Jane's Reviews > Inferno

Inferno by Dan Brown
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Aug 13, 13

bookshelves: b3r, fiction
Read from July 31 to August 12, 2013

CHAPTER 1

Obscure reviewer Jane Steen sat in her modest study in cozy suburban Illinois and stared with horror at the object she held in her hands. Measuring nine-and-a-half by six-and-a-quarter by one-and-a-half inches, the object was encased in a shiny substance the overweight reviewer knew to be plastic.

A book of some kind.

To the little known reader’s brilliant mind and eidetic memory, identifying the book was a simple task. The labels affixed to the spine proclaimed its origin: the library. It was adorned with the terrifying profile of a red-cheeked man in a red cap and red cloak, surmounted by a series of concentric circles.

Red . . . The color of blood. And those circle things look like a target.

The reviewer’s hands trembled as her fingers traced the bold lettering on the book’s cover. “DAN BROWN . . . INFERNO.”

I have to review this?!

The reviewer knew that Dan Brown (born June 22, 1964) is an American author of thriller fiction who is best known for the 2003 bestselling novel, The Da Vinci Code. Brown's novels are treasure hunts set in a 24-hour period, and feature the recurring themes of cryptography, keys, symbols, codes, and conspiracy theories. His books have been translated into 52 languages, and as of 2012, sold over 200 million copies. Two of them, The Da Vinci Code and Angels & Demons, have been adapted into films.

I copied that straight out of Wikipedia.

CHAPTER 2

I am holding Inferno by Dan Brown and I have to review it, the plump, somewhat scruffily dressed, middle-aged woman recapped. Terror made her nauseous, but she bravely looked at her Goodreads updates to refresh her memory, reading the scathing comments she had left only days ago on the popular readers’ Web site.

Dan Brown is going to kill me!

The female reviewer recalled that Dan Brown is currently the twentieth highest selling author of all time and with only six books, he has achieved these sales writing fewer books than anyone above him on the list. The Robert Langdon series is currently the seventh highest selling series of all time.

Like Dan Brown, I do most of my research on the Web. Not the Internet. Dan Brown likes to talk about the Web. It sounds more . . . spidery.

The married reviewer felt an instant spark of attraction toward the sandy-haired author, who always seems to be wearing a tweed jacket in his photo shoots.

Could he be Robert Langdon in disguise?

CHAPTER 3

Overreacting wildly, the obscure critic overreacted for a few minutes, then got a grip on herself and scanned her updates. She noted that renowned author Dan Brown tends to get his tenses confused, loves to put identifiers in front of his characters’ names, and is inordinately fond of ellipses and loud punctuation such as exclamation points, question marks and interrobangs.

Why is that?!

Oh yes, and he loves italics, which pop up all over the place, not always readily identifiable with one particular character.

CHAPTER 4

The practically unknown reviewer picked up her copy of Inferno by Dan Brown, scanning its mysterious cover with the picture of the sage she now knew to be internationally famous poet Dante (c. 1265–1321), who was a major Italian poet of the Middle Ages. His Divine Comedy, originally called La Comedia and later called Divina by Boccaccio, is widely considered the greatest literary work composed in the Italian language and a masterpiece of world literature.

Gad, I love Wikipedia.

She remembered that bestselling author Dan Brown frequently recaps the previous action near the beginning of a chapter, and that his bestselling prose is scattered with information dumps so densely constituted that they resemble the excreta of the famed Friesian horse, a creature mentioned in the bestselling novel Inferno.

The reviewer’s eidetic memory roamed over the plot. She recalled that Robert Langdon, granite-jawed Harvard professor of symbology and art historian specializing in iconography, wakes up in Florence to find that he remembers nothing, people are apparently trying to kill him, and he is carrying a suggestively shaped container that contains a mysterious object. He is helped by pretty blonde ponytailed genius-IQd Sienna Brooks, who has the hots for him. And his confused memories recall a mysterious silver-haired attractive older woman who wants him to seek and find, and who undoubtedly will have the hots for him too.

Meanwhile, on the mysterious ship The Mendacium, facilitator Knowlton has just watched a video that is more terrifying than the most terrifying thing you can possibly imagine.

Dan Brown is fond of making his characters react with terror in the hope that the reader will also be terrified?

What is this book?!


CHAPTER 5

“Ah yes!” the clinically obese woman derided, not knowing that “deride” must have an object. She recalled that most of the plot of Inferno consisted of Langdon and Sienna running around famous tourist spots finding clues, while being chased by a leather-clad woman who turns out to be superfluous to the plot, a bleeding strangely dressed man who also, honestly, didn’t have much of a role except to increase dramatic tension, and some black-clad soldiers who weren’t really necessary either, except that they get to do all the dirty work like good little minions. As they pass various monuments, Langdon recalls large indigestible lumps of architectural and historical detail.

As the story lumbers to its end it picks up speed, with one quite nice bit of misdirection but otherwise the usual thriller fare of all the important stuff being packed into the last few pages so that the reader feels like a lot went on.

And then there was the ending . . .

CHAPTER 6

“I was outraged,” the reviewer recalled, outraged. How could everyone suddenly decide that the Evil Plan may, in fact, be a Jolly Good Thing? Why was the Evil Villain’s Number One not banged up in jail but instead allowed to work for the good guys?

And didn’t Dan Brown think through what he was proposing as Quite A Good Thing, Really?!

The reviewer ran her hands over the shiny cover of the bestselling novel Inferno by Dan Brown. She recalled that Langdon rides off smugly into the sunset of a brand new world without any thought for the social, economic, and religious consequences of what just happened. Not to mention the fact that a small bunch of white people take it upon themselves to re-engineer the fate of mankind without consulting the rest of the world.

And that’s supposed to be OK because they’re white, rich, and brilliant.

CHAPTER 7

The overweight woman gnashed her teeth dramatically and then, like renowned professor of symbology Robert Langdon, decided to settle down with a good book. Sensing it was time to wrap up her interminable review, there was one thought that still haunted her.

Dan Brown knows exactly what he’s doing.

The frequent recaps so the reader doesn’t lose his way . . . the italics that also serve as simplified reminders of what’s going on . . . the way the action takes place in tourist spots that are easily visited and quite easy to research . . . the very short chapters . . . the dropping of brand names . . .

He’s manipulating the Baby Boomers!?!

The reviewer realized that for an audience accustomed to a diet of CSI and the Discovery Channel, Dan Brown’s storytelling style is accessible and informative. Used to being given the potted version of history by talking heads as the camera zooms around in a dizzying series of filler shots, the average reader of Brown’s books will sink into a TV-induced-like stupor and, instead of thinking about the plot or the writing, will simply enjoy the experience and come back for more.

And that, thought the reviewer, is why Dan Brown is the novelist of the future.

Sensing it was time, really, to revert to a state of denial before that last thought took hold in her brain, the reviewer took one last look at the cover of the bestselling novel Inferno and sighed.

I can return it to the library and forget this ever happened . . .
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Reading Progress

06/13/2013 marked as: queued
07/31/2013 marked as: currently-reading
07/31/2013 page 7
1.0% "Hate to admit it, but the prologue wasn't bad."
07/31/2013 page 10
2.0% "I'm so happy they didn't shave Langdon's thick black hair to put in the stitches." 3 comments
07/31/2013 page 11
2.0% "I think wearing Harris tweed is a thing Anglophile Americans do rather than a thing Englishmen do."
07/31/2013 page 15
3.0% "Oh no, the interrobangs have begun. Four on this page." 6 comments
07/31/2013 page 17
3.0% "DB is also inordinately fond of question marks, exclamation marks and italics. Oh yeah, and ellipses..." 3 comments
07/31/2013 page 25
5.0% "The Evil Villain Lair is ludicrously high-tech and security-ridden." 2 comments
08/01/2013 page 28
6.0% ""The dawn air rustled, billowing his hospital gown, and Langdon felt cold air in places he knew he shouldn't."

My heart sings to imagine Tom Hanks doing an entire chase scene as a half-conscious Langdon in a hospital gown." 1 comment
08/03/2013 page 41
8.0% ""Belowdecks on the luxury vessel The Mendacium, facilitator Laurence Knowlton..." Renowed novelist Dan Brown loves to use identifiers in books such as bestselling 2013 release Inferno. Followed by another DB fave...the recap! Let's just go over that video again." 1 comment
08/03/2013 page 43
9.0% "Seriously? Knowlton's wetting his pants over a video showing a bag and a guy in a mask who talks like a nutjob? I'm guessing that 99.9% of evul minions would snort in derision, press the play button and look forward to their next paycheck. But no, we have to get the wuss..." 1 comment
08/03/2013 page 45
9.0% ""He was wearing the neighbor's Brioni suit, which fit remarkably well. Even the loafers were comfortable, and Langdon made a mental note to switch to Italian footwear when he got home." We interrupt this thriller to talk clothes! It just occurred to me that DB's books are the male version of chicklit." 8 comments
08/03/2013 page 45
9.0% ""'I am death?'" Sienna asked, looking troubled. "That's what it said, yes." "Okay...I guess that beats 'I am Vishnu, destroyer of worlds.'" The young woman had just quoted Robert Oppenheimer at the moment he tested the first atomic bomb. 1. This dialogue snippet is completely unnecessary. 2. It exists only to show that a) Sienna b) Langdon c) DB are super-erudite. 3. Therefore DB is a pompous, bombastic *&^%." 1 comment
08/03/2013 page 46
9.0% "Oh. Em. Gee. Langdon gets his initials hand-embroidered into the label of his Harris Tweed jacket. Now I must attend a DB event so I can get hold of his jacket and check the label."
08/03/2013 page 49
10.0% ""Slender and smooth, the polished metal cylinder was about six inches long and rounded at both ends, like a miniature torpedo." I'm sorry but I don't have the words to sufficiently express the mirth this sentence arouses in me, especially in light of Rachel's analysis of Langdon's statue penis fixation." 1 comment
08/03/2013 page 49
10.0% "Well, at least now I can recognize a biohazard symbol when I see one. Thanks, Professor Langdon."
08/03/2013 page 54
11.0% "Aaaand yes...Sienna has the hots for our granite-jawed hero. This is a sort of tweedy James Bond story, isn't it?" 2 comments
08/03/2013 page 55
11.0% "How does the biker chick keep her hair spiky inside a helmet?"
08/03/2013 page 56
12.0% "Langdon spends all his time wondering what the hell is happening and remembering he's very sorry about something while Sienna does the thinking. Very consistent with the movies, where Tom Hanks always looks like he has no clue what's going on."
08/03/2013 "In my head, Vayentha looks and talks like Ivana Humpalot in Austin Powers."
08/03/2013 page 64
13.0% "We now interrupt the action for a lecture on Dante. Ye gods, I'm never going to get to the end of this book. There's something to snark about on EVERY PAGE." 2 comments
08/04/2013 page 71
15.0% "Their chase vehicle is a tricycle... This is truly a nerd fantasy."
08/04/2013 page 73
15.0% "Why the brand advertising? Is DB being sponsored?"
08/04/2013 page 72
15.0% "He knows his visitor's exact age but not his name. ?!"
08/04/2013 page 79
17.0% "Gary Stu Langdon has a superpower - his eidetic memory! Not as exciting as muscles, but it'll have to do."
08/04/2013 page 81
17.0% "I note that Langdon is now an "art historian who specialized in iconography." I guess "professor of symbology" attracted too much ridicule."
08/04/2013 page 81
17.0% "During a tricycle chase (?!) Langdon recalls a lecture. As you do." 1 comment
08/04/2013 page 83
17.0% ""Langdon scanned the crowd. 'So tell me, do we have any authors here tonight?'

Nearly one-third of the hands went up. Langdon stared out in shock. Wow, either this is the most accomplished audience on earth, or this e-publishing thing is really taking off.'"

That, ladies and gentlemen, is Dan Brown making a joke."
08/04/2013 page 85
18.0% "I'm trying to imagine a modern audience gasping and groaning at Dante's vision of Hell.



Yawn, I mean *gasp*." 7 comments
08/05/2013 page 95
20.0% "Ohai lecture about the Medici.

And look! I managed to get through 10 pages without a single snark! Mostly because DB's writing quirks are the same all the time."
08/05/2013 page 98
21.0% ""The answer was too complex to decipher in her current delirious state, but she had no doubt where it had all begun. New York. Two years ago." WHY IS THAT IN ITALICS? Because DB LOVES italics almost as much as he loves interrobangs. Even when an entire chapter is in one character's POV i.e. we are in their head, they think in italics. I believe DB's editor just collects his/her paycheck and goes to lunch." 1 comment
08/05/2013 page 98
21.0% ""The epidemiology of epidemics"?!"
08/05/2013 page 102
22.0% "DB really doesn't like the Catholic Church, does he?" 1 comment
08/05/2013 page 102
22.0% ""Ah, yes!" the lanky man derided. The hapless author clearly does not know that "deride" is a transitive verb. Cue Inigo Montoya."
08/05/2013 page 117
25.0% "Oh dear, now we have DB talking about corral tunnels under the sea... that's CORAL, Danny. Does your editor hate you?"
08/05/2013 page 119
25.0% "Langdon and Sienna are running from the bad guys and Langdon takes time to critique the monuments of Florence. Truly the man is the biggest pompous ass I have ever encountered in fiction." 5 comments
08/06/2013 page 139
28.0% "Hang on. Dr. S is getting all upset about the villain's Evul Plan but has he actually told her what the plan is? Or is DB just trying to create tension by getting his characters to overreact as per usual? Same for Langdon & Sienna assuming a Huge Conspiracy from an image and an assassin--could just be that someone's trying to kill Langdon because he's a pompous ass." 1 comment
08/06/2013 page 139
28.0% "And as for the graphs, don't even get me started. A villain with a Powerpoint. It's so Austin Powers that I expect to see a model of a factory that makes models of factories next." 4 comments
08/06/2013 page 140
29.0% "Oh my goodness this villain is pure Austin Powers. This book is hilarious."
08/06/2013 page 142
29.0% ""Langdon and Sienna moved to the portal and peered out, seeing that they were currently perched above the Ponte Vecchio--the medieval stone bridge that serves as a pedestrian walkway...tourists were enjoying the market that has been held on the bridge since the 1400s. Today the vendors are mostly goldsmiths..."

a) WE ARE IN THE MIDDLE OF A FORKING CHASE.
b) We have dropped into the present tense.
c) Facepalm." 13 comments
08/06/2013 page 145
30.0% "If *(&^% Facilitator Knowlton recaps that %@!$%&** video one more time I will start screaming SOYLENT GREEN IS PEOPLE.

Perhaps I should put down the book for a while *pant pant*" 2 comments
08/06/2013 page 154
32.0% "Ha. DB should really not put English people in his stories. Sierra recalls reciting "Ring around the rosie" "as a schoolgirl in England." But this is the American version. The most common variant of the English version is "Ring-a-ring o' roses, A pocket full of posies, A-tishoo! A-tishoo! We all fall down."" 6 comments
08/06/2013 page 154
32.0% "40 snarks so far. This book may crack the hundred." 2 comments
08/06/2013 page 171
35.0% ""Marta Alvarez trembled before the empty display cabinet. She hoped the tightness spreading through her abdomen was panic and not labor pains.
The Dante death mask is gone!"

See this is a good example of the permanent Overreaction Mode all DB's characters are in. They all FREAK OUT about everything. Maybe it's because I'm British but I'd probably just swear and remain calm." 6 comments
08/06/2013 page 171
35.0% ""Langdon and Sienna shared an anxious glance, and Marta sensed that her two guests were suffering from sensory overload."

Could we PLEASE exit the POV of this moronic minor character?" 4 comments
08/06/2013 page 171
35.0% "So far Vayentha appears to have no other role in this story but to run around chasing after Langdon for some reason or the other."
08/07/2013 page 208
43.0% "I think that's confirmation that the character Vayentha was superfluous to the story." 5 comments
08/07/2013 page 208
43.0% "I believe Robert Langdon may still be in Florence." 1 comment
08/07/2013 page 213
44.0% ""Sienna emerged slowly from her contemplations. 'I was thinking of Zobrist," she said slowly."

You can't make this stuff up." 1 comment
08/07/2013 page 213
44.0% ""'Lira for your thoughts,' he ventured lightly.

Evidently Renowned Genius Professor Langdon has not heard of the Euro.

Gad, it's like shooting fish in a barrel." 2 comments
08/08/2013 page 221
46.0% ""He took off his Plume Paris glasses..." Gratuitous brand name dropping.

"The pregnant museum administrator, Marta Alvarez..." Gratuitous character tagging.

"Langdon claims to have amnesia." Gratuitous italics.

Actually that last one's pretty interesting. It's stuck between a bit in Marta's POV and a bit in Brüder's POV so that it's not 100% clear whose italics they were."
08/08/2013 page 230
47.0% "I am totes amazed at Robert Langdon's ability, in a noisy location, to tell Siri to look up "Dante, Divine Comedy, Paradise, Canto Twenty-five" and HAVE IT WORK FIRST TIME. I just tried it in my quiet office and Siri said "Sorry, I didn't find any restaurants matching 'Dante' near Paradise, NV." Robert Langdon does indeed have a superpower." 3 comments
08/08/2013 page 232
48.0% ""'Robert?' Sienna said. 'Are you coming?'
Langdon lowered his gaze from the dome, realizing he had stopped in his tracks to admire the architecture. 'Sorry about that.'"

Wait, did Dan Brown just send himself up? I am haunted by the notion that he writes this way ON PURPOSE."
08/08/2013 page 232
48.0% "I'm just over 50% of the way through and I have 51 snarks not including the statuses where I count my snarks.

On the one hand, I will be very proud of myself if I reach 100.

On the other hand, this is seriously cutting into my time for reading stuff I promised to review.

Egads."
08/09/2013 page 254
52.0% "Langdon and Sienna desecrate a priceless artifact."
08/09/2013 page 260
54.0% "Hahaha red herring OK DB I grant you that one was funny." 1 comment
08/09/2013 page 263
54.0% ""In the world of book publishing, late-night emergencies were as rare as overnight success." "They don't teach time zones at Harvard?" I think SOMEBODY's beginning to fancy himself as a comedian."
08/09/2013 page 264
55.0% "Doing research into how you'd fly someone around Europe in a private jet, good. Carefully incorporating ALL of that research into a scene is another of those things writing gurus are always telling authors NOT to do. So the next time a publishing industry pundit tells you DB's books are good, look behind her back to see the crossed fingers."
08/09/2013 page 264
55.0% "Why are we heading for Geneva? I thought the clue led to Venice. Did I fall asleep?" 12 comments
08/09/2013 page 265
55.0% "Oh right, as you were. It was CLEVER."
08/09/2013 page 265
55.0% ""Langdon realized he was about to do something he had never before done in his life. I'm leaving Florence without visiting the David." Prat." 2 comments
08/09/2013 page 268
55.0% "No seriously is DB going to mention Sinskey's infertility EVERY BLOODY TIME SHE APPEARS ON THE PAGE? Apparently so." 4 comments
08/10/2013 page 278
57.0% "If I had a Genius Evil Plan I definitely wouldn't leave a set of elaborate clues allowing people to foil said plan."
08/10/2013 page 308
64.0% "Holy cow. We just had 13 PAGES of travelogue. It took 13 PAGES to get us from the train station in Venice to St. Mark's square, pretty much describing every important architectural feature along the way.

I'm just...no I can't even get started on this. At this point I just want the book to be over." 2 comments
08/11/2013 page 317
66.0% "Enormous research dump steams on the page with the friable richness of Friesian horse doo."
08/11/2013 page 319
66.0% ""Dr.Elizabeth Sinskey's hands were trembling...although she had seen some terrifying things in her life, this inexplicable movie...left her feeling as cold as death." DB no doubt hopes that his characters' overreaction will cause his readers to feel fear. It's like the corny old movie technique where the character looks up at the unseen object and OH NOZ OH NOZ LOOK AT HIS FACE IT MUST BE SCARY." 5 comments
08/11/2013 page 321
66.0% ""The provost typed FM-2030, and thousands of Web pages appeared." Upon which, no doubt, his computer crashed. Sloppy writing is always fun to mock." 1 comment
08/11/2013 page 338
70.0% "They're killing me, Langdon thought. Right here beside the tomb of St. Mark. Even at the point of death, he attempts a travelogue. What a guy." 1 comment
08/12/2013 page 355
73.0% "Dan Brown just surprised me with an intriguing plot point. IT DOES HAPPEN. Pity there's not more of this." 1 comment
08/12/2013 page 379
78.0% "I've already started writing my review. In the style of Dan Brown." 3 comments
08/12/2013 page 393
81.0% "The fate of the entire population of the planet hangs by a thread - and he's sightseeing."
08/12/2013 page 423
88.0% "What, exactly, is the point of chasing Sienna?"
08/12/2013 page 424
88.0% "HAHAHAHAHAHA Gary Stu is wondering the same thing."
08/12/2013 page 439
91.0% "It would seem DB has invented a weapon that will really annoy the Catholic Church. Was he tortured by a nun or something?" 2 comments
08/12/2013 page 445
92.0% "A MUG of Turkish coffee? That stuff's a sludge of coffee grounds..."
08/12/2013 page 463
96.0% "Finished. Oh, thank heaven." 6 comments
08/13/2013 marked as: pending-review
08/13/2013 marked as: read
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Comments (showing 1-50 of 57) (57 new)


message 1: by Isis (new)

Isis You and I feel the same way right now. I'm slogging through Philippa Gregory's The White Princess.


Jane I have that (from the library) ready to read, but I just don't know if I'll have time. Inferno is taking forever, particularly as I haven't been doing much reading in the evening lately.


message 3: by Karla (Mossy Love Grotto) (last edited Aug 13, 2013 07:06AM) (new) - rated it 2 stars

Karla (Mossy Love Grotto) 74 snarky updates. Congrats! :D


Jane Karla (Mossy Love Grotto) wrote: "74 snarky updates. Congrats! :D"

Thank you! *bows* I wish I'd managed 100, but this book took up so much TIME due to all the snark.


Karla (Mossy Love Grotto) And books like this always peter out towards the end. It becomes such a "OMG let it be over!" that the updates dwindle in that blind dash to the finish. :P


Rachel (BAVR) Yay! You made it! Now I can sit back and wait for a remarkable snark ninja review. :D


Jane Rachel (BAVR) wrote: "Yay! You made it! Now I can sit back and wait for a remarkable snark ninja review. :D"

I'm going to enjoy reviewing this.

Karla (Mossy Love Grotto) wrote: "And books like this always peter out towards the end. It becomes such a "OMG let it be over!" that the updates dwindle in that blind dash to the finish. :P"

So right. Besides, he loaded most of the decent action onto the end so that the reader would feel that a lot had happened. Have you noticed that many thrillers use this technique?


Karla (Mossy Love Grotto) I haven't read many thrillers, but the few I have read seems like it's a bunch of dawdling drawn-out suspense, then frantic action in the last act.

Usually I've gotten so cranky by that point that nothing can save it.


Crystal Starr Light I've always wondered if my definition of thriller was off. I would define thriller as "Lots of stuff happening, can't stop reading/turning pages".

Instead, thrillers seem to be like you talk about (boring boring boring OMG CHASE RUN ACTION!) - or be super mysterious and boring and then throw a bunch of action and half-assed explanations at the end.


message 10: by [deleted user] (new)

"This is amazeballs," the slightly harried Goodreader thought, after reading a review of bestselling Inferno. Amazeballs.


message 11: by Jemidar (new)

Jemidar I think you've just proved you're a better writer than Dan Brown!


message 12: by Chris (last edited Aug 13, 2013 04:44PM) (new)

Chris I'll second Jemidar as I hang my head in shame. I downloaded Da Vinci Code a few weeks back when it was free for the kindle.


message 14: by Crystal Starr Light (last edited Aug 13, 2013 04:49PM) (new) - rated it 2 stars

Crystal Starr Light Brilliant, Jane, absolutely brilliant!! I am in awe of your writing expertise - cunning parody if I've ever seen it!!






message 15: by Chris (new)

Chris I think Jane should write a parody.


message 16: by Misfit (new) - added it

Misfit Encore! Encore! Best review evar!


message 17: by Elaine (new)

Elaine brilliant review. I've never read any Dan Brown but I now kind of want to sneak a look for the fun of it.Not read the whole thing of course :)


message 18: by Jane (new) - rated it 2 stars

Jane Start with The Da Vinci Code, which is even more excruciating. DB has actually refined his writing style since then, although he hasn't changed it. Why should he? IT SELLS.

I have actually learned quite a lot from reading this. There is nothing subtle about DB: he puts the mechanics of writing a thriller on show for all to see, like one of those clocks with glass walls. Readers can identify with his clunky writing, his snobbishness about clothes and his very American sense of awe about Europe's great monuments. His ideal reader is the white male American baby boomer, his hero an affable white American male nerd whom every man likes and every woman has the hots for. He cheerfully breaks all the rules of good writing because he knows that HIS audience neither knows nor cares what good writing is--all they want is the movie version on a page.

Dan Brown is a fricking genius. I may never read another of his execrable books but if he ever comes to Chicago I'm totally going to shake his hand.


message 19: by Kim (new)

Kim You did it! Brava, renowned Jane Steen!!


message 20: by Crystal Starr Light (last edited Aug 13, 2013 06:22PM) (new) - rated it 2 stars

Crystal Starr Light Jane wrote: "He cheerfully breaks all the rules of good writing because he knows that HIS audience neither knows nor cares what good writing is--all they want is the movie version on a page. "

I think this is why I have (finally) learned I can't read whatever is considered popular or what typically tops the New York Times Bestseller list. For the average "non-reader" or "casual reader", Dan Brown and his ilk (Nicholas Sparks) are perfect. Their plots are obvious (and clunky). Their characters are uncomplicated (and cliched). The historical background is in perfect bite-sized form (and dry). But for someone who has been reading so much (like most people who are commenting here), Brown's writing is too simplistic and annoying - though immensely fun to snark over.

And now I'm thinking...if I had to choose between reading another Dan Brown and another Nicholas Sparks, I would gladly read every single Dan Brown novel, past, present, and future. At least, they are humorous and entertain me - Sparks' novels make me despair for the future of humanity.

ETA: Read back through this and I'm sure I sound like a book snob - which I guess I am, sorta - but that wasn't my point! Gah!!


message 21: by Jane (new) - rated it 2 stars

Jane I second that.


message 22: by Willow (last edited Aug 13, 2013 07:48PM) (new) - rated it 2 stars

Willow LMAO! Excellent review, Jane. You capture Brown's style so well! :D

And yes, the ending pissed me off too. I don’t think Brown thought about the repercussions of what he was suggesting at all.


Rachel (BAVR) This is beautiful!

*stands up and applauds*

BTW, you must come to the spoiler thread and discuss that ridiculous ending with us. :D


message 24: by Kerrie (new)

Kerrie Utterly brilliant review!


message 25: by Rebecca (new) - added it

Rebecca Huston Wonderful review! Thank you for being so honest about this sort of dreck. (Showers praise on the reviewer)


message 27: by Amy (new)

Amy S This made my morning.


Susan Johnson Great review. I am wiping tears from eyes from laughing so hard.


message 29: by Ellen (new)

Ellen What a fun review!! Now I really don't have to read the book! Thank you for this valiant effort on your readers' behalf!


message 30: by Jane (new) - rated it 2 stars

Jane Happy to take one for the team.


message 31: by Rebecca (new)

Rebecca I take it the second of the two stars is just for the sheer ironic entertainment value?


message 32: by Jane (new) - rated it 2 stars

Jane Rebecca wrote: "I take it the second of the two stars is just for the sheer ironic entertainment value?"

I think that GR says two stars means "It was OK" and in some senses it was just that. I could see how if you're the kind of reader who just disconnects her brain and goes with the flow, it could be an extremely entertaining read. The trouble begins when you start analyzing the writing and the logic...

And also, yeah, as a critical reader it was FUN. So much snark potential.


Sarah (Warning: Potentially Off-Topic) This is awesome. You have got Dan Brown down exactly. The snarky updates are great too.


message 34: by Kate (new)

Kate Perfect commentary and perfect satire. You have to be pretty darned proud! Also, pretty DARNED happy that you're no longer reading a DB book. Happy for you on both counts.


message 35: by Jane (new) - rated it 2 stars

Jane Yeah, I'm pretty happy about that too.


Rachel LMAO. Fabulous review and snarks. :)
I just tried the Siri thing and it thought I said "Don't say goodbye from paradise, canto 25"


message 37: by Jane (new) - rated it 2 stars

Jane DB lives in a fantasy world...where Siri works.


message 38: by Brandon (new) - added it

Brandon couldn't stop laughing...... It's just so Dan Brown!


message 39: by Phoenix (new) - added it

Phoenix I pity you if you need to take the time to measure the size of a book. Bearing that in mind, I'll skip your review.


message 40: by Jane (new) - rated it 2 stars

Jane You've opened my eyes to the error of my ways, Phoenix. I will never measure a book again.


message 41: by Kerrie (new)

Kerrie Satire detector needs recalibrating... :D


message 42: by Mary (new) - rated it 4 stars

Mary Jane wrote: "You've opened my eyes to the error of my ways, Phoenix. I will never measure a book again."

I think it's important to measure things occasionally. ;). Why not books?


Rachel (BAVR) I'm still LOLing about this. I read it over an hour ago, and it's still hilarious.


message 44: by Jane (new) - rated it 2 stars

Jane Mary wrote: "I think it's important to measure things occasionally. ;). Why not books?"

A book measurement at the start of every review may be highly useful to some readers. Those, for example, with limited space who have to consider each book purchase carefully lest their shelves overflow.

All joking apart, in the publishing world there is such a thing as an ideal spine width for books (depending on genre) and writers are often asked to trim/expand their story to a certain word length in order to suit these requirements. Book designers also play around with the fonts and margins to get the width of the book right. So size DOES matter, no kidding.


message 45: by Mary (new) - rated it 4 stars

Mary Jane, I completely agree. The first thing I thought when I saw his comment was that I always look at the measurements when I order books online to make sure they are going to fit my rather tight bookshelves. Why is it a problem to include it in a review? I sometimes think that people are looking for things to offend them.


message 46: by Jane (new) - rated it 2 stars

Jane Dan Brown would love this convo.


message 47: by Phoenix (new) - added it

Phoenix wtvr..


Mary wrote: "Jane wrote: "You've opened my eyes to the error of my ways, Phoenix. I will never measure a book again."

I think it's important to measure things occasionally. ;). Why not books?"



Daniel Mihai Popescu I loved your review :)
I wish I'll have the time to do such an excruciating critic. It is a good marketed book, though.


message 49: by Jane (new) - rated it 2 stars

Jane Thanks for the love, Daniel. I would definitely say that Inferno is a triumph of marketing.


Karianna Decker frey Best review I've read! You've nailed it!


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