Inferno 3.5Apparently this kind of action/thriller just isn't my thing. There were many times I felt like I was listening to a Dante-esque version of...moreInferno 3.5Apparently this kind of action/thriller just isn't my thing. There were many times I felt like I was listening to a Dante-esque version of The Amazing Race (a TV show where contestants find clues that take them running frantically all over the world completing seemingly irrelevant tasks to get to the next clue.) Much of the action just confused and/or bored me. The plot was fascinating and the way the problem of over population was used in context with Dante's vision of Hell was definitely interesting. But Inferno repeatedly lost me in the erratic race from clue to clue. What really grabbed me about the story was the plausibility of a situation like the one described. Overpopulation is definitely a relevant issue today and many statistics online verify some of what was proposed in Inferno (I know this because I stopped reading to Google these statistics, this alone tells you how intriguing this book was.) It is terrifying to imagine what the wrong kind of scientist could release into the world in the hope of solving the population problem. The story was resolved in a way that I honestly didn't see coming. I am not scientifically inclined so I have no idea if what was being suggested is even possible, but it seemed logically sound and gave me something to think about and will likely spark a lively discussion with the best friend once she finishes reading it. The scenery was awesome! One thing that I enjoy about Dan Brown's books is that it explores many of the places that I would so love to go. That part of this story took place in the Hagia Sophia and in and around Istanbul made me quite happy! I hope that one day he writes a story that explores more of the art and history of Istanbul, there would certainly be enough material to work with as that whole area has such cultural significance. So, location was definitely a win in this story. The aspects that didn't work as well for me were the action sequences and the suspense surrounding the good guys and villains. Also, some of the twists were just too farfetched at times and there was so much running around that I often lost the thread of the story and found myself wondering what in the world Robert Langdon was even trying to accomplish. I will say that Langdon is much more committed to that type of chaos than I could ever be. I would have checked out the Hagia Sophia, wished everyone the best of luck, and went the hell home. The characters were okay. I didn't feel any significant connection with any of them but that could be because I never knew who was telling the truth. It was like a whole bunch of Snapes running around causing havoc and I wasn't sure why(Harry Potter reference) Several had compelling background stories but I had no idea if they were even the truth or was part of some super secret false identity. Ultimately, it was worth the read and presented topics that were worth thinking about. I suppose Dante would be somewhat pleased that he was featured in a book likely to become a blockbuster summer movie, but he might also have wished that it had been written by someone with a bit more literary style and finesse. I would recommend this to anyone who enjoyed The DaVinci Code or who likes gratuitous action and chaos in their thrillers.(less)
I love post apocalyptic and zombie books because I enjoy reading about how people can adapt and survive even the most unthinkable circumstances. In th...moreI love post apocalyptic and zombie books because I enjoy reading about how people can adapt and survive even the most unthinkable circumstances. In the After was a little post-apocalyptic thriller, a little zombie-ish, a little sci-fi alien invasion and a little bit dystopian. So many of the elements I enjoy wrapped up in one book, it's easy to see why I was so excited to read this and maybe why I had such high expectations for it.
I absolutely enjoyed the beginning of the book. The world building in the opening scenes painted a vivid picture of how quickly the world became a terrifying and dangerous place inhabited by creatures drawn to light and sound. I was fascinated by the way Amy and Baby had created a non-verbal way of communicating that was based on sign language but was adapted to work in their specific circumstances. I thought that the author did a great job creating a feeling of resignation and hopelessness in the characters but still that spirit to survive and persevere.
Where In the After fell short for me was in the second half, after Amy & Baby's "rescue". I spent most of the book feeling alternately confused and annoyed with the direction that the story seemed to be taking. The dystopic society that was created didn't seem entirely plausible and just felt loosely constructed. The interactions between the characters felt awkward and artificial, the romance wasn't believable, and most of the relationships felt forced. This was a bit of a disappointment since I had so enjoyed the world building in the beginning.
Ultimately, In the After was an okay read. I don't know if I will continue with the series since I didn't really like the direction the story went. However, I would still recommend it to fans of zombie, post apoc, sci fi, and dystopic themed books. (less)
The slow pace and effortless flow drew me into the story and unfolded the characters lives and personalities bit by bit while also entwining them all...moreThe slow pace and effortless flow drew me into the story and unfolded the characters lives and personalities bit by bit while also entwining them all together. Overall enjoyable read, nothing outstanding one way or another but definitely a story you can relax with. (less)
The Returned After watching that awesomely creepy book trailer for The Returned, I knew I had to read this! Unfortunately, for me, the book didn't qui...moreThe Returned After watching that awesomely creepy book trailer for The Returned, I knew I had to read this! Unfortunately, for me, the book didn't quite live up to the promise of the trailer. The story is kind of strange, as you would expect from a story about people returning from the dead, but it had the potential to be so much more than it was. The story reminds me of that show from some years back called The 4400 where people that had disappeared and were assumed dead began reappearing the same age they were when they left. This is exactly what happens in The Returned except those returning were definitely dead and buried, yet somehow they are back. Each chapter began with snippets of events throughout the world which highlighted the rising panic, mistrust of the returned, and the worldwide population problem this situation would present. I would have enjoyed seeing this explored further. However, most of the story's focus was on one small town where government authority, anti-government militia, and average citizen on both sides of the problem all come together. It took me over a week to plod through The Returned. One of the things didn't work for me is the same thing that always makes me lose interest in the story, a lack of connection to the characters. The premise was interesting enough, but I needed more than one dimensional characters to pull me into the story and make me feel any kind of way about it. Instead, I felt like I had read a news article discussing what happened with a few quotes from witnesses. I think that if there would have been more "showing" than telling, I could have enjoyed it more. As it was, the delivery was a bit flat, I didn't care about the characters, and so The Returned just didn't work for me. I have heard this was very quickly optioned for a TV series and I am interested to see how that pans out. I think this will translate much better to TV because the actors will be able to breathe life and personality into these characters on screen. Perhaps the right music and dramatic dialog will also add some nuance to what was, for me, a rather colorless story.(less)