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491 of 547 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Scavenger Hunt with Robert Langdon
I like a good scavenger hunt, and what Mr Brown basically does is this: Turn it into a novel. The fourth Langdon is still nice fun, and here is a recommendation for those who enjoy the genre: A Suitcase Full Of Blood (Berlin Noir) is very exciting and also incredibly funny.

The Lost Symbol was not so great, let's be honest, but Robert Langdon is back on track...
Published 18 months ago by Amazon Customer

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628 of 733 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars LITERAL ADDICTION's Review of Inferno
Our Review, by LITERAL ADDICTION's Pack Alpha - Michelle L. Olson:

I'm a Dan Brown fan... I've read all of his works, not just the Robert Langdon series - Digital Fortress is probably my favorite work of his. Anyway, being a fan, I was excited to hear that he was coming out with a new book, had Inferno pre-ordered, and actually waited up until after midnight on...
Published 19 months ago by LITERAL ADDICTION


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491 of 547 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Scavenger Hunt with Robert Langdon, May 31, 2013
I like a good scavenger hunt, and what Mr Brown basically does is this: Turn it into a novel. The fourth Langdon is still nice fun, and here is a recommendation for those who enjoy the genre: A Suitcase Full Of Blood (Berlin Noir) is very exciting and also incredibly funny.

The Lost Symbol was not so great, let's be honest, but Robert Langdon is back on track now. Medieval literature, historic intrigue, ancient symbols (of course, what else would Langdon be there for), a secret organization and lots of codes are this book's basic elements. The best part of it (in every sense) is set in Florence, birth place of poet Dante Alighieri. Langdon has got a new "assistant" in form of a clever and energetic female doctor. A sinister organization wants to kill them before they find out about the hidden clues in paintings and artefacts connected to Dante's Inferno. Classic Brown and a rollercoaster for his fans - but just for them.

If there is something I have to criticise, it would be that Brown put a bit too much into it. Sometimes the book almost turns into a tourist guide, and not only that: In addition to the medieval theme it's about biological terrorism, there are scifi elements and the idea of a new world order. Trying a bit too hard here to be exciting, I think, and eventually landing on the slightly absurd side. But we shouldn't think too much about it, there are other writers for that.
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416 of 475 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars As entertaining as all other Dan Brown books, May 27, 2013
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I just finished reading Inferno (I pre-ordered the Kindle version for $9.99 but now I see the price has increased - shame on Amazon or whoever is to blame for charging so much for an e-book!) and was not disappointed.

I know people are getting tired of the repetitive formula (not me), but in my opinion, if you want to read an entertaining book, turn to Dan Brown. If you want to read literature or something with more substance, then go for Jumpa Lahiri or other award-winning authors, because Dan Brown is not about to win any literary prizes any time soon. I bet many prize winners would love to have half of Brown's books sales, though.

And don't get me wrong: I love Mr. Brown's books and have read them all many times because they are so entertaining. I don't see that there's a problem with an autor using a formula that has worked well for him before. I mean, Ken Follett tends to do the same thing in a few of his books, and I've never seen him get any heat for it, so why pick on Dan Brown?

Anyway, this is basically Brown's formula: Langdon gets himself sucked into a situation to which he was called to provide his expert opinion; suddenly everything gets complicated and goes global; he finds himself traveling around the world looking for clues and gets to run around with an attractive woman at some point. That's his basic premise.

What's different about Inferno? Not much, really, except this time it's all about Dante's Divine Comedy and not the Bible or Da Vinci's works. However, the premise behind the whole thing is rather interesting and forward-looking , instead of just reflecting on the clues left by artists of the past, so it was definitely a page-turner for me and I thoroughly enjoyed it. And, if you think his previous books were radical, I think you'll agree they look tame compared to this one.

If you are going to over-analyze Brown's skills as an author, then you'll truly dislike this book. If you take the book for what it is, an easy, entertaining, enjoyable read, then you'll get the most out of it.
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628 of 733 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars LITERAL ADDICTION's Review of Inferno, May 15, 2013
Our Review, by LITERAL ADDICTION's Pack Alpha - Michelle L. Olson:

I'm a Dan Brown fan... I've read all of his works, not just the Robert Langdon series - Digital Fortress is probably my favorite work of his. Anyway, being a fan, I was excited to hear that he was coming out with a new book, had Inferno pre-ordered, and actually waited up until after midnight on release day so I could start it immediately keeping the next day free of commitments so I could dedicate it to reading. Sadly, the only thought that kept running through my head while reading was "Oh Dan, where is the heart!!?" :-/

I like Brown's writing style despite the harsh critique it's received. I enjoy how his books are layered with codes and mysteries, how they're incredibly fast-paced & often surprising, & how he takes facts and then pulls and twists them like taffy as far as they'll go without breaking to turn them into riveting fiction.

I don't even mind the repeated format within the Robert Langdon series - professor and expert on symbology and iconography finds himself embroiled in the middle of a high-stakes mystery, teams up with an attractive, smart and capable foreign woman who helps fill in the gaps and challenges him, and the two cement alliances, skirt villains, and undergo a hair raising adventure to save the world's (or the world itself).

With all that said, Inferno just fell flat for me. It had the expected format as mentioned above. It had the twisted facts as also mentioned above. What it didn't have was any of the action packed thrills and gasp inducing surprises I've come to know and love in Dan Brown's books. In addition, those style critiques I mentioned were very evident in this book to me, where I hadn't even noticed them before: foreign languages used during dialogue - a lot of times without clarification leaving holes for those of us who don't speak fluent Italian or Latin, references that make no sense - a train of thought referral to Dutch city where MC Escher lived (who cares if that's where the artist lived, it has no bearing in the story & took 3 sentences to tell!), simile & hyperbole used in the weirdest of places without much order, etc.

I wanted to love this book. I really, really did, especially given my fascination with and deep appreciation for Dante and all of the other art and literature his Divine Comedy spawned, but alas I just couldn't, and am giving my very first ever 2 Skull review. *sigh*
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59 of 67 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Repetitious & tedious, June 5, 2013
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Interesting thesis poorly contrived and realized. Multiple points of view rehash information to the point of tedium. Reads more like a travel guide of Italy and Istanbul rather than a novel, drowning the reader in historical, architectural, and irrelevant (to the story) details. Then it spins out of control with a twist so fantastic it is unbelievable, before racing to its multifaceted conclusion that drags on and on. Read it for the history -- the art, the architectural descriptions -- maybe. Glimpses of a compelling plot are there, but rare.
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184 of 219 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Sunk in Venice, May 25, 2013
By 
Lee (Boksburg, South Africa) - See all my reviews
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I've read all the Dan Brown books and enjoyed all of them, I looked forward to the release of "Inferno" and as soon as I'd downloaded the book I started reading. What a disappointment, the whole book is a chase of one sort or another and of endless repetition by Dan Brown.

We, the readers are treated almost like forgetful fools, who need constant reminding of what motivates each character in the book, every time we return to a character we are told what that person had been thinking in each of his or her previous appearances this, coupled with Langdon's constant wanderings into past presentations to awed audiences, his understanding of the hidden meanings in symbols at inappropriate times (these usually happen when he is fleeing for his life from the baddies, all in black.) It leaves an impression that Mr. Brown was battling with his book, that he was looking for ways to add words, paragraphs and chapters to get to a decent number of pages so as to justify publication.

For an author of Dan Brown's calibre this is very sad, I will not be purchasing anymore of his novels.
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18 of 18 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars A really, really, really bad book, July 12, 2013
This review is from: Inferno (Hardcover)
Inferno is not really a novel. Indeed, one might suggest that Dan Brown has invented a new writing form--the 500-page travel brochure. As other reviewers have noted, the problems with this book are enormous, so I won't dwell on them here. I will note, however, two problems that Brown should have learned in Creative Writing 101. First, effective fiction shows rather than tells. Brown shows nothing and tells everything to the point of boring pedantry. If the reader also happens to know Dante's Divine Comedy and to have some familiarity with Florence and Venice, the pedantry overwhelms. I'm not being elitist here: As Brown himself acknowledges, Venice hosts more than 20 million tourists a year. Second, a work of fiction--no matter how imaginative--must resonate with the reader on some level. That is, readers must connect, somehow, with the characters. An example that I often use to illustrate this point is science fiction. Good science fiction is not really about space ships and aliens; it is about human relationships and human truths. These truths provide an element of reality in even the most fictional of fiction. There is nothing even approaching this element in Inferno. The characters have no chemistry and no appeal. They are about as realistic as those headless mannequins in department stores. Adding to the lack of realism is a plodding plot line that is as believable as the Easter bunny. The characters need no food, drink, or sleep. They never need to use the toilet. Remarkable.

In sum, DO NOT READ THIS HORRIBLE BOOK.
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110 of 130 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars tortured prose, June 14, 2013
This review is from: Inferno (Hardcover)
"Inferno" reads like a series of Wikipedia entries but with even less wit, charm, and literary merit (not to mention factual accuracy.) Dan Brown apparently writes his novels by skimming through a few guide books and encyclopedia articles and coming up with a bunch of "neat facts" that he hopes to stitch into something resembling a coherent plot. Unfortunately, this time even coherence is lost as he takes us on a lightning greatest hits tour through Italy and beyond. Why does Professor Langdon wake up with amnesia in a hospital in Florence? Why does he flee with the beautiful Sienna to Venice, where he must explore the nether reaches of St. Mark's Cathedral? Why not Des Moines or Oakland? The pursuit of the evil genius at the heart of this book could just as easily have led them to these less picturesque cities, but then no one would have read the book. In fact the presence of the Harvard professor of Symbology (is this a real academic field?) seems completely gratuitous. Brown justifies these improbable elements by transforming his villain into a Dante aficionado who drops clues that only someone with Langdon's expertise can decode. Perhaps in Dan Brown's next book the villain will be a baseball fan, posing stat-filled puzzles that only an intrepid Nate Silver can decipher.

One of the most peculiar things is how ignorant this Harvard professor is of basic art history. He is constantly surprised by facts known to anyone who has ever taken a basic art history course, and when Brown tries to establish the great man's bona fides by showing him in front of a spellbound audience, Langdon spouts cliches worthy of a college sophomore whose knowledge extends only to the Cliff Notes. Annoyingly, Brown insists on giving us little potted lectures on every tourist attraction his heroes come across, offering up his banalities as if they were pearls of great wisdom.

Worse still, this is about the most ham-fisted, clunky, and lifeless prose ever inflicted on an unsuspecting public. How many times do we have to read that so-and-so's eyes "flashed with anger"? Or that the professor is handsome and 6 feet tall (we know he's handsome because Brown lets us listen in on thoughts of all his female characters who confess to themselves how irresistibly attractive they find him)? Or that his companion is "pretty," "slender" and has an IQ of 208? Brown has nothing else to say about his characters, who remain completely without personality or inner motivation.

Why do so many people fall for this stuff? There are plenty of popular writers who know how to craft a compelling, fast-paced story with vivid characters and real suspense (Stephen King and Thomas Harris come to mind), but Dan Brown doesn't even rise to the level of basic competence. His continued success is a mystery more perplexing than anything he's conjured in the pages of his latest potboiler.
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27 of 29 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars fun facts, too much propaganda, July 3, 2013
I really enjoyed the first two books, they had great and powerful villains, twists and inventive plot lines. It feels as though this book has no villain, everyone is a good guy. The twists feel contrived, there is no denouement. It feels like he combined a pamphlet on overpopulation with Fodor's guide to Italy.
While I always enjoy his backgrounds and informative asides and the tours of places I will probably never see, this book was not satisfying. The finale felt like a throw-away script, there was no resolution, and it all felt like all the main characters ended the book saying something to the effect of, oh, well, maybe next time. I enjoyed the first two as they pulled and re-imagined history, this has none of that, just a quick and dirty tour of Italy.

Not recommended.
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465 of 564 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars An Italian Tour And a Turkey, May 18, 2013
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Unfortunately, Amazon does not allow "no stars," which is what this book deserves. Had this book been written by a first time author with no travel budget and no access to a team of editors and researchers, it might rate two stars. But this is Dan Brown, author of one of the best selling novels of all time! I want my money back and additional dollars for pain and suffering!

Brown's hero, Robert Langdon, wakes up with amnesia in Florence, Italy. He is told he has been shot in the head. The villain is so amazingly similar to Lisbeth Salander of The Girl with the Dragon Tatoo series it is truly shocking. Thin? Check! Black spiky hair? Check! Motorbike? Check! Leather? Check! Gun? Check. This Salandar clone is employed by a mysterious character called the Provost who works for anyone who can pay and he will do whatever they want and ask no questions. In this case (or at least on this page) the person who employed the Provost wants to stop Langdon from discovering his evil plot. Langdon, in the hospital, has no idea where he is or why but is plagued (pun here) with visions of a beautiful older woman with silver hair.

Within minutes of awakening in the hospital, the chase is on. The female, spiky haired villain shoots a doctor on her way to catch Langdon and, unbelievable as you may find it, ... Langdon escapes, joined by an attractive young female doctor he met two minutes before. Langdon and Sienna (the beautiful blonde physician) spend the first half of this book being pursued by various factions in black clothes driving black cars with blacked out windows. They find hidden passages, overcome locked doors, hide behind sculptures and paintings, outrun helicopter tracking drones, discover ancient caverns and on and on and on, always on the brink of being captured but always managing to make it in the nick of time as pages are taken up describing various paintings, sculptures, fountains, passageways, artists, Florentine history, and lots and lots and lots of Dante's Inferno.

The plot, thin though it may be, is this: an eccentric billionaire, concerned about the survival of Earth due to overpopulation, has planted a quick acting virus in an unknown location which is about to be unleashed on an unsuspecting world. Having gone to great trouble to perfect this virus and hide it away, this genius has, for some inexplicable reason, left multiple clues over much of Italy, using passages from Dante's Inferno as a guide to help Langdon and Sienna foil his plans. Why would he do this? Excellent question. Perhaps because the clues are shaky ground beneath Langdon and Sienna as they run hither and yon with no sleep and no food deciphering oblique clues as they stay one step ahead of the men and women in black?

Now, Langdon, remember, was in the hospital with a supposed bullet wound to the head only hours before and he is now leaping tall buildings in a single bound, racing ahead of superior enemies, outwitting them at every turn, even though he can't remember anything that happened yesterday and has no idea why he is in Italy or how he got there.

It's possible this book might have had a slender plot lifeline if some third party held hostage by the nefarious genius had risked life and limb to leave clues behind in hopes that someone would find them and stop the release of the virus. But, then again, the hostage would have to hope that some person who had made a lifetime study of Dante's Inferno would find these clues and be able to decipher their meaning. I read this book twice (hazardous duty pay) because I couldn't believe it was as bad as I thought. But, yes, it was just as dreadful the second time.

On the outside chance that anyone reading this review would actually buy this book, it would be a shame to point out more of the many, many twists and turns that take place at the end of this book, some of which had me laughing out loud. Conceivably, the end could have been cut and pasted to the beginning and vice versa and it would not have made a tremendous difference. Awful? Let me count the ways.
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187 of 225 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars The DaVinci Code 4, June 5, 2013
Instead of reading any more Dan Brown books, I'm just going to complete the following "Mad Lib" with my sister. Feel free to play along.

UNTITLED DAN BROWN BOOK MAD LIB

1) a number ______
2) month that has at least 28 days __________________
3) adverb that denotes stress ____________________
4) pick a European city...any European city _______________________
5) title given to a respected educator or professional _____________________
6) first name ___________________________
7) pretentious last name (bonus points if synonym for "Brown") _______________________
8) prestigious museum or institute located in city chosen for #4 __________________________
9) famous work of an artistic or religious nature _____________________
10) any old secret organization or cult you feel like picking on this week _________________________
11) social or political cause du jour __________________________
12) adverb that indicates someone is an idiot ____________________
13) founding member of christianity and/or a member of Aerosmith ______________________
14) a bad way for humanity to come to end ___________________________________
15) list 5 cities in the world you've ever wanted to visit___________________________________
16) list 10 works of art/literature connected to or presently located in the cities from #15 __________________________
17) a number less than 48 ______________
18) a fraction ______________
19) a person with a genetic malformity ___________________
20) a number over 100 ____________
21) word that means "all" or "every" (feel free to use either or both) ______________
22) activity that humans do just because they like to or want to ________________________
23) nonsensical word that means "pretty swell" _______________________

-------------------------------------------------------------

ROBERT LANGDON, #___ (1)

Late one night in _________(2), Robert Langdon finds himself _____________ (3) running through the streets of ______________(4) having recently been contacted by _________________ (5) ____________ (6) _____________________ (7) of the _____________________________(8). ________________ (6) has contacted Langdon to decipher clues discovered in _______________________ (9). Before he has a chance to fully devote his attention to the task at hand, a fanatic from the __________________________(10) attacks Langdon and his host, revealing a conspiracy to violently end ____________________________(11). Although Langdon has fallen victim to this same plot twist numerous times and by the same formulaic plot and characters, he once again _______________(12) follows a new sidekick who will ultimately betray Langdon and/or turn out to be the last descendent of _______________________(13). In the process of saving everyone from __________________(14), Langdon visits ______________________________________________________(15) and sees ___________________________________(16). Within less than _________(17) hours, Langdon manages to solve __________ (18) riddles, be nearly killed by ____________________(19), and mentions his Mickey Mouse watch at least ________(20) times. Meanwhile, the reader has seen pretty much ____________(21) plot twist or surprise thrown his/her way. And at no point does Langdon ever _____________________(22). In the end, Langdon returns to Harvard knowing that symbols are truly ____________________________(23).

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So there it is. The "formula" (which is what I hope Brown names his next Langdon book). If we're lucky, it will also have at least 100 chapters, each one ending on a note that makes us think of SNL's Really!?! with Seth and Amy skits.

I haven't read The Lost Symbol, but that book must have been horrendous considering how many reviews of this one that start out by saying, "At least it was better than his last book..." (OFFICIALLY NEVER READING THE LOST SYMBOL)

Good night, and may you not wake up with amnesia in Italy tomorrow.
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Inferno: A Novel
Inferno: A Novel by Dan Brown (Audio CD - May 14, 2013)
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