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Book Review – The Lost Symbol by Dan Brown

October 15, 2009 Leave a comment Go to comments

Book Synopsis:

As the story opens, Harvard symbologist Robert Langdon is summoned unexpectedly to deliver an evening lecture in the U.S. Capitol Building. Within minutes of his arrival, however, the night takes a bizarre turn. A disturbing object–artfully encoded with five symbols–is discovered in the Capitol Building. Langdon recognizes the object as an ancient invitation … one meant to usher its recipient into a long-lost world of esoteric wisdom. When Langdon’s beloved mentor, Peter Solomon –a prominent Mason and philanthropist –is brutally kidnapped, Langdon realizes his only hope of saving Peter is to accept this mystical invitation and follow wherever it leads him. Langdon is instantly plunged into a clandestine world of Masonic secrets, hidden history, and never-before-seen locations –all of which seem to be dragging him toward a single, inconceivable truth.

So, Dan Brown’s ‘The Lost Symbol’ sold something like a million copies on its first day of release. Not surprising, since fans of ‘The DaVinci code’ have been waiting for Dan Brown’s latest book starring the symbologist Robert Langdon. Anyway, I was one of those million suckers who bought a copy 😉

Okay, that was a little harsh. The truth is, I don’t consider ‘The Lost Symbol’ to be a BAD book (an example of bad book for me would be ‘The Appeal’ by John Grisham). I don’t think that ‘The Lost Symbol’ would be a total waste of your $$$, notwithstanding its 2 1/2 stars rating (as compiled by Readingradar).

The thing is, I don’t expect Dan Brown to write great literature (and you shouldn’t too), but based on his previous books, my expectation is that he does have interesting, creative and controversial (!) ideas when he writes (I mean who doesn’t like a good conspiracy story?). And this time, the secret society Dan Brown delves into are the Freemasons – so I was pretty pumped to get into the nitty-gritty of the book. And I was also looking forward to seeing Washington D.C. through Dan Brown’s eyes. In other words, I was looking to have a fun time burning through the book at 3 AM in the morning.

Somehow, however, Dan Brown’s (usual) talent for crafting entertaining passages fell short in this novel. My main problem with ‘The Lost Symbol’ is that it’s supposed to be this mystery/thriller page-turner with nail-biting suspense – well, it was far from being that for me – to be frank, I was bored silly for many stretches of this novel. NOTHING happens for long stretches while Robert Langdon or some other character just lectures… lectures… lectures OR moves from one location to the next (recounted in excruciating detail) OR has a serious discussion about something. Note that none of these were really necessary for the plot to move forward. I don’t quite recall those parts being as boring in ‘The DaVinci Code’ or quite as extensive. It was a total pain just to finish the book, since I kept on getting sleepy and bored, and it was an act of will power to reach the last page. I’m not saying that the entire book is snooze-worthy, but I can basically tell you that the action does not pick up until you reach Ch 20s or so, goes back to snooziness, picks up again around Ch 150s or so, and the novel pretty much just fizzles out in the end. There are suspenseful and cliff! hanger! parts in the novel, but you have to wade through a ton of really boring-to-death chapters to get to them.

Another bone for me to pick is that I ended up not really caring for any of the characters here. Even the main character lacked personality! I’ve always liked Robert Langdon as a character, but seriously, he was extra wimpy in this novel. And I hated that since I do LIKE Robert Langdon. As for Peter Solomon and his sister, he could have died for all I cared too. The villains were not very fleshed out either, and seriously, I already knew who the big bad tattooed guy REALLY was before the BIG! REVEAL! in the novel. That’s how badly Dan Brown broadcasted it in advance.

Still, it was a delight to learn about the history of different buildings in Washington D.C. and I did learn many little factoids from Dan Brown. I’m not washing my hands off him, but maybe next time, I’ll wait for the reviews to come in first before grabbing a copy of his novel.

The Lost Symbol is available for purchase from Amazon with the Kindle edition the most reasonably priced ($9.99).

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