Monday, May 20, 2013

Finished Dan Brown's Inferno

So, I finished Dan Brown's Inferno, and I got to say. It was mildly disappointing. Don't get me wrong, it's still a Dan Brown thriller, fast paced and full off twists. But the twists here are really predictable, well at least for me they were.

Brown has tried to change a few things, but these changes are not significant and may go unnoticed. His narrative this time around is not the relentlessly fast paced paper cut page turner we have come to expect a la The Da Vinci Code, but rather a lethargic tourist guide sprint through Florence. His descriptions of famous Florentian landmarks reads like a literal guided tour, at some points these overt descriptions become so tedious that you are tempted to skip them altogether, so that you can continue with the plot.  There is also a lot of unnecessary repetiition of a single plot point, again and again and again. It almost feels like it was done to meet some kind of word count.

The plot components stay more or less the same. There's a high powered organisation with a head who has a cool nickname. This time it's The Provost, the head of an organisation called The Consortium, which is so secretive that even Dan Brown wasn't allowed to name who they really were, and as a result, The Provost remains a mystery throughout the book. Even with all the mystery surrounding The Consortium, and even with Mr. Brown's statement that such an organisation exists and he was compelled to change their name to protect their identity, it doesn't make one curious to find out what The Consortium really is in real life like his previous books, which had me researching the NRO and the Delta Force in great detail.

The other change is the muscle/thug like Silas in the Da Vinci Code or the Delta Force in Deception Point. In Inferno, it's Vayentha a Consortium Agent who isn't much of a thug and is killed off in the middle of the book.

And the usual bait and switch you come to expect from Dan Brown when it comes to the real villain of the story, this time around is disappointing and quite predictable, even with the narrative trying so hard to take you in a completely different direction. The attempt at misdirection seems like it's trying too hard and at times feels contrived.

The only bit of the book that had some kind of intense pacing to it was the ending, which takes Robert Langdon to Istanbul. And it's here that Brown seems to find his Da Vinci Code and Angels and Demons mojo again, the descriptions here are engaging and drive the intensity of the climax higher. The ending is the only bit of the book where I could find the Da Vinci Code Dan Brown. The ending was the meat of the story and the rest was just useless stuffing without the gravy.

This story left me wanting more and as a result, next time I just might wait for the paperback rather than pay premium for the release date hardback.

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Began Dan Brown's Inferno

So, I received Dan Brown's Inferno yesterday. The cover art is spectacular, so is the hardcover beneath the dust jacket.

I only read a couple of chapters yesterday. Why do I mention this? Well because, for one, in the past, I would have finished the book in a few hours. And I have to say, so far it lacks this one lacks hook you in and keep you flipping the pages pace that were a hallmark of his previous works.

Now I won't simply judge the book from it's first few chapters, I still have a long way to g o, and I'm pretty sure that Dan Brown and Robert Langdon will deliver in the end. 

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Star Trek Into Darkness, a Classic Retelling

That's all I can say about the new Star Trek movie. J.J Abrams has made an incredibly entertaining sci fi adventure in Star Trek. Into Darkness is fast paced and and a truly entertaining action adventure which pays homage to the Gene Rodenberry's world while also paving the way for a new generation. This movie will make new fans out of people born after the new millennium even, who may not even know what Star Trek is, and believe me, there are a quite a few of them out there.

One more thing, Benedict Cumberbatch is one of the most charismatic and deadly villains I have seen on a screen after a long time. And yes, he is who we thought  he is.

Major Spoilers ahead

John Harrison is Khan, Benedict Cumberbatch is Khan. Boy, I needed to get that off my chest. We see classic quotes and references from the very first minutes of the film and towards the end we also get to see the revered Vulcan nerve pinch.

But this movie is so cleverly crafted that even till the end you might think that this version of Khan may be different. Especially after the events of the first film, in which J.J Abrams gave us a time travelling Romulan who changed the course of history and reality as we know it, with Spock meeting Spock and all. By the way, the elder Spock makes a cameo in the sequel as well, where he tells the younger Spock what Khan is capable of, all while Jim Kirk is dying. Oh and yeah, Jim Kirk dies in this. But not to worry, he comes back to life. I won't go into any more details, not that there are any more details, but still. Star Trek Into Darkness pays homage to the Trek mythos while laying the groundwork for it's own legacy and it's own future.

The 3D conversion didn't give me a headache, which is always a plus.

The movie is awesome and everyone should watch it, there is no false advertising or misdirection here. Just pure fanboy entertainment.