Thursday, 20 June 2013

Inferno by Dan Brown: A Review

The Story

When Harvard symbologist and professor Robert Langdon wakes up in a hospital bed in a

foreign country, he realizes with dread that he doesn’t recall anything over the past few days.

He still thinks he’s in America and doesn’t understand why someone is trying to kill him. He

has suffered a head wound and seems to be apologizing for something he has done. In order to

escape the woman who is trying to kill him, a young doctor named Sienna Brooks helps him

and together, they try to decipher a object hidden in Langdon’s coat.

As they are chased around Florence, Langdon and Brooks seem to be cornered as they try to

figure out the message the mysterious object is leading them to. Langdon knows the only way

to save their skins is to get to the bottom of this mystery, this mystery filled with images of hell

straight out of Dante’s Inferno. At the same time, the answers they are slowly uncovering show

that the situation is far graver and far more dangerous than Langdon ever thought possible.

The Standouts

Reality. This can go both ways—it can be a letdown or a standout. If like me, you prefer fiction

where you don’t have to think about the problems of the world or as Brown accuses his main

character of in the beginning: you are in denial, then you would not consider this a standout. If,

however, you appreciate reality in your fiction, then this would definitely be a plus for you. The

main problem in Dan Brown’s Inferno is overpopulation. Though this may not be a pressing

concern for those living in the first world, it is definitely not news in the Philippines. In fact,

with the RH Bill debates, you can even say it’s old hat. But the problem of overpopulation

becomes quite real and frightening in this novel. Filipinos will not be able to close their eyes

to the reality that it is the cause of almost all our country’s problems today. And as explained

in the novel, you will definitely see that there is a need for a solution NOW. And you might

even agree that it might be something much stronger than an RH Law.

The controversy. Nothing makes for bigger sales than a controversy, and this book became the

reason for a big local issue because it mentions Manila as “The Gates of Hell.” First of all, it

does paint a horrible picture of Manila. It is why, after all, Sienna Brooks realized that

something must be done about overpopulation or else the world will end up like the

Philippines. Insulting? Maybe not. First of all, it is true. Everyone knows it’s not exactly safe for

anyone to walk the streets, much more enter a crowded squatters’ area if you are young, blonde,

beautiful, and alone. The trauma Sienna experienced in Manila is something that can really

happen, and for that, the proper response shouldn’t be outrage at the author but action—action

to fix what’s wrong with our country. Complaining and wanting it to be painted in a better light

when it clearly has these problems is just another case of denial.

The twists. Dan Brown is the master of the twist. In fact, if you have read his other books, you

would expect it. The way he handled them in this novel will make you wonder what you were

thinking as you read past chapters and how he was able to delude you into believing

something else. The twists make the read worthwhile.

Art and history. This too can go either way. It can bore you because it gets in the way of the

action, but the allure of Brown’s novels is how he makes architecture, art, and history real while

you join Langdon on his adventures. But sometimes, you wish there were photos in the book to

show you just how beautiful it all is.

The Letdowns

Repetitions. There is a video that is described in the book. In the beginning, it is described in

detail and then it is described again, and again, and again. When you are reading about it the

third time (or the fifth), you start to wonder if the author wants you to memorize exactly how

the video runs or if he has a word count he must reach. Because really, you will be tempted to

say, “Mr. Brown, I am paying attention, you know. No need to repeat yourself.”

#From YAHOO #

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