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Book Details

Title:   The Lost Symbol
Author:   Dan Brown
Times Read:   1
Last Read:   03.06.10

Other Books Read By This Author (3)
- Deception Point
- Digital Fortress
- Inferno

Notes History
Date Read Note
03.06.10 I don't know how long ago I read Da Vinci Code and Angels & Demons so I don't know if this book differs from those or remains true but this was a really mixed bag for me. I suspect this one resembles his previous works quite a bit and it's just that the excitement of historical hidden symbolism has worn off a bit but... Dan Brown is really not a great writer. It's odd but I think I would've preferred this book as non-fiction. If this book was "Hi, I'm Dan Brown and over the next 300 pages I'm going to detail some of the more interesting facts and symbols of Freemasonry, Washington DC, and an extended chapter on Noetic Sciences" instead of this historical thriller starring a bunch of people who are not believable put in equally unbelievable situations, I would have enjoyed it much much more. Instead, I have to sift through arbitrary jumps in logic, tepid plot development, and an overwhelming amount of supposed cliffhanger chapter endings in order to get the occasional interesting factoid or exploration of topics that pique my interest. I don't get how Robert Langdon can be uncannily coherent one moment then not realize something so basic the next. Of course it's just Brown's way of flipping back and forth between Langdon racing ahead and behind the reader but it just comes off as frustrating to me. Mostly this book comes off as not having enough historical intrigue to carry a whole book. This one puzzle of the masonic pyramid - the chapters dealing directly with it are Brown at his best - but there is way too much talking about the puzzle and arguing about it and wondering about it and talking about arguing about it in between the actual meat of the matter. All of this stuff is not fun to slog through. And the noetic science stuff... I guess it's interesting but I didn't really care for it and thought it fit into the book in a really clunky manner. Also, all the talk of spiritual existence set up a twist that i absolutely hated. To me, there are two kinds of surprises that you can have in books or movies or whatever. There's the kind of surprise where you're following along entertained or even trying to figure it out but can't really come up with a perfect answer then they lay it out for you and it either meets your expectations or exceeds them (heretofore known as the GOOD kind of surprise), and then there's the kind of surprise where they set up a situation that obviously makes you think one thing, and that thing is the most cliche unattractive boring waste of a thing you can imagine so you spend a bunch of time dreading that it might be the thing you're thinking about and hoping it's not but all the more getting feedback solidifying that your crappy idea of what's going on is real and then - Tada! - it's a not-as-crappy-version of what you thought it would be! I guess both kinds of surprises hopefully exceed your expectations, but the BAD kind is like saying "surprise! My answer is not quite as lame as you thought it would be!" instead of "surprise! my answer is awesome!". In the case of a bad surprise, you spend a LONG time during the book or movie thinking about crap, which is not fun. So this book had a few BAD surprises for me. When I read the reveals I was like "eh, ok... I guess" which didn't do much to win me over. It's just kind of a shame that Brown's grasp on things like prose and character don't match his research and puzzle-making skills.



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