Dan Brown's The Lost Symbol Review

I finished reading The Lost Symbol by Dan Brown late, late, late last night. This was the third late night in a row. Needless to say I really liked this book, but be warned; do not start reading it unless you have several days to commit to it because once started you really will not want to put it down.

I’ve now read all of Dan Brown’s books. There are a couple of other’s besides The DaVinci Code and Angels and Demons. There is a problem with all of them in that they seem to follow the same formula.

  • There is always some brilliant scientist or professor or, heaven help us, Symbologist as the main character.

  • There is always some brilliant, yet vulnerable woman who must be saved while at the same time seems to have the key to solving the mystery.

  • There is always some sort of new science or techno-wonder that becomes a side character of its own.

  • There is always some obsessive agent of the law in hot pursuit dogging the heroes every move.

  • Almost always there’s some freak-show carnie reject that is going around doing all the bad stuff

  • There is almost always some mastermind behind the whole thing that isn’t revealed until the end.

This book diverts from this formula slightly but in enough ways to make it a most enjoyable and exciting read.

A few problems though. I kept waiting for the funny guy from National Treasure to show up. What I mean by that is, this plot has already been done. Who didn’t love National Treasure? It was a great flick with lots of action, arcane tidbits about American History, codes, symbols and keys, car chases, mad men, government agents, shoot-outs, etc, etc. Of course, I was also a big fan of Iron Eagle, Deep Impact, Rob Roy and Antz. All movies that ripped off other movies but came out before the other movie it was ripping off had come out (Top Gun, Armageddon, Braveheart, A Bug’s Life).

The other problem is this book suffers from the John McClain syndrome. Die Hard was great, but the sequel instantly begged the question: “How can the same sh*t happen to the same guy so often?” This is the third massive adventure for famed Harvard Professor and Symbologist Robert Langdon. First of all, is there really such a thing as a Symbologist? Microsoft Word doesn’t think so as it thinks I’m misspelling it and has no alternative. And if Symbologists do exist how exciting can their life be? If you took all the truly exciting things that all the Symbologist in all the world from the beginning of time had ever done and attributed them to a single character, it probably wouldn’t fill a single page of paper. Yet, this Robert Langdon chap falls knee deep into one dangerous and exciting adventure after another; three whole novels worth now. I think it’s time for him to go back to teaching and never, ever leave the Harvard campus again.

Short chapters with a cliff-hanger at the end of almost every single one makes for fast reading. Like I said it’s difficult to put down. I’m sure it’s controversial and offensive to some people. The Freemasons are the target of this particular book, but Brown shows a great respect and sympathy for them and their order and since I don’t know a dang thing about them, I don’t have much to add here on that topic. If they’re ticked, so be it and if they’re not, who cares. If you read any work of fiction and find yourself offended perhaps you should stop reading the book or at least gently remind yourself that IT’S A WORK OF FICTION FOR HEAVEN’S SAKE!!!!

OK, bottom line, I recommend this book. I give it 4 stars not because it was really great literature but because it was fun, and exciting and kept me riveted unlike any other book I’ve read in the last year or two. Give it a read and be quick about it as I’m sure the movie will be out next summer with Tom Hanks sporting that goofy hairdo so popular among the more notable Symbologist.


Zac Pritcher said...

Ahh, Free Masons. What the hell are they!

I refuses to believe anyone, even the most hardcore elite Free Masons, have any clue what Free Masons are. I think we're the ones being tricked into thinking they really exist.

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