Also find this review here - Don't Stop Readin' 3.5 Stars
This could’ve been a 5-star book if not for Dan Brown’s monotonous writing, a few clichéd scenes and historical basis not as interesting as Angels & Demons
or Da Vinci Code
, in my opinion has been Brown’s most thoughtful work yet. The topic most regarded in this book –overpopulation and its effects – will really make you stop and worry about the world and its future for a moment.
The whole book’s outer premise is inspired by Dante’s The Divine Comedy
. In the first 120 pages or so, I doubted whether that was a good idea or not as I did not find myself getting involved in the story.
It starts with Langdon waking up in a hospital with no recollection of last 2 days events and he was required to solve a mystery within next 24 hours - with a beautiful companion, of course – half of which he had already solved but did not remember.
A part of this has been Brown’s concept in all of his books and I found myself getting vexed of it in the beginning itself but after a while when the chasing and hunting began, it became a lot more compelling. I like the thrill-ride that his books provide, the story starts moving at such a pace that you just can’t put the book down.
The part that I’ve always enjoyed in Brown’s books is when Langdon and his accomplice decrypt secret codes and discover mysterious pathways – all of which in this book were based on the mentioned poem. When I compare them to the alluring quest of Angels & Demons
, I do not find them intriguing enough but they were intriguing all the same.
The mystery of this book does not hold any water, though. It is right before our eyes and anyone can guess it with ease. I think Dan Brown should just stick to a thriller format and not bother with a suspense, that would suit him more because it gets disappointing every time to predict the twist yourself . Apart from this, the other thing I did not like at all was *sighs* the writing. Langdon travels to world’s most wondrous cities and monuments but I don’t understand the way he describes them. The astoundingly gorgeous buildings like St. Mark’s Basilica, Palazzo Vecchio etc he enters are elucidated in such a manner that I cannot form their image in my mind. I have to use Google every time he mentions something of importance. That is very aggravating.
But the sub-plot, as I had spoken of is very thoughtful. First, when the concept of Denial is introduced, it will perk up your interest and second, there is a conversation between the two characters where Langdon’s lady friend asked him this and I’ve been pondering over it since - “If you could throw a switch and randomly kill half the population on earth, would you do it?…What if you were told that if you didn’t throw that switch right now, the human race would be extinct in the next hundred years?”
Along with this, there are several pensive issues brought up in this story including the surprising ending that will convince you of that yes, this time Dan Brown has reached out and applied some effort so he could be considered a serious author. He is not among my favourites but he is someone whose books I will always look forward to.