So, I finished reading the much hyped "Inferno" and yes, it was my first Dan Brown. Hold your gasps, I have been caught up with a lot of things and I watched the Da Vinci Code movie and was reluctant to read the book therefore.
Anyway, the book explores certain moral grey areas and the worst part is that the author chooses to take a stand instead of letting it hang out there. I thought only Bollywood movies had this infectious disease of being preachy but now I know it is a universal phenomenon. Sarcasm aside, the book is a definite page turner and the thrill quotient is high. My copy had 460 pages and I finished it in two days. The suspense factor was never there for me.
The surprise never really exists but you still want to know how the story unfolds. Yes, I'd place the book in that category. The last few pages of detailed descriptions get a little dull because you've already figured them out and it becomes more like a formality.
The book is also a trip down certain historically important cities and the vivid description paint an elaborate, enticing, rich picture. The narrative is slowed in pace when these descriptions emerge and they only cause the thrill to build up to an insane level where you're almost mad at the author for setting such a beautiful stage background that it steals some of the limelight from the story. Sample watching a thrilling car chase and just when you are about to jump off your seats, someone switches the channel to watch a special documentary on penguins. You love penguins, you are loving the descriptions but what about the car chase on channel 9! That's how it feels sometimes while reading the novel.
Robert Langdon is in his usual claustrophobic mode- vulnerable, confused and clueless mode which ups the thrill factor of the novel as the reader sees the scenario from Langdon's eyes for most part of the book. The other usual elements like a female companion, a lurking silent threat, an authoritative figure trying to get situation in control- all a part of stereotyped Dan Brown novel now. Brown does not step out of his genre which is a nice thing as the novel remains in a comfortable territory but bad because of the mediocrity that it brings with it. I'd love to see Langdon do more things than decipher symbols and get angry over being kept in the dark but then, I do not think a professor can be jumping across buildings and solving murder mysteries James Bond style.
As a Robert Langdon/ Dan Brown fan, I don't think there is room for disappointment but also, the novel is very predictable in terms of plot and sometimes turns into a travel guide which can be fascinating/ frustrating based on your mood.