be as commercially successful as him!
Other writers have taken this genre and done it better but a new Robert Langdon novel still seems to capture the imagination. I still enjoy the journey we're taken on especially if you've happened to visit any of the locations described in the book. The descriptions can sometimes go beyond the necessary narrative and can feel jarring at times. I also think there wasn't the need to use so much Italian in dialogue. It felt a bit like showing off and didn't necessarily lend itself to the story. We're in Italy - we get it. Also things like the frecciargento trains. Why not say it once and then call it a train!
Plot-wise it felt very familiar - Langdon assisted by a younger female trying to decipher clues to a location. Having said that an interesting plot-twist does turn things upside down. The ending was a bit of a let-down after the build-up and didn't seem to quite satisfy. Langdon himself does seem a bit over familiar these days and thanks to the movie adaptations I can only picture Tom Hanks.
Nothing earth-shatteringly new here but still entertaining.
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First of all I have to say that Dan Brown's descriptions of the beautiful Basilicas, Churches and art work in Florence and also in Venice got me so interested that I would like to revisit them once more.

Robert Langdon wakes up with a pounding headache in a hospital room........how he got there and how he got a head wound he can't remember as he has a kind of amnesia. He is being treated by a young female Doctor and also an older Doctor, Dr. Marconi.
They explain to him what has happened that he has been shot in the head and as they finish telling him this, a would be assassin runs into the room and tries to kill Langdon but instead she shoots Dr. Marconi. Sienna, the younger Doctor rushes Langdon out of the hospital and back to her apartment where she finds a change of clothes for him. He decides to log into his internet account using her lap top and this is when 'The Consortium' pick him up.

The Consortium are people who facilitate things for people who wish to disappear but for a fairly hefty fee. One such person who has disappeared is the brilliant Geneticist Bertrand Zobrist who is in fact 'our villain'. Also involved in this bizarre set-up and also wanting to get hold of Langdon is Dr. Elizabeth Sinkskey head of WHO (World Health Organisation).

Whilst searching through Langdon's Harris Tweed jacket, Sienna comes across a strange tubular device which she shows to Langdon. He realises that as it has agitator balls in it if he shakes it then something will happen........what does happen is when he points the tube onto a wall, a picture of Dante's Inferno appears but the wrong way round. This sets off a chain of events that will lead Langdon and Sienna into danger and treachery. They have to try and work out why the map is the wrong way round and by reading Dante Alighieri's poem they gain some clues.

The book itself draws very heavily on The Divine Comedy for inspiration (it inspired me to read the entire poem).

I think readers will either find the book one of his worst or one of his best. The ending comes as somewhat of a shock to Langdon too when he realises that someone close to him has been less than truthful with him. It also explains a lot more about Dr. Sinskey. Has she been entirely straight with him too?

Yes, this world is populated and probably in another century of so barring natural disasters, we will have literally wiped ourselves out. Does this give Zobrist the right to do what he did though? Now there's a moral issue to ponder on.
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on 28 July 2015
I absolutely love all Dan Brown's books and this was no exception. The storyline was gripping from the start, and the only reason I gave four stars instead of five, was because of the very detailed and (to me anyway) boring history lessons concerning Italian art! The book would have been considerably shorter without pages and pages of information that would be very interesting to an art lover, but not me I'm afraid. I found myself skipping over those pages, as they bore no relevance to the story at all. The ending wasn't as good as I'd hoped either, but when Dan stuck to the actual story, it was very exciting. The races across the cities, and the chases, where you didn't know who were the bad guys until near the end, were really edge of the seat stuff. I'll definitely read anything else Mr Brown writes, but please can we have less of a history lesson next time? A little bit of history is fine, but not pages and pages of the stuff!!
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on 5 June 2013
This book is not, in any way good. It is terribly written, the story is incredibly poor with an ambitious plot that Dan Brown doesn't have the ability to make believable or pull off at all.

Once again it's another "Incident X happens so Robert Langdon and incredibly trusting beautiful female stranger Y have to go on the run following clues to unravel crime Z, which inexplicably relate to crime and symbology (not a real thing)".

Dan Brown needs to either learn how to write a decent fiction book, or start writing non-fiction books about art and archaeology. He doesn't seem to be able to decide what he wants to write.

I'd give this 0 stars if I could.
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on 9 August 2014
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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on 12 July 2014
The Story’s the Thing…but here it ain’t!

People have criticised Dan Brown’s writing in the past but his writing’s fine. It’s not Shakespeare but it is more than adequate for the type of books he writes. I do not believe his writing would have come in for so much criticism had he not been so successful. And I believe that success is deserved. Words alone do not make great stories. There has to be imagination, plot, characterisation, and great story telling talent. Brown’s books have all of these.

But I have to say that reviewing Inferno is throwing me. Do you want a good travel guide…check! It’s here. Do you want a superb analysis of Dante’s great literary work, ‘The Divine Comedy’ (with particular reference to Inferno), Check! You’ve got it here. Are you interested in the historical antecedents of just about every building in Florence and Venice? Check! You’ve got them here in spades. Are you interested in reading an exciting and suspense-filled thriller? Chec…uh…hold on a minute... I need to think about that. Inferno has all the ingredients of a great story. Brown’s wonderful imagination works overtime; his plot is original and filled with all his usual twists and turns; his puzzles, his chases and races are as absorbing as ever. But…and it’s a big ‘but’! Was his editor so afraid of an author who has become rich and famous that he couldn’t face telling him that he leaves ‘story’ at his peril to pursue extravagantly detailed travelogues, complex literary references, historical antecedents? Scene setting is one thing; interminable digression is something else.

In Inferno, Brown’s tendency to display is erudition (which he has aplenty) seriously damages the flow of the story. The stop/start element of unfolding events becomes irritating after a while and, with the action constantly being interrupted by long-winded and irrelevant word-pictures of buildings and streets, it is difficult for the reader to maintain his interest in the story and his empathy for the characters. Thrillers require breathless pace to maintain excitement; Inferno offers lengthy and, dare I say, dull descriptions of every street and every building in Florence and Venice almost to the total exclusion of story. A strangely fatal error for a writer who has been so successful in the past.

Properly edited, with a focus on pace and excitement, Inferno might well have been worth five stars. In its present form, I offer it three…and, while that might be generous, the book is underpinned by a really absorbing plot. I would like to recommend it to Brown’s fans but only those who can tolerate oodles of learned disquisition could properly enjoy it.
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