Friday, October 23, 2009

The Lost Symbol - Dan Brown

Summary: What is lost...will be found.

Set within the hidden chambers, tunnels, and temples of Washington, D.C., The Lost Symbol accelerates through a startling landscape toward and unthinkable finale.

As the story opens, Harvard symbologist Robert Langdon is summoned unexpectedly to deliver an evening lecture in the U.S. Capitol Building. Within minutes of his arrival, however, the night takes a bizarre turn. A disturbing object--artfully encoded with five symbols--is discovered in the Capitol Building. Langdon recognizes the object as an ancient invitation...one meant to user its recipient into a long-lost world of esoteric wisdom.

When Langdon's beloved mentor, Peter Solomon--a prominent Mason and philanthropist--is brutally kidnapped, Langdon realizes his only hope of saving Peter is to accept this mystical invitation and follow wherever it leads him. Langdon is instantly plunged into a clandestine world of Masonic secrets, hidden history, and never-before-seen locations--all of which seem to be dragging him toward a single, inconceivable truth. (summary and image from amazon.com)

My review: It’s been a long LONG time since I read The Da Vinci Code—some time back before my babies were born when I had unlimited guilt-free reading time on my hands. I was expecting, as with TDVC, to open the covers of The Lost Symbol and be sucked into the mystery. The Lost Symbol is definitely a page turner--thanks in large part to Brown’s irritating habit of ending a chapter in a tense moment with words like “Something was very very wrong” and then switching to another character’s storyline. Brown is a master at leaving you hanging precipitously, thoroughly engaged, and frustrated beyond belief. I found, however, it took me longer to get into the story and that it was easier for me to put down than I expected. This could be partially due to me having kids who actually, I don’t know, want me to pay attention to them, so please take that particular criticism with a grain of salt.

However, what engaged me the most in The Da Vinci Code is also what I liked best about The Lost Symbol—the religious and philosophical aspects of the story. While TDVC dealt mainly in Catholic ritual and the Divine Feminine, The Lost Symbol examines the concept of apotheosis, or the theoretical ability of men to become like God, and Noetic science, or the study of how a physical transformation can take place using only the mind. I know that the above ideas, or their presence in a book, supremely offend some people. I don’t need to be reminded that either book is fiction, but I enjoyed the challenge to my ideas and my faith. I liked being forced to wrap my mind around new concepts and see how other faiths mirrored or differed from my own. It was thought provoking and, well, interesting.

One of the weakest aspects of this book, along with Langdon’s rampant skepticism and inability to have faith in anyone else’s knowledge, was it’s occasional predictability. Within moments of one specific character’s introduction or the mention of a location, I was fairly certain I knew (attempting to not spoil here) who the bad guy was and where The Big Secret was hidden—and guess what? I was right. Now, I still couldn’t predict all the ins and outs of the story and there were still quite a few surprises and twists that I didn’t see coming so it wasn’t a complete wash, but I still felt a little let down when I found out I’d been right all along.

Despite its inherent weaknesses, I still feel that The Lost Symbol is a gripping, thought-provoking book that will likely appeal a great deal to people of both genders. Its strengths far outweigh its weaknesses and so I’ll still recommend it to others—especially those who have enjoyed his previous books.

My rating: 4 Stars (though I did consider a 3.9) A good read, and one that I would recommend, but probably won't be buying myself.

Sum it up: Standard Dan Brown - full of fascinating tidbits you didn't even know you didn't know.

4 comments:

Gerbera Daisy Mom said...

Dan Brown novels are my Twilight!

Dave and Teresa said...

I had a difficult time getting into this book as well. It isn't as gripping as TDVC or Angels and Demons. It was an interesting read however Brown, in my opinion, followed his usual storyline, there always has to be a girl and Langdon is always running. It was somewhat disappointing as I was very much looking forward to this read because of how much I loved the other two.

Popular Reads! said...

I always see this book at the bookstore but I never pick it up.

MindySue said...

I felt it was more of a library read--or a mass market paperback investment. I liked it, but don't really have a desire to OWN it.

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