For some reason I have to read whatever new Robert Langdon book comes out, even though I do not terribly enjoy Dan Brown’s writing. I do enjoy the character of Robert Langdon though. So when Costco had brand new copies of his latest adventure, Inferno, I found myself unable to resist taking it to the check out stand and start reading it as soon as I got home. I really hated his last book, The Lost Symbol, the ending was just terrible and I hardly remember anything about reading it other than knowing that I hated the end, the end of a book or movie can really make or break the experience for me. As my friend Jim and I have discussed many times recently in regards to a Stephen King adapted novella, The Mist, the end just ruined the movie for me. Thankfully I was satisfied with the ending to Inferno.
I actually quite enjoyed the book, it is my 2nd favorite in the adventures of the Symbologist Robert Langdon, with the first being the first book in the series Angels and Demons. As I said before Browns prose is not my favorite and he is a very formulaic writer, every single one of the books has followed almost the exact same pattern, and Brown likes to describe things in ridiculous terms and with ridiculous detail. Before I get into what happens in the book be warned there will be spoilers ahead so proceed with caution.
Inferno started out with Langdon waking up in an Italian hospital and almost being murdered. He has amnesia and can’t remember the last several days and has no idea how he got in the situation he is in. He is saved by a very smart and good looking young woman, shocker I know that has never happened in any of the other books, and thus his adventure through Italy and eventually Turkey begins. The book is very fast paced and doesn’t really slow down until the very end when we find out exactly what has happened and why. I actually ended up figuring out what was going on before it happened throughout the entire read, because like I said if you have read a Dan Brown book before it’s not very hard to decipher the twists and turns he tries to throw at you. Even though I would always guess what was coming I still enjoyed the ride. This book did seem more action packed than the others, there were lulls in his other works as Langdon used his amazing knowledge and intellect to decipher what was going on, and Inferno also had its fair share of this as well, but the pace of this one really reminded me of Angles and Demons and I think thats why I enjoyed it so much.
Brown also likes to have some big revelation in each of the books, be it the true meaning of the Holy Grail from the Da Vinci Code or the discovery of proof that humans have souls in The Lost symbol. Inferno’s big reveal was about world over population, the bad guy in this book, who dies before any of the action has really started, belongs to a movement called transhumanism. Transhumanists believe that humanity should use technology to take the next step in evolution, more of a leap in my opinion, that we should basically start engineering humanity through science and technology. So the extremely smart yet tortured bad guy comes up with a plan to stop the human race from destroying itself from overpopulation. He of course ties this all into Dante’s epic poem Inferno and Langdon has to decipher a famous painting that has been changed and the epic poem Inferno itself to solve the mystery. I won’t give away what happens but I will say I was quite surprised that in the end they decided that what transpired maybe wasn’t so bad so and that trying to reverse what happened was not a good idea.
I think Hollywood hated The Lost Symbol as much as I did because Inferno is going to be the next Langdon movie made and they are skipping The Lost Symbol. Thank you Hollywood, Tom Hanks didn’t need to be in the ridiculousness that The Lost Symbol would have provided. So overall if you like Dan Brown’s previous adventures with Langdon then you will like this book and I promise it is not as bad as The Lost Symbol. If you have never read him before this wouldn’t be a bad one to pick up, it is quite a fun little ride, but I would still say try Angels and Demons first.
Up next for me is 5 patients, a non fiction novel by Michael Crichton about his time as a medical student at the Massachusetts General Hospital. It is the next entry in the Michael Crichton Experience and if I buckle down I should be able to finish it this weekend, it is not that long of a book. I am also hoping to get a few Stephen King short stories and a Novella read this weekend and hopefully I will be inspired to do some writing on my novel as well.