Posted in All Book Reviews, Mystery, Thrillers

Book Review: Origin (By Dan Brown)

Dan Brown’s Origin seems to leave readers harshly divided. You either hate it or love it. That happens to be true for most of his books, though. I had really enjoyed The Da Vinci Code and Angels and Demons. I remember his other books being alright. They had some good parts and some pretty ridiculous ones.

Origin, though, was a different kind of ‘alright’. And in the interest of sharing all my thoughts (which, I admit, are a bit all over the place), I’m making this review a little different. Read on to know more!

Genre: 

Mystery, Thriller

Length: 

456 pages

Blurb:

Futurist, billionaire, and Robert Langdon’s old student, Edmond Kirsch, is hosting a major announcement at the Guggenheim Museum Bilbao. Langdon and a closely vetted list of exclusive guests have been invited to the event that little is known about but that has promised to “change the world of science and religion forever”. Kirsch’s announcement aims to answer two of human existence’s fundamental questions. But the presentation turns out to be much more controversial than expected, threatening the very foundation of all religion. But Kirsch is assassinated in the moments before his big announcement. As chaos erupts, Langdon finds himself forced to escape Bilbao. With him is the beautiful Ambra Vidal – fiancée of the Crown Prince of Spain and Director of the museum who helped Kirsch put the presentation together. They both attempt to uncover and release Kirsch’s mysterious discovery before it is lost forever. But the man who assassinated Kirsch will stop at nothing to keep the announcement unaired. And that is not the only obstacle in Langdon and Vidal’s way as they traverse the world of enigmatic symbols and modern art… all in an attempt to avenge their dead friend and ensure that his discovery is made public.

Overall Rating:

3 out of 10

The Review:

Let’s jump right into it!

Dan Brown’s Origin is okay at best. It’s really, really slow throughout. Sure there’s some action going on. But the entire premise is how Kirsch would answer two crucial questions:

  • Where did we come from?
  • Where are we going?

Except, because of how often these questions are posed in an attempt to generate excitement in the reader… you simply end up not caring.

I mean, by the time I was a few chapters in, my feelings could be summarized as, “Interesting premise. Too bad I don’t give too much of a damn about finding the answers.”

But!

It does just enough to keep you sort of interested to see it to the end. Which is also a bit of a letdown after all that hype. The book definitely has action – murders, conspiracy, and suspense. But its pace just doesn’t allow you to really get into it. The story itself is okay, with different arcs running in parallel as they often do in dan Brown’s work. It attempts to build a lot of hype as it heads to its climax, only to fall pretty flat. If you’re a big Robert Langdon fan, you might enjoy Origin. Although, if you love the art that the Langdon books focus on, you might want to skip this one, which is based more on modern art.

I’m definitely disappointed at how this turned out, even though I hadn’t gotten into it with high expectations in the first place. It was the first book I picked up in 2022 and was a slow start to the year for sure. But I’ve got other books lined up (and read) so more reviews are definitely coming up soon.

Share your thoughts on Dan Brown, his books, and his characters in the comments below. And as always, thanks for stopping by The Book Review Station and reading this review!

– Rishika

Posted in All Book Reviews

Review: Inferno (By Dan Brown)

 

17305367
Source: Goodreads

Length: 463 pages

My rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars

Harvard symbologist, Robert Langdon, wakes up in a strange hospital with no memory of how he got there. All he’s told is that a gunshot grazed his head, leaving him with retrograde amnesia. All he remembers are horrific visions of people undergoing the worst forms of torture one can imagine, and a silver-haired, unknown woman telling him one thing – Seek and ye shall find.

Before he can make sense of what is happening around him, he discovers something else – he’s in Florence. He’s barely begun to try and remember why he is in the city, or even when or how he got there, when he’s attacked again. Dr. Sienna Brooks, in charge of his case, saves him and brings him back to her apartment. And that is where he discovers a strange, horrifying object in a hidden pocket stitched into his jacket. What the object reveals is nothing short of terrible. The world is in danger, its population in threat because of the actions of a madman who thinks of himself as savior. When a call to the US Consulate results in nothing more than him being discovered by the woman trying to kill him and another more powerful and faceless enemy, Langdon and Brooks take matters into their own hands.

With danger at every turn, trust a rare commodity, and time ticking against them, Langdon and Brooks only have the strange references from Dante’s Inferno to help them. They need to decode the riddles hidden within the beautiful artwork of the Renaissance to solve the puzzle. Success will not be easy as Langdon struggles to understand the chaos in his vision and find the answers in the memory he’s lost. But failure could mean their death… and that of the world as we know it.

My take:

Inferno has everything you would have come to expect from a Dan Brown novel – heaps of history, riddles hidden in the most famous pieces of art, fast-paced action, and real issues that beg pondering.

When I read The Lost Symbol, I had come close to deciding never to read another Robert Langdon book – it was just that boring. And that was a big deviation from his previous works. Inferno, thankfully, redeems Dan Brown. It combines the depth of history, conspiracy theories, and information of The Da Vinci Code with the action of Angels and Demons. And the result is a pretty well thought out, well executed idea.

I found one of the best parts about the book to be the historical and art references, all of which are apparently true. The structures of Italy are described in great detail and their history, well explained. If nothing else, it leaves you with a strong desire to visit Venice and Florence – this time, with a greater appreciation for the sites you’re viewing.

I thought the story itself was very interesting. What’s really good about it is the way in which it is presented. It wasn’t just about a twist here or there; it was actually a very unique presentation which turned the entire story that you knew up until that point right on its head. A few times, you have to sit back and think, “Okay, if this is what the truth is, then how exactly did that scene from 75 pages ago play out?”

Brown has written Inferno in a way that your mind makes assumptions about the story and characters as you read, and you find most of those assumptions to be wrong when you read ahead. And I don’t mean in a way that goes, “Oh, this guy was bad not good, or good not bad.” I mean more in a way of, “Oh, this scene was actually very different and the events involved meant a host of other things.” So, you end up going back to scenes in your head (and sometimes, in the book) and rereading them from a brand new perspective.

Yet, the book does fall short on some aspects. First, the descriptions could have definitely been reduced. While the history behind the locations and pieces is interesting, its physical descriptions tend to drone on for too long. They could definitely have been shortened to maybe three-quarters of the length to ensure that they still retain their value. The second thing that bothered me, was the end. It was definitely a surprising one, but for all its build up, it was oddly underwhelming. And the worst part is that I can’t even say why – it just was. It’s not the concept that was underwhelming, but the way it was put forth. It just seemed to lack a punch.

That’s why, overall, I’d say it makes a solid mark for itself at 3.5 stars. The book blurb calls Inferno “compelling and thought-provoking”, which it most certainly is. It touches upon the very real threat of overpopulation and the growing belief in the ideology of transhumanism. It questions whether people have the courage to take the steps necessary to save our world, or whether taking those steps makes you a madman. The end leaves you wondering (scarily enough) about what is really right or wrong, and what if the powers that be, the people who can make a change, start asking that very question. A great read for Dan Brown fans, Inferno definitely takes a step in the right direction after the fiasco that was his last book. And it left me waiting for the next Robert Langdon book.

– Rishika