Recent Read: The Lost Symbol by Dan Brown

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Back in 2003-2004, when The Da Vinci Code was taking the world by storm, I decided to do things the “proper” way (sooo unlike me, right?) and read the first book in Dan Brown’s series... well, first. (Crazy idea, I know.) So I started with Angels and Demons, flying through it pretty quickly, despite being in my senior year of college and not having much interest in reading anything I didn’t have to read. I loooooved Angels and Demons. Later, I went on to read The Da Vinci Code, and although it was entertaining and I liked the mystery surrounding the story, I didn’t find it to be nearly as intriguing as Angels and Demons. Go figure.

I feel much of the same way about Dan Brown’s latest installment in the Robert Langdon series, The Lost Symbol. Was it interesting? Sure. Was it full of Brown’s signature suspense? Yes. Was it entertaining? Uh huh. But still, for me, it could not live up to the thrill of Angels and Demons. Sorry, Mr. Brown!

In The Lost Symbol, Robert Langdon is back, and he is—you guessed it—thrust into another life or death situation in which only his extensive knowledge of symbology and history can save the day. One of Langdon’s close friends, who happens to be an influential leader among the Masons, has been abducted and is being held at the whim of a madman. (On a side note, I always find it amusing how sophisticated the villains’ plans are in Brown’s novels. Oh, the lengths his bad guys will go...)

This time, instead of traveling across the Atlantic to Rome or Paris, Langdon stays closer to home as this mystery unfolds in our nation’s capital, Washington, D.C. The story’s villain is after something that he feels only Langdon can give him, which is the knowledge to decipher a very specific code. Of course, it’s not that easy, and we follow Langdon through a harrowing evening of adventure and horror.

As with any other Dan Brown novel, I found myself bored with many of his tangents, during which he uses Langdon’s intelligence and experience to depart from the story to enlighten us about some obscure group of people in history and tells us all about the historic symbols. Some of these things can be interesting, but for most of them, I found myself skimming because for me, a layperson who doesn’t know much about these groups or their symbols, the knowledge adds nothing to the story. Some of it just seems to go on and on... and on. Let’s put it this way—there is a reason why Brown’s books are so long. The man can be long-winded! (I do not know anyone else who has a tendency to be wordy. I do not. Nope. Stop looking at me.)

Still, like I said, I did enjoy the book and it is a departure from the type of novel that I usually enjoy. I ended up buying it for my dad for Christmas, as I knew he would find it interesting as well. He is a history buff and lives not too far away from D.C. After we had both gotten through the book, it was fun to discuss with him.

If you’ve read Dan Brown’s other novels and enjoyed them, I think you’ll enjoy The Lost Symbol, too. If you’ve never read anything by Dan Brown, I recommend starting with Angels and Demons. Although the books in this series do not need to be read in order, I think Angels and Demons is the best way to introduce you to Brown, and get your feet wet in terms of all of the symbology!

3 comments:

Jacqueline March 22, 2010 at 9:23 PM  

I have to agree... Angels & Demons was definitely my favorite by FAR!

Jacki

Becky March 22, 2010 at 10:37 PM  

Angels & Demons was so much better than the others!! I didn't really like this book too much. Once the big Lost Symbol 'reveal' happened, I was pretty disappointed with the whole thing.

Megan March 23, 2010 at 8:15 AM  

I agree with you and what the others have said! Angels & Demons was, by far, the best of those books!

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