Don’t get me wrong, I think most readers will actually enjoy the book. It’s very much Dan Brown’s standard thriller that conforms to his secret recipe or, shall I say, his successful formula that worked greatly in his previous books; Robert langdon awakes in a strange city, accompanying by a pretty and intelligent woman, roaming around the city, solving puzzles, chased by some sort of assassins, a catastrophe that threatens humanity. These all are standard Dan Brown but despite all the expectations and promises the book potentially hold, it fails to deliver.
Unlike the previous books, Inferno lacks the amount of puzzles and riddles that I, the readers, come to expect, this is where the chilling factor, that I was waiting for, failed to exist. In his previous work, Brown amazes us with things like Cryptix, 666, Pyramids, Obelisks, Ambigrams, Antimatter, etc, while Inferno has its share of cool things but in my humble opinion this didn’t come on par with his previous offerings.
Albeit the secret group referred to as, The Consortium, it doesn’t hold the same wow factor for things like, The Priory of Sion, The Freemasons, Illuminate, Knight Templars, Holy Grail, Opus Dei, CERN. These were sexy topics in which Dan Brown managed to stand out mixing reality and fiction altogether. The absence of conspiracies, secret societies or covert esoteric groups is obvious in this book, unfortunately this was a theme that worked perfectly in the previous books.
There are a lot of fascinating Renaissance ideas and philosophies that were available at Brown’s disposal were only addressed lightly or never mentioned at all such as Galileo, Alberti, and others. It seems like Dan Brown wouldn’t like to address the subjects he discussed in his previous work. I also felt some subjects were entirely forced; things like the use of Transhumanism move as scary topic feels completely unnecessary, the general theme of putting Overpopulation and Dante’s Inferno (recreating hell on earth) seems forced as well. However, I was expecting a thrilling journey that truly takes advantage of the seven sins and the nine circles of hell.
But, this is still entertaining, with Brown’s own style of putting plot twists and turns getting readers hooked with every page turn to expect the unexpected. As always, readers will be overwhelmed by the amount of details, locations and the fascinating history behind them.
Against all odds, Dan Brown still has the ability to keep readers up late at night reading ‘just one more chapter’, this is why the guy is so talented and where he really excels.