Saturday, July 6, 2013

Darkest places in hell...

Here's a spoiler for you. If this is the next book you are gonna read, it's a Dan Brown novel. And in it is Robert Langdon. So there. That's all. If you've read any of the other three Langdon books, you know what to expect and therefore you have absolutely no right to complain. Because Dan Brown doesn't promise to deliver a life changing novel that will make you wonder about your own existence, that will rattle your mind and soul. No. Not at all. Dan Brown will give you a novel of chasing the bad guy, racing against time (most likely to save the world) and along the way you will visit certain historically important (most likely European) cities and learn of many secrets they keep, symbols they hide and stories they harbor. So if you're expecting anything else, you should just abandon all hope.
Now that we got that out of the way, there is not much to uncover about the story. This time Robert Langdon, however, doesn't even know what he's supposed to do. He wakes up in a hospital, with his last memory being of walking across Harvard campus. And now he's in Florence with a gun wound in his head, apparently being hunted down for digging somewhere and for something he wasn't supposed to. And then the hunt starts.
I never really loved any of Dan Brown's novels by the time I finished them. There's always a big James Bond-y twist (and abilities that certain characters develop), a ton of very VERY cheesy and unbelievable moments where you need to feel sorry for almost everyone and a trick with which there is no right or wrong. But I always enjoy the ride. Maybe because many of my courses at the university had to do with art (and art history), symbols, religion, etc. Maybe that's why The Da Vinci Code wasn't such a big shock to me, we spent a lot of time studying the Holy Grail. Even so, I love diving into the information that Dan Brown was collecting for a very, very long time, I always find something new I didn't know and then can't wait to go visit that place just to check it out. The book took him three years to complete and involved a lot of research. This time not only on his usual topics but also specific scientific information that I won't talk about much because I might spoil the whole story. Florence was an almost logical next choice for his novel, I guess to a large extent we have all expected it sooner rather than later. Of course it isn't confined to only one location and I must admit I liked it better than The Lost Symbol. Maybe also because it speaks of locations, quite known to me. And loved by me. And maybe because it isn't so easy to write interestingly about art.
So in very, very short, here's the truth. You will learn a lot about Dante, Florence and other places and no doubt they will receive a much larger number of visitors, trying to see what Robert Langdon saw and chased. And rightfully so, because they are amazing places, filled with art, history and wonder that deserve every bit of attention they can get.

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