Wednesday, May 29, 2013

The inevitable fluff

Aieeee! A new novel by Dan Brown! What is it about this time? Will DB give us a virtual travelogue of a historic European city again? Will the Harvard professor hit up with another troubled female character? Will there be twists again, but far less engaging than the last novel? Will it shallowly touch on a current social issue? Yes, yes, yes, and yes.

Inferno is still very much formula. Puzzle, chase, twist, and revelation. And, like any typical DB novel, Inferno is peppered with lots of trivia. But fortunately, readers are familiar with a caveat: DB can get some of his facts wrong. I didn't bother with the fact checking though. It's fiction, and it's the type that you read to while away a lazy afternoon. You don't finish a DB novel and feel differently. As for me, I just muttered, "Well, that's that. I need a drink."

This time, the novel opens with Robert Langdon in a hospital in Florence. But wait, he has amnesia! (Again, I will drink to that! If I were Langdon, I'd be grateful that I couldn't remember anything. Now pass me that vodka!) What follows is one crazy escape scene after another. (Get me that brandy!) And then we find out that they're after a ticking biological disaster, one so incredulous for posing that it has the potential to wipe a third of the human race. Oy!

I wonder why DB even bothered with the more than 100 chapters in this 400-page novel. There's this one chapter toward the latter part wherein everything is explained to Langdon. Goodness, all those wasted pages! The trees! And it's ironic that the novel somehow talks about how there'll come a time when our planet's resources wouldn't be able to support us all.

And what's the deal with all these women that Langdon meets? There's practically a new potential romantic interest every time. Is Langdon the intellectual James Bond? But make no mistake, Langdon doesn't shag these women. I guess he's too intellectual for that as well, no? (Where's that gin tonic?) In Inferno, the unfortunate female lead is really unfortunate. I can't even remember her name.

There's a bit about Manila in this novel, which somehow caused a controversy in this side of the world. 6-hour traffic jam to get from one point to another in the city? Please. It's just 2 hours at the most. 3 may be pushing it, but still possible. Also, Manila is not the kind of city where one gets raped just because he or she made eye contact with the local male population. Whatever.

Okay, what I've written so far seems to be some sort of a rant. Now let me get to a positive note. Inferno is still, ummm, enjoyable. Very much so. It's the kind of book that you pick up and realize that, after reading it for 3 hours straight, a third of your brain cells have died. Enjoyable indeed, especially if you have a stiff drink to wash away all the fluff.

Read this book if:
  1. You like Googling the places DB writes about.
  2. You love formula. 
  3. Whatever.


Stepford Mum said...

Peter, you crack me up! I laughed so much reading this review that I'm now that much more interested in reading the book.

Peter S. said...

Let me know what you think of this book, Stepford Mum!

Monique said...

Chuckles at the I-need-a-drink comments! :))

Dan Brown got his city wrong. It's not in Manila where people get raped by doing, well, nothing. It's in Delhi.

Louize Gonzales said...

"It's the kind of book that you pick up and realize that, after reading it for 3 hours straight, a third of your brain cells have died. Enjoyable indeed, especially if you have a stiff drink to wash away all the fluff."

LOL. I'll ready my drinks then, I don't drink gin tonic though. But I'll read this when the hype has died down a bit.

Lynai said...

This is on top of my to-read-asap list! And I love how you talked about the trees! Haha. :))

Peter S. said...

Hello, Monique! LOL!

Hi, Louize! Yes, good idea.

Hello, Lynai! Thanks!

Ryan said...

Reading a Dan Brown novel is the funnest way to kill off a bazillion brain cells. We all know what were are getting with him, and desptie the badness of it all, it's still impossible to not read.

Reymos said...

Honestly, I enjoyed reading the book and much better than the Lost Symbol. Maybe because I visited the main location of the story and it reminded me of my best trips in Europe especially Florence! Like your review though...

Peter S. said...

Hi, Ryan! LOL! Indeed!

Hello, Reymos! Thanks!