As a big Dan Brown fan, I've been impatient to finally read about Robert Langdon's newest quest for years now. And with the novel being postponed, it only made me even more eager to get my hands on it. As expected, The Lost Symbol was an immediate success, selling over a million copies on the day of its release. It's your typical Robert Langdon thriller, and Dan Brown sure knows how to keep you interested and turning those pages to learn what happens next.
Having said that, it's obvious Dan Brown is rapidly losing steam. I thought that the delay between The Da Vinci Code and The Lost Symbol would have given the author ample time to come up with new twists, and that this new novel would be original. Unfortunately, Brown seems satisfied with the same old plot formula that was used in both Angels and Demons and The Da Vinci Code. It's basically the exact same recipe, but in a different setting. Yes, it follows the same patterns, with the same type of characters. To a certain extent, it's as if they are all interchangeable. Needless to say, this came as a major disappoitment to someone who's been dying to read this book.
The entire reading experience is not at all bad, mind you. The Lost Symbol is a good novel. Yet most Dan Brown fans were probably expecting something more than just merely good. Yes, the story sucks you in, and you find yourself going through the book quite fast. But in the end, you're just not blown away. Indeed, this one leaves a lot to be desired. . .
Perhaps it's the setting? After all, Washington, D. C., doesn't have the appeal of Rome or Paris. It's a city filled with culture and history, no question, but it has no personality, no energy. Perhaps the setting was more interesting in Angels and Demons and The Da Vinci Code because you followed Langdon searching for clues in more "exotic" environments. The setting for The Lost Symbol was decidedly bland.
Perhaps it's the characters, which appear to be the same ones from previous books, but wearing different faces and different clothes? Mal'akh is another badass villain bent on unveiling lost knowledge that could change the world. Director Sato of the CIA is another ambiguous character playing the good cop/bad cop routine. At least Robert Langdon doesn't have a sexy female sidekick this time around. In any event, though they are all new characters, you get the impression that you have all seen them before.
Perhaps it's the fact that Dan Brown seems to be holding back and not revealing as much as he could pertaining to Freemasonry and its secrets? One thing's for sure: You don't get as much background information as you did in the previous Robert Langdon books. And since the Freemasons are at the very heart of The Lost Symbol, it felt a bit odd to see the author barely scratch the surface.
Perhaps it's the ending, which is clearly nothing to write home about? Based on the fact that the author can really close the show with a bang as he did in Angels and Demons, the ending of The Lost Symbol is definitively anticlimactic.
There's a lot of good stuff in Dan Brown's latest, but to a certain extent you always get a feeling of déjà vu. I believe that more information on Noetic sciences and the Freemasons might have added a few layers to this work.
All in all, The Lost Symbol is an entertaining read. And yet, it's not a novel that will be talked about for months. It's a fun thriller, but more or less a forgettable work that will not capture the imagination of countless readers the way the previous Robert Langdon installments did.
The final verdict: 7.5/10