Origin (2017)

Dan Brown takes us on a rich architectural and artistic journey, detailing Spain’s history and heritage, as his protagonist Robert Langdon is on a mission to help a friend. The difference this time is the essence of the mission and what it entails. There are two important questions and we get fitting answers for both. It wasn’t like Inferno which took months to read, I finished it in three days because I got hooked to the premise. This has been written with clear and simple markers, making it easier to adapt to a film. An interesting read.

3/5

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Inferno (2016)

Rarely are movies better than books, this being one of them. I usually read Dan Brown’s books in a day or two, Inferno took a few months as it was written for a film. It was obvious from the beginning why this and not ‘The Lost Symbol’ was made into a movie.

Ron Howard has done full justice to the visually morbid and disturbing masterpiece by Dante. The film moved fast, keeping all but one main plot point intact. Tom Hanks is his usual dependable self, the only actor who can play the patient, knowledgeable and quick witted Robert Langdon. Felicity Jones is the strong and smart Dr. Brooks. Irrfan Khan has the unenviable task of playing Harry ‘The Provost’, an effortless act done with charm.

In the end, I was left with an experience of having watched a film but not having connected with it. It was all words and fury with none of the emotion or revelation that should have accompanied it.

2/5

Inferno (2013)

I remember falling off the bed, quite literally, when I reached the middle of ‘Da Vinci Code’. Since then I am a Dan Brown fan. I then read ‘Angels & Demons’, which was better in many ways than the code. I read his first two books, ‘Digital Fortress’ and ‘Deception Point’. In every book the classic Dan Brown style was to educate us about art or history or technology or conspiracy, or a combination of these. There was a distinct writing technique, which made all his books predictably structured but the plot always kept you guessing.

Then came ‘The Lost Symbol’, which I got on the day it released and raced through it, expecting some major ‘falling of the bed’ conspiracy, which never happened. But a fan always remains a fan, or so I thought. Inferno, is sluggish and that’s probably why I left it for a good few weeks in between reads. I finally finished it a few days back and here goes, my first book review.

We are steeped in the history and symbolism which surrounds Dante’s writing that inspired a piece of art, vividly referenced throughout the book. Our Harvard symbologist is Robert Langdon is present, with an unusual female companion, who is of course beautiful, intelligent, quick witted and resourceful.

There is a bizarre chase going on here and the stakes are high, but somehow the reader doesn’t want to be part of it. He wants to hear about it on the evening news. “Whatever happened to that guy?”, you would ask, and the reporter on TV would say,”The suspect on the xyz case has been caught.” That would put your mind at ease, and you don’t want to go through the nitty gritty.

As the last few pages are left, we get to know what where when how etc, but by then it’s too late. I think his style of either giving us shocks throughout, or one big shock in the middle, work better. We need more from Mr. Brown. Having said this I think I will still be in line on May 14th for his next book, whenever he recovers from this inferno.

2/5