A Critique on "Inferno"

Today or tomorrow - If I lay my hand on any Dan Brown's book, I would inevitably compare it with Da Vinci Code. It's been more than 8 years since I read the book but the thrilling impact which the book had on me is definitely unforgettable. Post which I read the remaining books of his' - Digital Fortress, Deception Point, Angels and Demons, The Lost Symbol and now Inferno. I have been glued to the book Inferno for a week and was able to finish off only last weekend. The relief was more to my family considering my addiction. It's time to review my thoughts on the book Inferno!!

There generally is a "wow" factor in Dan Brown's books. For example, figuring out that the teacher was the actual culprit in Da Vinci Code or Camerlengo was on the negative side in Angels n Demons etc. This time as well you will find yourself get shocked when you get to around page 350 that what you thought was just far from reality. It feels like you are reading "The Truman Show" which only unravels the not-so-very-imaginative mystery of the first 350 odd pages' suspense. However, there are couple of captivating turnarounds on Sienna Brooks,  Bertrand Zoborist etc. The central idea of the book was on the current day issue - over population - and the radical idea to curb it was quite tangential yet thought provoking. This very concept was put forward in a stunning, tangled way and kudos to Dan Brown for bringing back "the past meets the present" experience.

One of the best things about the book and the way Dan Brown went ahead and explained it was Dante's Divine Comedy. The story revolves around how Dante envisioned the inferno if you err. Time and again it mentions about the levels of punishment for the sinners. How karma can take you to the most rotten levels of the hell. Although Dante's idea was not to kill anyone, his Divine comedy, in fact, talks about inferno as the beginning phase and then the way out to the Paradise through Purgatory. The brilliant scientist in the book, who was an ardent fan of Dante, remakes "the map of hell" to guide to the place where the world would change forever. Before i forget, the seven deadly sins - Lust, Gluttony, Greed, Sloth, Wrath, Envy and Pride - are also part of the nine circles in Dante's inferno!

My sister says its a coincidence that I plan my trips synchronously with Dan Brown's novels. First it was Paris, then Rome and now Florence and Venice mapping to the places in Inferno. May be I will end up going to Washington/ Istanbul/ London very soon to cover the other locations described by him. It is Dan Brown's forte to write about anything historic.


Even in Inferno he talks about the chruches, places, symbols etc. Although its very informative, I thought this time he described it a little too much. He talks about everything in Florence/Venice/Istanbul as an absolute marvel on the planet. May be they are but the description was too positive and lengthy at times. I skipped a few pages just to find the actual plot. One good thing though, a read on Florence definitely made me relive my recent visit :-)

There were a few quotations from the history used in the book which were really captivating - "Until a man is nothing, God can make nothing out of him", " The hottest places in hell are reserved for those who, in times of great moral crisis, maintain their neutrality", " In the middle of the journey of our life I found myself within a dark woods where the straight way was lost", "La-ilaha-illa-Allah (There is no God but the God)" etc. The continuous references to history was definitely one of the attentive portions of the book.

In a snapshot, the book's bewitching segment was undoubtedly the quest with a few good twists and turns and a few not-so-imaginative. The principal theme was something new and the plot weaved around it was excellent. The description of historic architecture was sometimes done at length and boring. However, the introduction of Dante's Inferno was really amazing and I loved the examples cross-referenced time and again to the Divine Comedy. I would give a 4 rating out of 5 to the book :-)

As a last thought, I would suggest Mr. Dan Brown to very soon write something about the "History of Hinduism" which is again an epic in itself :-)

5 comments:

Soumya said...

A very good suggestion to Mr.Brown, I would love to hear a plot and a commentary on Hindu mysticism.

Anonymous said...

When you decide to make your way over here to Washington, hit me up :-)

Alok Sharma said...

i am not a robert langdon fanatic myself.. i loved decpetion point more than any other of dan's novels... and I've just bought Inferno ;)... anyway you should put 'spoilers' notice on top of such posts :D

Divya said...

Haha... Sorry about that :-D

Amit Agarwal said...

Dan brown should take a lesson or two from Rowling. I implore Mr Brown to think a little out of box, try a few things if not writing then fishing might help. :)
From the peak of Da vinci code to the crevice of Inferno the journey is depressing, discernable and quite frankly boring. Then the epic disappointment at the climax of the last two novels, lost symbol was still better but this one is sad.
The brilliance of Da Vinci lost in the alleys and corridors of Venetian palaces. I hope it doesn’t get any more predictable than this

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