BOOK REVIEW: Inferno – by Dan Brown

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Title: Inferno
(Robert Langdon Series #4)
Author: Dan Brown
Genre: Fiction, Mystery, Thriller
First published: May 14th 2013
Finished reading: March 18th 2015
Pages: 461
Rating 3

“The human mind has a primitive ego defense mechanism that negates all realities that produce too much stress for the brain to handle. It’s called Denial.”

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I promised myself wasn’t going to read any Dan Brown novels anymore, mostly because the general plot is becoming repetitive and with so many great books out there I prefer staying away from possible disappointments. But when I was given a copy of Inferno, I decided I was going to give the Robert Langdon series another try. I was told this fourth book is slightly different from the first three and thus refreshing… Although now I’ve read it, I’m not completely positive I agree. Sure, Dan Brown is able to write an entertaining story with a fast pace and easy-to-read prose, but somehow I constantly had a feeling of a deja vu. I enjoyed the setting in Italy and learning more about the architecture in Florence and Venice, but the general plot itself is quite similar to the previous books. Professor Robert Langdon with his life in danger and a beautiful woman helping him trying to solve the puzzle before it’s too late, people chasing them continuously… This could be a short summary of any of the three books I’ve read in this series. (The only one that’s missing is The Lost Symbol, of which I actually own a copy but I’m not sure if I end up reading it.) I guess Inferno ended up being exactly what I feared; entertaining, but too commercial and repetitive.

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Robert Langdon is back, and it doesn’t start of well for him. He wakes up in a hospital without knowing where he is and how he got there… Instead of at the Harvard campus back home, he finds himself now far away and in the middle of Italy. Robert doesn’t have much time to think about his situation, as a mysterious woman shows up at the hospital and tries to kill him. The beautiful doctor Sienna Brooks ends up saving him and soon she is helping him on his quest as well. It turns out that Robert was in Italy on a mission, and the answers he is looking for are found in the city of Florence where he woke up. He now both has to try and escape the people who are trying to hunt him down and try to solve the puzzle at the same time. A nearly impossible mission… What has Dante’s masterpiece to do with all of it? And can Robert really trust the people around him? The professor soon has to race to find the answers on time before it’s too late…

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This book seems to be extremely popular and very successful commercially, but I don’t think I would end up recommending it to someone. Don’t get me wrong, it’s not like I hated reading Inferno. I was just expecting something better and not the same old general plot I’ve read before. The threat of a virus or an epidemic disease makes for a nice twist, but in the end it is yet again Robert Langdon trying to save the day. Dan Brown‘s prose is easy to read, but unless he starts writing a novel with a different plot, I think I will stay away from his other novels.

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WWW Wednesdays #31 – March 18th

wwwwednesdaysOriginally featured at Should Be Reading and now hosted by Sam at Taking On A World Of Words, WWW WEDNESDAYS is still about answering the following three questions:

  • What are you currently reading?

darkwitchI technically haven’t started this first novel of The Cousins O’Dwyer Trilogy yet, but since I will be in a few hours I guess I can could it as my current read. 😉 I’m not sure when I will be able to finish Dark Witch though, because tomorrow is my birthday! Almost 27 already, when did that happen?! I will be celebrating both the fact that I’m getting old AND the fact that this weekend will be probably one of the last hot and sunny ones… So I probably won’t be having a lot of time to read in the next few days.  Nora Roberts will have to wait haha.

  • What did you recently finish reading?

17212231Iheiroffire finally finished Inferno by Dan Brown today between baking (lemon brownie!) and cleaning… Like I suspected, Brown has yet again used the same format as his previous books. It’s not like it’s a bad general, but it does get repetitive. More in a full review that will probably be published somewhere next week. I’ve also finished Heir Of Fire by Sarah J. Maas a few days ago, and I will be waiting for the publication of the fourth novel which is hopefully this September. Definitely a series worth checking out!

  • What do you think you’ll read next?

harrypotterandthehalfbloodprinceataleoftwocitiesThe best remedy of feeling yet another year older is to revisit a classic from my childhood… I’m most likely going to reread the sixth Harry Potter book after finishing my current read. Harry Potter And The Half-Blood Prince… I’m excited to revisit this one! 😀 Afterwards, I will most likely finally pick up my copy of A Tale Of Two Cities by Charles Dickens.

Teaser Tuesdays #34 – March 17th: Inferno

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TEASER TUESDAYS is a weekly book meme originally featured at Should Be Reading. To participate, just open the book you are currently reading to a random page, and choose two ‘teaser’ sentences from somewhere on that page. (no spoilers!)

I started reading Inferno, the fourth book in the Robert Langdon series, a few days ago and I’m currently about 250 pages into the story. I was not sure whether to pick up this title,  but my TBR cup decided for me. Plus, it’s part of my TBR pile challenge so no excuse not to read it… So far it’s entertaining, although the general idea of the book is easily to be called repetitive. Don’t get me wrong, it’s not that I don’t like Dan Brown‘s books, it’s just that they share so many similarities that they can hardly be called ‘original’ anymore. Inferno so far shares the same similarities with the first two books in the series (I haven’t read The Lost Symbol yet), but I like the setting in Italy and the many references to Dante and his Divine Comedy are definitely interesting. It makes me want to reread Dante’s work!

inferno“As Langdon stared up at the horrific sight, he tried to imagine the effect the mosaic had on the youthful Dante, who had attended services at this church year after year, and seen Satan staring down at him each time he prayed. This morning however, Langdon had the uneasy feeling that the devil was staring directly at him.”

 

What are you reading right now?

WWW Wednesdays #30 – March 11th

wwwwednesdaysOriginally featured at Should Be Reading and now hosted by Sam at Taking On A World Of Words, WWW WEDNESDAYS is still about answering the following three questions:

  • What are you currently reading?

heiroffireAfter finishing Crown Of Midnight yesterday, I just HAD to start the third book in the Throne Of Glass series straight away. I’m not too far into Heir Of Fire yet, but so far it’s definitely interesting… Especially with Celaena traveling around and discovering new things about her past. I’m probably going to finish this one soon! Such a shame I will have to wait until the fourth book is published to continue this series written by Sarah J. Maas

 

  • What did you recently finish reading?

irobotcrownofmidnightI’ve finished Crown Of Midnight by Sarah J. Maas yesterday and I absolutely loved it! I enjoyed the sequel better than Throne Of Glass, but that might just be because the love triangle wasn’t as important in the second book. A lot of new facts about Celaena and the world she lives in has been revealed… A full review will be posted soon! I also finished I, Robot by Isaac Asimov the other day, and although I thought the story was going to be completely different (I blame the movie for that), it was an enjoyable read with short stories about the evolution of robots.

  • What do you think you’ll read next?

17212231My TBR cup has decided for me that I’m going to read Inferno by Dan Brown next. I’m not sure what to think of this title because other books by the same author have been a disappointment… I guess a lot of his work share too many similarities to be original. At least his books in general read fast, so I will probably finish this one before the end of the weekend.

BOOK REVIEW: Digital Fortress – by Dan Brown

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Title: Digital Fortress
Author: Dan Brown
Genre: Thriller, Mystery, Crime
First published: 1998
Finished reading: December 27th 2013
Pages: 510
Rating 2

“Quis custodiet ipsos custodes? Who will guard the guards ? If we’re the guards of society, then who will watch us and make sure that we’re not dangerous?”

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I think I just un-became a Dan Brown fan. I know Digital Fortress is his first book, but it made me wonder how on earth he was able to get his second one published. The only reason I read Digital Fortress to the end was because I kept believing that it must get better eventually. It didn’t. To be honest, I’m surprised it was that bad, especially when you keep in mind Brown is so highly praised by millions. Even though I’m not a specialist in cryptology and computers (I’m just a simple philologist), I noticed a lot of errors, and the plot and characters were not believable. Take the end as an example: a bunch of the brightest people in the US cannot see straight away the puzzle Tankado left them was about chemical elements and afterwards take 20 minutes to figure out what’s the prime difference between Uranium-235 and Uranium-238? Yeah, right. Be wise and keep away from this one.

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The National Security Agency NSA has a new computer, the TRANSLTR, which can decipher any code and unlock its secret message. A lot of people would see it as a breach of privacy, but it also helps prevent terrorist attacks. And more importantly, nobody outside NSA knows the computer exists.. Yet. A former NSA employee Tankado treathens to publish a new programm (Digital Fortress) which code is unbreakable. It’s up to Commander Strathmore to stop him. With the help of the ´perfect´ couple Susan Fletcher – the head Cryptographer at the NSA – and David Becker – a foreign-language specialist- Strathmore tries to get the special password to stop Digital Fortress from ruining the future of NSA.

David is send to Seville to find the ring Tankado was wearing, supposedly with the code ingraved. While he tries to get it, he is chased by a hitman, and is forced to do some heroic acts to survive. Susan meanwhile is trying to find out the identity of the only other person that has code, North Dakota. They both find out that things are not as they seem, and certain persons can’t be trusted… And the TRANSLTR is in bigger trouble than most are willing to see.

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While his later work still might be worth the read, I suggest staying away from Digital Fortress. Both the plot and characters are barely believable, and I just couldn’t enjoy this one. Luckily I read other books like The Da Vinci Code first before reading this one, or else I would have never continued reading Dan Brown‘s work…

BOOK REVIEW: The Da Vinci Code – by Dan Brown

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Title: The Da Vinci Code
(Robert Langdon #2)
Author: Dan Brown
Genre: Thriller, Mystery, Crime
First published: April 2003
Finished reading: November 14th 2013
Pages: 489

Rating 3

“Telling someone about what a symbol means is like telling someone how music should make them feel.”

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I remember that the first time I picked up The Da Vinci Code by Dan Brown as a teenager I actually really enjoyed it. I guess I was less critical back than, because when I found a copy while I was traveling and decided to reread it, I didn’t enjoy it as much as I would have thought. There is no doubt that The Da Vinci Code is a very entertaining story as long as you don’t think too much of the details. I remember enjoying the mathematical details and explanations throughout the story, although I do have to admit some of it is farfetched. But I guess that Dan Brown wasn’t exactly looking for the next historical correct masterpiece and focused more on the bestseller qualities; with millions of copies sold around the world he sure did a great job reaching a broad public. It’s not a mindblowingly good read, but if you are looking for a fast paced and entertaining read, The Da Vinci Code does fit the description.

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A phone call wakes symbologist Robert Langdon in the middle of the night after a lecture in Paris. The curator of the Louvre museum has been murdered and his body was found covered with symbols. The police found evidence supposedly incriminating Langdon, and they start a man hunt when Sophie Neveu, the curator’s granddaughter and cryptologist, forces Langdon to escape. They follow a trail of clues hidden by the curator, grand master  of the Priory of Sion, which according to the myth will lead to the Holy Grail. It is a desperate race that will lead the two main characters to cathedrals and castles throughout Europe while they try to uncover the truth… And their enemies are closer than they imagine.

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This novel by Dan Brown is without doubt an entertaining read and it shows in the millions of copies that have been sold ever since it was published. It’s not exactly the next literary masterpiece and I felt the story lacked some dept when it comes to character development and plot. Still, if you don’t focus too much on the details I’m sure you will end up enjoying The Da Vinci Code.