The Lost Symbol: Dan Brown

(Woot - my first review! Note: I actually finished this a few weeks ago and am just getting around to writing/giving my review.)

Title: The Lost Symbol (click here to visit site...which is pretty cool)
Author: Dan Brown
# of Pages: 509
Published: September 2009

Short 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.

My Review:
I'll preface this by saying that the following review is, obviously, MY opinion. Now that that's out of the way. Dan Brown's novels are, for the most part I believe, ones that you either love or you hate. People seem to have such strong opinions on his books and they seem to create such controversy (The DaVinci Code anyone?) which I guess is a good thing (because it can create some interesting discussion) but I think they forget that at the end of the day - though based on research - they are books of fiction. Anyways, I won't get off topic because these reviews I'd like to keep relatively short. So here goes:

This is the 5th Dan Brown novel I've read (the others being: The DaVinci Code, Angels & Demons, Deception Point, and Digital Fortress) so needless to say I enjoy his work. However, this was the one that took the longest for me to get into. I don't know - it just seemed to have a slow start. Really slow. The end (maybe the last 30 pages or so) was slow too. But the rest was a fast-paced, interesting, adventurous read - true to Dan Brown form - with the story happening in a span of 12 short hours. I was really interested in all of the Masonic symbols and history in the book as well as all learning about some of the symbols that are said to be hidden in Washington. I think it's cool to know that - if you're an American - you don't necessarily have to travel across the world to find ancient monuments with hidden meanings. There is also a form of science featured heavily throughout the story line, Noetic Science, that I found particularly interesting. I don't know if the experiments done in the book have been attempted in real life but there was one in particular (dealing with the human spirit/soul) that I thought was really fascinating (regardless of whether it's real or fake). Mal'akh, the villain in this story, is one of the creepiest Dan Brown villains to date. He seems to fear nothing and have nothing to lose - a man possessed. And usually, people like that are the ones with the potential to be the most dangerous...as he well proves. I will also say that this is the first Brown novel I've read that I've guessed what the "twist" was. If you've read any of his other novels you'll know that there is always some unexpected, "oh my gosh I can't believe it" twist. I don't know if it's because this is my 5th Brown novel and I knew to expect one - but I guessed what that twist was fairly early on. However, when it was revealed I was still shocked and read the page twice.

Despite it's slow start and some slow parts, I'll say if you're a Dan Brown fan then it's a good read that you'll enjoy. However, if this will be your first Brown book I'd start with something different. Perhaps one of his earlier books like Digital Fortress or Deception Point or my favourite Angels & Demons (which is MUCH MUCH better than the movie).

Keeping in mind how much I enjoyed his other books, which I enjoyed more, I give The Lost Symbol: 2.5 outta 5 stars.

Have you read the book? What did you think?


Beauty Is Diverse said...

Im still reading the book right now, but so far I enjoy it.

Kay* said...

@Tiffany, Ebony Intuition - Have you read any of his other books?

Kara said...

You know, I love the subject matter of his books - I'm not one of those who finds them disrespectful or gets all bent out of shape about his discussion of the church or religion or whatever. But honestly I just can't stand his writing style. I personally think his writing is very simplistic, his dialogue is stilted, and his plot twists are just unbelieveable. (Ok, yeah, sorry .. I'm opinionated!) It's too bad, because I think he has a great imagination and his storylines are always fascinating. But his writing is so stilted that I just can't get into the story and let myself go.

Kay* said...

@Kara - I totally agree with you. But to be honest, it doesn't really bother me so much that his writing is so...simple. I know, I know :) But I guess I kinda just know to expect that in his books and can allow myself to get past it when I'm reading them. I really like his books for the first reason you mentioned - the subject matter. Like you I don't get all in a fit about his...writings about church & religion. I find the storylines so intriguing and always learn something new. I appreciate the research that goes into his work. Do you think if his writing was not so simplistic the books would be better? A part of me thinks that would make it...a slower read and therefore not as fast-paced. Maybe that's just my simple mind :)

Thanks for contributing to the discussion!

Sue @ SimonsSistaSaw said...

I like your review. I'm with you in that the Angels and Demons book is far better than the movie, and I'm favourite of his work. I pre-ordered the Lost Symbol because its release date was a few days before a long haul flight (London - Melbourne, Aus - 24hours). Together with a flight delay, I was able to read it on that flight and another one to New Zealand. It was simply written, but perfect for some escapism. It wasn't earth shattering but was entertaining. I think John Grisham's the same - you know what you are getting but an easy read is always welcome!

Unrelated, a long while ago on your old blog you asked about displaying travelling mementos (shot glasses in your case) - what did you decide? I'm going to post about my collection (bouncy balls) soon.

Beauty Is Diverse said...

Yes I read the Davinci Code, and I enjoyed it.

Kay* said...

@SimonSistaSaw - Thanks! I was kinda really disappointed in how the Angels & Demons movie turned out. I feel that they left out the biggest twist of the book! Can you believe I've never read a Grisham book (at least not that I can remember) maybe I should add one to the list.

With my shot glasses I stored MOST of them but the ones that I really liked I kept out where I keep my wine glasses & such so they were out for people to see but not a main focus. I also use one on my desk to hold my pens, pencils and one on my bookshelf to hold quarters for the laundry. I have seashells from my trip to panama that just this weekend I put into a shadowbox and am going to hang in my bathroom. I hope to do a post soon about collections and how people display theirs :)

@TIffany - Oh I really enjoyed the DaVinci Code too. It was such a fast read because it was so intriguing!

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