A bit late to the party but I have just finished reading Dan Brown’s ‘Inferno’. From what I gather it is based off of Dante’s ‘Divine Comedy’ which features prominently in the novel, providing clues for Robert Langdon to follow. ‘Inferno’ is very much like Dan Brown’s other books, with the exploration of certain cities, their artistic history and symbolism while battling against someone bent against Langdon succeeding. This time however, Brown tries to do something different by giving Langdon amnesia. This enables Langdon, and by extension the reader, to go through the mystery from start to finish, while also adding a sense of confusion, clues and characters that Langdon has already discovered and met. Providing a lead so to speak.
Langdon’s side-kick in this book is Sienna Brooks, a supposed genius at a vast number of things. As Inferno progresses however Brown seems to forget she is a genius, instead making her an actress and leaving Langdon to be the clever one of the pair. Very little character development had occurred with Langdon over his series of books, and at the end of this, he is still very much the same person he was at the beginning of ‘Angels and Demons’, just a bit more of a Mary-Sue perhaps. His relationship with Vittoria from that book has long since been forgotten, along with a supposed love of Sophie Neveu from ‘Da Vinci Code’. Nor is there any mention of his past adventures, which would have made this novel a bit more believable.
The last part of ‘Inferno’ is a confusion of twists, so much so that is takes a while to work out on whose side everyone is. Some of the twists are more believable than others, with some seeming hardly realistic at all. It is almost as if Dan Brown realised he needed to wrap up all the plot strands and so did it pretty much all at once.
Despite these criticisms, the rest of the novel is really good. I did not find it hard at all to keep reading. The mystery is well thought through and the research is impeccable. Not to mention the art historian in me quivered in delight every time a place of piece of artwork I have seen was mentioned. It made the story jump out at me. Overall, if a novel driven by plot, where everything revolved around the mystery, is for you, then I would highly recommend this. If you prefer character development, then perhaps not.