Inferno by Dan Brown – Audiobook Review

Inferno by Dan Brown, narrated by Paul Michael
Published in audio by Random House Audio, published in print by Doubleday Books, both imprints of Random House


From the publisher:

In the heart of Italy, Harvard professor of symbology Robert Langdon is drawn into a harrowing world centered on one of history’s most enduring and mysterious literary masterpieces . . . Dante’s Inferno.

Against this backdrop, Langdon battles a chilling adversary and grapples with an ingenious riddle that pulls him into a landscape of classic art, secret passageways, and futuristic science. Drawing from Dante’s dark epic poem, Langdon races to find answers and decide whom to trust . . . before the world is irrevocably altered.

Thoughts on the story:

A classic Dan Brown, and, I believe, vastly superior to The Lost Symbol. Inferno has a pretty good pace, although it somehow manages to feel less high-stakes that DaVinci Code and a truly improbably number of things happen over the course of the day. And, of course, because the protagonist is Robert Langdon we hear about his damn tweed coat and Mickey Mouse watch a ridiculous number of times, the watch even though Langdon LOSES IT before the first scene. Despite its obvious problems, I enjoyed Inferno more than Angels and Demons and The Lost Symbol. I think it was largely the literary and Italian Renaissance art themes that really made it for me. Although, I will note, that at least twice I figured out very obvious clues before our celebrated symbologist and art historian did, based on nothing more than what I remember from AP European history about 15 years ago. That was sort of ridiculous. And frustrating. No way these things should have puzzled Langdon, so I would be distracted by my frustration with him until he’d finally get it.

Thoughts on the audio production:

Audio is SO the way to go, here. Paul Michael is a new-to-me narrator and in another book I might not be blown away by his narration, but he totally worked for me to get inside Robert Langdon’s head. He seemed so much more like how I would have imagined Robert Langdon than Tom Hanks ever did. He was also surprisingly good at giving characters different voices, a skill I didn’t expect based on something in his voice. I think the main reason why this worked really well, though, is that Brown is more of a storyteller than a wordsmith. In audio I could mostly ignore the short chapters and the occasionally awkward or repetitive phrasing; I could just sit back and be washed into the story. And you know what? I ended up listening to the whole 17 hours of it in about 2 days, which for me is unprecedented, so yeah, the audio really worked here.


Inferno would be a really great road trip audiobook this summer. Also recommended for yard work or the gym.

Learn more about this book at the publisher’s website.
Source: Review copy.

Sound Bytes is a meme that occurs every Friday! I encourage you to review your audiobooks on Fridays and include the link here. If you have reviewed an audiobook earlier in the week, please feel free to link that review as well. Thanks to Pam for creating the button.


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9 comments to Inferno by Dan Brown – Audiobook Review

  • I’m so glad to hear that you enjoyed the audio version of this book. I was just talking about this series with my dad who’s reading Inferno right now and I was saying that I’ve only read The DaVinci Code and that was a while ago. I do want to read all the books in this series, so maybe audio is the way to go! Do you happen to know if it’s the same narrator for all 4 books?

    And I’m on the hunt for some new audio as I’m almost caught up with Janet Evanovich’s Stephanie Plum series – which I decided to do solely as audio. Perhaps these will be up next!

    Have a great weekend!
    ~Kristin @ Always With a Book

  • Wow, I’ve tried a couple of Brown’s books and didn’t love them so hadn’t even considered this one. Now I’m thinking I should try the audio.

  • I was a little wary about Inferno because I really didn’t care for The Lost Symbol but the reviews all seem to suggest that it’s much better. I think I’ll take a look for the audio at the library this week!

  • This is the first review I’ve read that didn’t tear this book apart! Going to share it on my facebook page.

    • I mean it is Dan Brown, not the best writing ever, but it is engaging, and far better than his last book. Audio helped me ignore some of the weaknesses for a better experience.

  • I was debating whether to pick this up or not. I enjoy his books, even though they’re not perfect and it sounds like I should go ahead and grab this one.

  • Awesome! I am definitely popping this one onto my iPod for my summer road trip :)

  • Thanks for the review. My America-Germany YA fiction has some elements from DaVinci Code (but not high stakes) so I always follow Dan Brown’s books.

  • Mike

    Thanks for the awesome review! :) I also read/listened Inferno recently and wrote a review about it. If you’d like to check it out it’s at: