Dante’s Equation is a book that makes you go, WTF?! — but in a good way. At least, that was my reaction. If you’re looking for a straight-up action thriller, this isn’t it. It’s got some science fiction elements to it, and I’m well aware that’s not everyone’s cup of tea. But, if you aren’t put off by something a little… different… read on.
Dante’s Equation, by Jane Jensen
Del Rey, July 2003
science fiction thriller
496 pages (trade paperback)
In a breathless thriller that explores the relationship between science and the divine, good and evil, space and time, Jane Jensen takes us from the world we know into a reality we could only scarcely imagine. Until now…
This is a book that came to my attention in my pre-Goodreads days, when I was relying on Amazon recommendations to steer me in the direction of new books I might enjoy. Not ideal, I know, but I’m glad it pointed me toward this one or who knows if I’d ever have stumbled across it. Thanks, Amazon!
I jotted down the title and author, but it wasn’t until moving to a new area that I managed to find the book at the local library. By that time, I’d forgotten anything I knew about it other than that I wanted to read it. And when I finally did… well, it was bizarre. I enjoyed it, but it was bizarre. At first, I didn’t know quite what to make of it, but it stayed with me. I know we’ve all read books that stick with us, long after reading them, and it isn’t always the ones that we expect. This one snuck up on me.
Months later, I started working at a bookstore, and I don’t think I even made it through my first interview before the inevitable question popped up: What’s your favorite book? And I completely shocked myself when Dante’s Equation was the first thing that came to mind.
So of course I had to re-read it. And yes, I was remembering correctly: great story, good variety of characters, interesting ideas… totally trippy section in the middle of it. And yes, my subconscious was right to put it above all of the other candidates for favorite book. Because knowing what I was getting myself into this time around, I loved it even more. All of my other favorites, at least at that time, were variations on the same theme. The characters, the settings, the stories changed from book to book, but they all felt the same. This one had something none of the others did. I can’t even say that it was better, necessarily, than any of my other 5-star books. But it was unique.
You may be realizing by now that I still haven’t told you anything about the book itself! What kind of crappy review is this, anyway? I admit, I’m not the greatest at reviews. On Goodreads, I keep my reviews short and sweet, just general impressions, because those are the types of reviews I look for, the ones that are most helpful to me while browsing. My aim for this blog is to start writing longer reviews that are a little more detailed.
But for now, I’ll stick to those general impressions — great story, good variety of characters, interesting ideas — and hope that my enthusiasm persuades you to give it a closer look. Meanwhile, I think it may be time to dust off my copy (yes, this is one I bought for myself) for a re-read.
So, what about you? Have you ever had a book sneak up on you, becoming a favorite without your even realizing it?