Friday, November 20, 2009

Friday Book Review: The Lost Symbol

As promised I have finished reading The Lost Symbol by Dan Brown, SO YOU DON'T HAVE TO! Usually, I like to stay positive with my book reviews so I tend to shy away from reviewing books I haven't enjoyed. However, when I picked this book it was for the express intention of cutting loose with my vitriolic sarcasm. Surprisingly, I didn't hate this book.

A number of years ago when The DaVinci Code was all the rage I decided to look into this hot new author. To that end I checked out Angles & Demons, The DaVinci Code, Deception Point and Digital Fortress. Reading all four of these books in a two week period. I do not recommend reading that many books by a single author in such a short span as you really begin to pick up on their formula. This was very much the case as I can distill the plot for all of Dan Brown's novels down into this simple scaffolding:
  1. An old man dies who is a grand master of a secret society.
  2. The protagonist is called to the scene by the dying grand master and only he can solve the riddle.
  3. The love interest of the protagonist is somehow related to the dead grand master.
  4. There is a grotesque assassin hunting the protagonist and love interest.
  5. Also a misguided member of a law enforcement agency who is chasing the protagonist and love interest.
  6. Behind it all is a secret enemy who is pulling all the strings and it is the person YOU'D LEAST EXPECT!
Sadly, after reading more than one of Dan Brown's novels it becomes laughingly easy to pick out the eventual villain. The Lost Symbol is no exception to the above rules as it follows each one of them with a slight twist that I won't mention for those of you who want to read this book.

Anyway, as I said The Lost Symbol follows Mr. Brown's usual formula and apparently the characters act in such a way that they'll believe anything that anyone says to them over the phone. Regardless, of the current situation where prudence should be exercised.

However the strength of the novel lies in the research done on the Freemasons and the city of Washington D.C. Both of which play a huge role in The Lost Symbol. It is there where I find the book to be entertaining but I confess I have not checked any of the facts laid out in this book but I suspect that some artistic license must have been applied. This is not unlike his previous two Robert Langdon novels Angles & Demons (Roman Catholic Church and Vatican City) and The DaVinci Code (Knights Templar and Paris).

Also, it wouldn't be a Dan Brown book without some religious controversy but I can't get into that without revealing major plot points. Grrr!

As much as I wanted to pants this book I'll have to give it a borrow rating. It wasn't as bad as I expected but maybe I just had really low expectations.

However, I feel bad of those who've shown up looking for me to shred Dan Brown. For that you want to read this sarcastic review of the book by Jennifer McKeown. Well played Jennifer, I couldn't agree more.

No comments: