The Lost Symbol


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

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15 commentaires:

Christopher said...

Washington DC has no culture or energy? You mean, as written by Brown, right?

Patrick said...

You read wrong. DC has no personality and no energy. I know, I spent a week there. On the other hand, it has more culture and history than most cities on Earth...

Roland said...

This has to be the third most ridiculous statement I've heard this year. Sorry, not trying to be mean, but it is...

Especially considering how at least three continents have a few MILLENIA of history on top of anything DC could ever offer...

Dream Girlzzz said...

Yes, but with its myriad museums Washington DC covers it all. Few places in the world boast as much culture and history as the US capital...

Have you been there, Roland? Not trying to diss you or anything, but that statement didn't make you sound all that bright.

Anonymous said...

Few places in the world boast as much culture and history as the US capital...

Are you kidding? The US capital is barely over 200 years old.

James said...

"Yes, but with its myriad museums Washington DC covers it all. Few places in the world boast as much culture and history as the US capital..."

Really? I can think of ten cities straight away that boast more history and culture: Athens, Istanbul, Rome, London, Paris, Venice, Prague, Cairo, Damascus and Jerusalem. There's plenty more.

I'm not criticising DC's history at all, but suggesting few cities can match it for history and culture is totally wide of the mark. Take Istanbul for example - it dates back to 6500 BC and has been the capital of four different empires. Washington DC just cannot compete with that sort of history.

Angelo said...

I guess Dream Girlzzz meant that Washington has little pieces of foreign culture in their museums... Yeah, that beats the originals. :)

Christopher said...

Well, I spent a year in DC, and found that it has a vibrant personality and tons of energy. I moved there when I came back to the states because it reminds me most of the city I lived in in Europe--Paris.

Anonymous said...

I love this blog, but I find that often the comments seem to be voluntarily obtuse...

I remember someone asking Pat to include discussion forums with the Hotlist a while back. It would be like running a daycare, if you ask me...

Stacy

Roland said...

I've never been to Washington. I am, however, an European and I've visited many major European cities. Nothing in North America can compare with the history of cities like Paris for example.

And no, I got nothing against either America in general, or Washington in particular. I love America. I actually LIVE and study in America right now.

But even though it's had an amazingly "thick" and "eventful" history, 200 years are 200 years, and 2000 are 2000 (or in the cases of many Asian and African countries - 6000-9000 are 6000-9000).

And just a little hint - all major European cities have museums. Many of those actually. Also architecture that dates thousands of years back, stuff like that yunno. That said, I'd like to visit Washington at some point.

But I still consider the statement that it has "more culture and history than most cities on Earth" laughable to put it as mildly as humanly possible.

Anonymous said...

There is something seriously wrong about your rating system if a recycled Dan Frickin' Brown story can net a 7.5.

Anonymous said...

Everything must receive a 7.5 review on Pat's Fantasy Blog!

Roland said...

True that :D

maine character said...

The book doesn't need any more advertising, but for anyone interested, NBC has an hour on it tonight at 9 pm.

Øystein said...

Well, I haven't read it. Because I picked up - sometime, I don't know when - his first two novels for the price of one. Think it was at Heathrow. Anyway, I'd already read the Da Vinci code. And it struck me: Dan Brown only knows how to write one novel. If it's true what you say, that this one fits the same pattern, then he has written the same novel five times over.

Also, knowing that he invents quite a few of his facts, I just can't see any reason to read this book.