Genre: Historical Fiction/Mystery
Number of Pages: 461
Publication Date: May 14, 2013
Rating: out of 5
Themes: Trust, Control
Harvard professor, Robert Langdon, wakes up and finds himself at a hospital in Italy without any recollection of the past two days. Before he knows it, he is being shot at without knowing the reason why. With the aide of Dr. Sienna, he escapes from the Italian military, for now. Unfortunately for him, this is just the beginning…
He embarks on a journey that surprisingly revolves around Dante’s Inferno to solve a hidden…but deadly…message. But, question is – can he solve in time?
Told in alternating perspectives, the reader is given several pieces to a puzzle that may seem disjointed. However, within time, Brown weaves the storylines together in a way that leaves the reader gaping at the results.
The story was very well-written and well thought-out. It is clear that the author spent a lot of time researching to compile something so unique. By far, my favorite aspect of the book was when everything started to line up and the pieces started to come together.
Though the ending did bring everything together, I did have a difficult time immersing myself into the story for the first third of the book. One of the biggest reasons is not having the chance to get to know Robert very much. Even though there were exciting events occurring (Robert’s amnesia, being chased and shot by the police, etc.), there wasn’t much background information. If I can’t get to know a character, then I have a hard time liking and appreciating him/her. And if I can’t appreciate him/her, then most times I have a difficult time enjoying the read. As the story progressed, this did become better and I was able to become more acquainted with Robert.
There was also information overload that took away from the story. As a reader, I love to learn while I read, but if I am given a plethora amount of random facts about this building or that bridge, then there is little chance that I will retain most of them. It got to a point where I started to care less about the story and the outcome and more about just finishing the book. I actually considered giving up on the read altogether more than once.
Lastly, I found Brown’s constant twists and turns a bit much. I love when mysteries can be the opposite of what you expect and keep you on your toes. But, there is a limit. In Inferno, having the characters going to so many places, cities, and even countries so often took away from the main storyline. It just makes the story seem unrealistic and almost comedic, which I don’t feel is the intent of this read.
Overall, I somewhat enjoyed Inferno, but it wasn’t a favorite of mine. The story could have easily been told in 200-300 pages rather than almost 500.