Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Dan Brown -- The Lost Symbol -------- 4.5 Stars


As the third foot of snow in five days finishes falling, I am taking some time to review the highly anticipated The Lost Symbol by Dan Brown. Although I did not expect to read this in the near future (and thus it was not listed in the "Book I am Reading Right Now" section of the blog), I suddenly found time to get through this 500 page novel while sitting at home for the last week. For those people away from the D.C. area you probably are not aware of the problems here, but I have left my house once in the last six days, school has been closed seven of eight days in the past two weeks, and I have shoveled an average of 1 hour and 30 minutes four days this week. Nonetheless, sitting at home has given me plenty of time to get through this book. In fact, I needed only three days to finish this wonderfully written and suspenseful page turner.

I have talked with more than a few people about this book before reading it and I have received mixed reviews. Though, for the most part, the opinion is the same -- it was "exactly the same as the Da Vinici Code" and "substitute Italy for D.C. and you got the same book". Well, I'd have to agree with those people but also say -- who cares? I have no qualms with this book being incredibly similar to the DaVinici Code; in fact, I can not fault the author for following a formula that works exceptionally well. Perhaps some of the 'originality' is gone but it's still very, very entertaining and a great story. To me, there is nothing wrong with a great sequel.

The book is basically another story of Robert Langdon, master symbologist, having to follow seemingly unrelated clues to save someone special to him. What I particularly enjoyed with this novel was the American historical references (Masons anyone?) and the entire tale being told in and around the Washington, D.C. area. The Capitol, Library of Congress, and Washington Monument were essential setting pieces and played important parts in the overall plot.

Brown follows the same old script from his other novels -- crazy secrets, bizarre symbols, odd quandaries that can only be answered with great historical knowledge, and cliffhanger chapter endings a plenty. In fact, it would be a shame not to mention how underrated the cliffhanger chapter ending is. It's commonplace in many novels, but after personally reading so many non-fiction pieces latley (which often ends chapters with with a boring 'duh'), it's nice to finish a chapter and have the feeling that you can't put the novel down as you want SO MUCH to find out what happens next. In many ways, that is the best feature of this book. Dan Brown does such a superb and phenomenal job maintaining reader interest that it really is easy to finish this book in a mere matter of days. I've heard of people finishing the book in only two sittings. It's such an easy and enjoyable read and the flow of the novel is so reader friendly.

In the end, the novel receives such a high rating because of it's off the chart entertainment value. It may not be filled with symbolism, great character development, and a memorable story but it's a book you can't put down and can't help but get into and wonder more about the possibility of it's truthfulness. Like the Da Vinci Code, Brown claims that much of the book is is based on fact and reality and one wonders about the realness of many of the items in the novel. Even the end of the novel, which I was sure would not live up to the hype that was being raised exponentially as the book went one, was about a good and ending as could be anticipated.

Well enough rambling on -- go read this book if you have a chance. It won't take long and you'll have difficulty putting it down. You may finish it and claim it was "just like the Da Vinici Code" and old hat, but I promise you, you will be entertained.

1 comment:

  1. I was not a huge fan. I got bored really fast with the endless deadends. Cut 30-60 chapters out and it would have been better - a lot better.