Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Dante's Journey by JC Marino

Dante's JourneyFrom Goodreads:
A flash of light and Detective Joe Dante steps through. No longer on the cobblestone streets of 1961 Boston, Joe finds himself in a horrifying new world-Hell itself. Joe was in hot pursuit of his family's killer, drug lord Filippo Argenti, when both were killed, and isn't about to let a little thing like death slow him down. So, with a healthy dose of New England stubbornness and the help of a mysterious guide, Virgil DiMini, Joe must evade angry demons, and search ever-lower through the rings of the original Dante's Inferno in hopes of finding justice for his wife and children. However, Joe will soon discover that behind every sin lies a secret and each secret revealed could land Joe in an eternity of hot water... VERY hot.
 Dante's Journey is based on Dante's Inferno from the Divine Comedy if you haven't guessed by the name. It's an updated version which takes you through a sci-fi version of hell. One with demons who are simultaneously trapped themselves while they run hell and keep the souls in their punishments. Joe is lead by Virgil as in the original version, but there is a twist. Joe doesn't immediately trust him or anyone else at that time. We also don't know Virgil's true reason for ushering Joe through hell or who exactly Virgil is in this story. Joe, unlike the character in the Inferno, is dead. Unfortunately, Joe can't even imagine that he is dead and only has one goal and thought, to find Argenti, the man who killed his family. This singular thought keeps him on his journey through the levels of hell.  As Joe travels through hell, he is transformed through truth, memories and running for his soul. This journey helps him find what is really important to him.

This was a fast and interesting read. Although it has been a long time since I read the Inferno, I enjoyed comparing what I remembered with the updated twists and turns of Marino's version. I also enjoyed the ride through hell in itself. The punishments are those of the damned's own making instead of being sentenced by an all knowing power. So, the irony of the punishments were interesting on it's own. My only criticism of this book is also something I appreciated as well. The author made hell more of a place where anyone no matter what their beliefs or religion could go. It wasn't because they were of a different religion, but because they sinned against their own beliefs and religion. So, I was glad to see that they weren't punished just because they believed differently, and I appreciated that a lot. However, since this was based on more of a Catholic book and the main character was Catholic, I think it would have been better to keep it within the Christian and Catholic realm. One reason is because not all religions believe in hell and the symbolisms could stay consistent for the main character since it was his own journey through hell we were following.

I give this book 4 stars. I think this is a great book for discussion. I think it is an interesting concept that hell is one of our own making. I think it could really springboard some interesting discussion from many points of view.

I received this book from the author and no compensation was given for my review.


  1. OMG! My fave book of all time is Dante's Inferno. I must pick this book up! Great review and thanks for putting this up :)

  2. Oh, I enjoyed this read as well. I was a little conserned when the mention of different religious beliefs showed up. And I agree with you, it was handled very well, and that they where not being punished in Hell because of their religion being different. But more on that they where there for going against their own thoughts and beliefs. And it seemed to be a big thing for everyone here. Great review and glad you enjoyed it. :)

  3. A book based on Dante's Inferno had better live up to the original - there's so much wickedly fantastic inspiration. I'm glad that Hell, however, is equal opportunity :)

  4. @Savannah, if you like sci-fi too, you'll like this book!

    @Melissa... thanks. It's because of you I got to read this one.

    @Stephanie... I think it depends on who you ask. :D

  5. Hey, that is great to hear! :) I am so glad my review helped talk you into it. :) Thanks!


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