The Lost Symbol – Dan Brown

March 17, 2010 § 17 Comments

I borrowed this book from a friend of mine. He bought it on the first day it hit the shelves last year. I’ve been waiting to see when this book would finally be taken off the ‘What’s Hot’ shelf at the library (which means I have to pay $5 to borrow the book forย  fortnight) and finally put on the normal shelves. But it hasn’t happened yet. I’m not so sure why.

Anyway, in The Lost Symbol, Robert Langdon is yet again unknowingly roped into a mysterious case that involves symbolism, the Freemasons, and the authorities. This time, though, science plays a huge part in how the story unfolds, with ancient mysticism coming into the fray as well.

Now, I have to say that I have read all of Dan Brown’s books so far. And I really did enjoy reading Angels and Demons. It started to drag a little in his second book of the Langdon series (I’m calling it a series anyway), The Da Vinci Code. I was kind of disappointed that this book didn’t stop the trend.

There were some new ideas, and some of the science bits included in the book did sound rather interesting. But on the whole, the book didn’t work for me. At around page 241, I was starting to wonder why the book didn’t seem to want to end. There were multiple times in the storyline when I felt like the story should close in the next 50 pages or so, but it just went on and on until it finally ended on page 509.

Maybe Brown was trying to put too much into a single volume. I can’t say the plot was slow moving, because it was anything but. The story was fastpaced, the kind that keeps you turning the pages. Which is also the reason why I managed to finish the book regardless of how unsatisfied I felt with it. Maybe I was hoping for a good twist. But somehow, despite the many things happening all at once in the plot, I was pretty much able to predict what the outcome might be.

I skimmed a lot of the pages, just willing the book to end. I’m not one to praise myself for having a good concentration, because I don’t. A lot of the time, I get distracted very easily by one thing or another. But with this book, distractions came every other chapter. Not a very good sign.

All that said and done, if Brown wrote another book about Robert Langdon and his wild theories about mysticism and religion, I think I’d still read it. Funny that I should feel this way, but that’s just how it is.

Rating: 2.5

* Did anyone else read this? What did you think? Anything I missed that might have made the book good for me?

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§ 17 Responses to The Lost Symbol – Dan Brown

  • Michelle says:

    Postscript: Actually, now coming to think of it. I’m not sure if the book was really that fast-paced at all. I remember going into my sister’s room at regular intervals saying, “The book is SOO slow..”. I think it might have something to do with Brown suspending the plot for a little while as he explains new uncovered mysteries.

    Maybe in the end, it just had too many things happening all at the same time.

  • chasing bawa says:

    Do you think it’s because of all they hype surrounding the book? I read the Da Vinci Code long after Angels and Demons (which I enjoyed because I was interested in the Illuminati) and Umberto Eco’s ‘Foucault’s Pendulum’ and Baigent, Leigh and Lincoln’s ‘The Holy Blood and the Holy Grail’ so I wasn’t overwhelmed with the story so much. But I do recall reading it quite fast. But I do agree that he tried to put too much into the book, and I wasn’t really impressed with the ending which was predictable.

    • Michelle says:

      I think the hype might have a little to do with it. Sometimes I find that books/movies that are too hyped about tend to disappoint me more, simply because I expect a lot. There’ve been times I’ve avoided reading/watching the book/movie altogether. (Tim Burton’s Alice in Wonderland is currently one of them..)

      You seem to read quite a lot of books like that, which are also things I’m rather interested in. Would love to pick your brain for suggestions of books on these topics, but maybe some other day. I hope you don’t mind if I send you an email next time asking for recommendations. =)

  • Hmm, I’ve only read Dan Brown’s Da Vinci Code. I got really hooked on that and read through it pretty quickly. I guess it’s a tough act to follow, especially now with all the hype (i agree with chasing bawa on that!) ! I’m not too keen on reading anymore Dan Brown though. I have read a few other historical novels which were surprisingly good – like Philippa Gregory, Kate Mosse, Tracy Chevalier, and The Historian by Elizabeth Kostova (wait, this isnt a historical novel). and now I am rambling heehee.

    • Michelle says:

      All rambling is welcome. =)

      I enjoyed very much The Historian, though I havaen’t read any of the other authors you mentioned. Somehow I’m reluctant to start Philippa Gregory, though I’ve got one of her novels sitting on my shelf right this minute.

  • kiss a cloud says:

    I’m super interested in Dan Brown’s subject matter but just couldn’t get past his writing. Tried The Da Vinci Code for up to 3 pages and it was torture. Sorry! ๐Ÿ˜€

    I’ll be reading Umberto Eco’s Foucalt’s Pendulum soon, though, so that should give me my fix. Eco is brilliant so I have high hopes, as I’ve loved everything else by him.

    I do get why you’d read the next in the series even if you didn’t like this so much, though. I was a Stephen King fan in my adolescence and teens, and was in love with his first book in The Dark Tower Series, The Gunslinger, so I plodded my way through all seven books even when midway through I really didn’t like it anymore (even hated it past some poine). But, it just is. I didn’t regret reading it. It’s wanting to finish what you started, and also it’s sort of a comfort thing. ๐Ÿ™‚

    • Michelle says:

      I think Angels and Demons was probably his better novels. (And to think it was his first..) His books just started getting longer and longer, his prose more and more redundant and repetitive. But I’m not *too* fussy about writing style unless it completely alienates me. But I can see how his style might so not be your type. (After all, who doesn’t like beautiful language, no?)

      You’re the second person to mention Eco’s book here under this post, so I might check him out later and see what the book’s about. I’m swarmed with too many good books to read, though.

      And you so completely got it right. It is a comfort thing.

  • mee says:

    You’ve read all Dan Brown’s books? That’s new!

    I haven’t read one. I have Da Vinci Code on my shelf (bought) and some other hand-downs from my mom’s friend. I’m not sure if I will ever read them. I would like to, if only to try and know what it is about him that makes his books so popular.

    • Michelle says:

      I know right? Not something you’d expect. I came across his books once when I was doing some cleaning work for someone (was something I did part-time a couple of years back), and the owner was kind enough to lend me her collection.

      I don’t really know exactly what makes his books so popular, but they are thrillers, and they do keep me turning the pages. So he’s definitely successful in that way. My opinion anyway.

  • JoV says:

    I have read all of Dan Brown’s books, because back then (my pre-blogging days) no one talks about other books except Dan Brown, DAN BRown and more Dan BRowns…..

    Having said that, I enjoyed Angels and Demons and Da Vinci Code, The Lost Symbol not too bad,because I was kinda bought into those self-actualisation concept of, “your body is a temple, therefore you got key to unlock your potential” kinda mumbo-jumbo, ha ha…

    Better luck with his next book. I think I might stop reading another Dan Brown’s book.

    • Michelle says:

      Funny, because I didn’t even know about Dan Brown until I saw his books on a shelf one day. I read all his books without knowing there was hype surrounding him! (I was rather obscure from the reading world at that time, I’m rather sad to say. Glad that’s changed.)

  • catmeng says:

    ew, I hated The Lost Symbol! Actually, I bought it the day it came out (lame, I know), read it that night, and then returned it the next day.

    I agree with many of the other commenters here – DB peaked at Angels and Demons, and it all kind of went downhill from there. In A/D there’s at least legit corrupt bad guy, while in The Lost Symbol you get to the end and it’s like So, What? DB’s preachy voice just gets more and more annoying. I don’t know if I can read his next book either…

    NY Magazine did a funny series of reviews on The Lost Symbol you might enjoy:
    http://nymag.com/arts/books/bookclub/lost-symbol/

    • Michelle says:

      Thanks for the link Catherine. Your reaction to the book was exactly like the one my friend had (the one I borrowed the book from). He too bought it on the day it came out, so the book was at half price (which is still pretty hefty, considering that it was still more expensive than the others books on the shelves..).

  • Vishy says:

    Interesting review! I got the book on the day it was released last year, and read it in a few days time ๐Ÿ™‚ I think the book release was an event, but the book didn’t live up to the hype. It was interesting to read in your review that you felt that the book was dragging on and at many times you felt that the story was going to end in 50 pages. I felt somewhat similarly too, and I would say it is the least gripping story of Dan Brown till now – I feel that even ‘Deception Point’ and ‘Digital Fortress’ were better than this. My favourite out of the Robert Langdon novels is ‘The Da Vinci Code’ because I read it first and also I read the illustrated edition (it is so gorgeous!), but I feel that ‘Angels and Demons’ is also equally good. I think Dan Brown’s plots have fallen into a stereotype now and he is not able to break free from it. But for old-time’s sake, I will still read his next book ๐Ÿ™‚

    • Michelle says:

      I’ve been told that the illustration edition of The Da Vinci Code is beautiful, and I believe that, simply because the places mentioned are beautiful. I’d love to have read the illustrated version, though I have a feeling I might concentrate more on the images than the words. Haha..

  • spaspenev says:

    All Dan Brown’s books are great. I love it

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