La Sagrada Familia photo by Enrico Perini

Book Review: Origin

I will forever remain a Dan Brown fan, and a large part of my contributing to his fandom is due to the consistency of his writing style and the themes he brings up in an engaging and thrilling way. It is not Brown’s style to be convoluting or overly complex in his storytelling. He has subplots going in parallel to the main plot, but nothing that will make readers lose track of what happened last to whichever character. It’s a simple good-guy-vs-evil-religious-nut kind of novel.

Origin is no different than his previous works in this regard, to some readers’ dismay. Professor Langdon finds himself in the middle of a mystery murder and races through time and historical towns to find the answer to the classic “Who dun it?” question. I love this setting – Barcelona, Spain – and feel compelled to visit it as soon as plane tickets come down. Just look at this beautiful La Sagrada Familia basilica that is STILL in the works to this modern day since 135 years ago!  Continue reading

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Book Review: Inferno

I finished this book yesterday on my lazy Saturday afternoon. I thoroughly enjoyed the book and find it to be very typical of the Langdon series. There is a lot of running around and racing against the enemy to a historical site and to solve a puzzle based on symbols and historical artifacts. I liked that Inferno spanned across three distinct cities – Florence, Venice and Istanbul. I’m now very inspired to visit these cities some day. I also liked that Brown incorporated one central theme that flowed very well throughout the novel – overpopulation and literal references to Dante.

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Inferno book cover found on http://fieldgatehomesblog.com

A problem I have with Inferno (one that I previously mentioned) is one around character-building and reading this particular Dan Brown book makes it seem to stick out more than the other Dan Brown books. Robert Langdon has too easy of a time finding his place around to every he needs to go. Sure, he is an intelligent Harvard professor, but maybe because he is so well-versed in Dante that there is never any obstacles in his way. The obstacles, the “army” and drones that were chasing him down, were easily avoided because of convenient secret passages Langdon learned about from tours he took years ago. The answer to every one of his problems in the book was too conveniently solved. I’d like to see this professor stumped every once in a while; I want to see him set back a few steps before he makes quantum leaps again.

What this really means, I feel, is that Langdon is unstoppable and there is never a break in the pacing of the book. Langdon and Sienna are constantly on the go. While I am fine with this, I think this is what separates a good thought-provoking thriller and a plain beat-the-clock arms race around the world. For Inferno, this book falls on the latter category. Overpopulation is indeed a serious topic, but Langdon’s chase to get to the pathogen sac makes me forget that this is the central theme in the book.