Okay, let me start by saying I am a fan of Dan Brown, in particular his Robert Langdon series. I have read all of them and, up until this point, found myself completely engrossed.
Sadly, Robert Langdon #4 was not the case.
In this novel, Robert Langdon finds himself in a race against time (as usual) attempting to prevent the release of a plague by a scientist intent on controlling the world’s population by wiping out a large portion of Earth’s current inhabitants. All pretty standard stuff for the Harvard professor, if you have read any of Brown’s previous novels. The trail of breadcrumbs lead Langdon to Italy, delving into Dante Alighieri’s famous work, The Divine Comedy.
Now perhaps my tastes have changed, but I started reading this book several months ago and never finished. I became wrapped up in school, read a few more books on my to-read list, and forgot about it. When cleaning off one of the bookshelves, I found it and remembered I never finished. So, I set out to start over since I could not remember a lot of what I had read.
There was a reason I put it down and forgot about it.
A LARGE chunk of this book is completely forgettable. It reads more like a travel guide to Italy than a symbologist’s attempt to save humankind. I found myself reading page after page of details that were not significant to the story but rather just added fluff to fill a book. With that said, if the detail of Italy are true, I was given a VERY detailed description, boring, but detailed.
Adding to the mostly useless descriptions of Italy, Brown spend entirely too much time “teaching” about Dante, one of the most well-known “classic” authors. You mention Dante Alighieri to just about anyone and you get recognition and the response of Dante’s Inferno or The Divine Comedy. I have read Alighieri’s work and studied it, which is quite possibly why this book bored me. I knew the information already and nothing mentioned was worth adding to my vault of information on Dante.
The “action” didn’t pick up until past the halfway point, which if I did not have my own “rules” about finishing books, I would have long given up on this one. Once the story got under way, it did become a little interesting, but entirely unbelievable.
Again, I don’t know if this is because my literary preferences have changed, but this was not a fan favorite.
To me, this was the end of the series. The sequel, of a sequel, of a sequel that needs to be put to rest. And yet, this is the next one to be made into a film. Director Ron Howard (also a favorite of mine) has chosen to entirely skip over The Lost Symbol and make a film out of the fourth in the series instead and it’s set to release in October 2016. I can only hope the film, which won’t have to rely on the heavily detailed descriptions of surroundings, is much better.
This might actually be one of the very rare instances where the film is better than the book.