I have been a huge fan of Dan Brown since reading Digital Fortress several years ago. I so much loved the techie aspect to his book, and how much it freaked me out that all this could be possible. The Di Vinci Code skyrocketed him into the big league and then everyone wanted to read Angels and Demons – which I believe was written before TDVC. The Lost Symbol was also brilliant and while Inferno follows along the same thread, I feel somewhat let down.
Dan Brown’s books are slightly more high-brow than your average book. They require a certain degree of knowledge about history, geography, culture etc. So I found it a little patronizing that he felt obliged to spoon-feed me the emotions and tones of his characters by the exorbitant amount of “?!”s used within this text. I gave up counting after 25. Simply using italics will let me know Robert Langdon’s outrage, shock or fear. Failing that, TELL me what emotion the character is feeling. Some parts of this book seemed outrageously melodramatic and childlike, almost as though he were appealing to a younger market or worse… he’s done that thing famous writers seem prone to doing when the task of ACTUALLY writing becomes too much… COLLABORATING. (James Patterson, I am referring mostly to you!)
My second bug bear about this book was that it read a lot like a guide book. Too many Italian names that I skimmed over because I cannot be bothered trying to name every street, museum or past inhabitant of Florence. There were whole pages dedicated to the history and I am certain the book would have been half its length if those parts were cut.
The good points are the high octane hunts and the mystery. If you enjoyed his other books, you will probably enjoy this one. It’s classic Robert Langdon, solving a mystery with an attractive and intelligent woman brought along for the ride. (Well… the formula has worked thus far!)
I probably won’t be going out of my way to pick up his next book – unless it’s unrelated to Langdon, like Digital Fortress. I feel as though Mr Brown needs to up his game. People deserve something professional and polished, considering the money they will spend on a hardback copy of this book. I felt a little bit cheated. At least one editor at his publishing house should have slapped his knuckles for his over zealous relationship with the punctuation keys.
Give it a read if you’re a Dan Brown fan. If you’re not expecting too much out of it, and you don’t mind being a little bit patronized, it’s a decent book to spend a couple of hours reading.