Thursday, January 14

Book Review: The Lost Symbol


Title: The Lost Symbol

Author: Dan Brown

Pages: 508

Summary: WHAT WAS LOST WILL BE FOUND...Washington DC: Harvard symbologist Robert Langdon is summoned at the last minute to deliver an evening lecture in the Capitol Building. Within moments of his arrival, however, a disturbing object - gruesomely encoded with five symbols - is discovered at the epicentre of the Rotunda. It is, he recognises, an ancient invitation, meant to beckon its recipient towards a long-lost world of hidden esoteric wisdom. When Langdon's revered mentor, Peter Solomon - philanthropist and prominent mason - is brutally kidnapped, Langdon realizes that his only hope of saving his friend's life is to accept this mysterious summons and follow wherever it leads him. Langdon finds himself quickly swept behind the facade of America's most historic city into the unseen chambers, temples and tunnels which exist there. All that was familiar is transformed into a shadowy, clandestine world of an artfully concealed past in which Masonic secrets and never-before-seen revelations seem to be leading him to a single impossible and inconceivable truth. A brilliantly composed tapestry of veiled histories, arcane icons and enigmatic codes, The Lost Symbol is an intelligent, lightning-paced thriller that offers surprises at every turn. For, as Robert Langdon will discover, there is nothing more extraordinary or shocking than the secret which hides in plain sight...

My Rating: 2/10

What I liked/disliked about the book: To start off, I should say I’ve read Dan Brown’s work in the past, and I did like the previous two books in the Robert Langdon series. They weren’t fantastic reads by any stretch, but good for a quick mindless read. But, I’m not a big fan of Dan Brown, and wasn’t planning on reading his book, but because I’m doing a thriller category for a challenge, (even though I have little books I own, or little experience in the thriller/suspense department), I decided to give him another try. I regret it. I stopped reading it twice, but because I am one of those people who have to finish a book once I start them, I pushed my self through. Like with a band-aid, read the book quickly, and the pain will be over.

First of all, the book could be about half as long as it really is. There was so much drivel and pointless chapters in the book, you wonder what the author and editors were thinking. But that was the best of the bad. I get it’s a thriller, so you want to have suspense built up, making the reader want to keep reading all night, in order to find out what happens next in the story. But does every single chapter really need to end in a cliff-hanger? I found that because every chapter ended with a cliff hanger, ninety-percent of the time of which shouldn’t have even been a cliff-hanger, it took away from the “important” cliff-hangers when they finally did come. Not to mention, it was made so obvious it was a cliff-hanger I’m surprised there weren’t the words “dun, dun, dun” written at the end of each chapter just to tell the reader, that yes, it is in fact a cliff-hanger.

Secondly, show don’t tell! This book breaks that rule tenfold. I don’t need to be told what every character is thinking when the other characters are talking to them. It becomes redundant after a while when we’re explained that the character is in disbelief, only to have thoughts of the character in italics to show that they’re thinking. It was just implied the character is shocked, or in disbelief or thinks the other character is insane by the description on their face/body language, it’s not needed to then explain it again through the characters thoughts. Pick one or the other not both. Also I don’t need an in-depth description of every action or movement a character takes. Telling me how the character pushed up their sleeve up their arm, in order for them to look down at their wrist because said sleeve covered their watch just to tell the time is a waste of time and causes the reader to lose interest fast and it takes away from the actual story line. Telling the reader he checked to see the time is good enough.
One HUGE issue I had with the “show don’t tell” aspect of the book, was at one point the author basically tells the reader he’s about to reveal a plot twist. “Ironically, this same code had been a plot twist in a mediocre thriller Langdon had read years ago” (Pg 355). I’m sorry, but stating that is a bit of an insult to the reader’s intelligence. He might as well have stated plot twist ahead, be ready!

What I liked about the book. Hmm the idea behind the story does have some potential. If written differently and if the story wasn’t a huge cliché for 500 pages, it could have been a lot more enjoyable than it was. Dan Brown’s overall idea behind the story isn’t a bad one. It isn’t overly great either, but the idea has the potential for a good, mindless read for a rainy day.

Overall, not a very good read, and certainly not worth all the hype it gets. But, one good thing about Dan Brown, his books are far better than their movie counterparts.

Would I recommend it to read: No. I wouldn't. If you like Dan Brown, read the book. Otherwise avoid it, at all costs. (Although it is a rather thick and heavy book, it could make a good paper weight, door stop, or stepping stool.)

What to read next: Thrillers, that haven't been written by Dan Brown. I'm not a big thriller reader, although trying to get into them. Hmm, I'd say if you're a big thriller reader, use the tags thriller on library thing and pick one. If you like Dan Brown, and haven't read the other books in the Langdon series read them. (I did enjoy Angels and Demons).

Challenges: Read and Review, Pages Read Challenge, 10/10 Category Challenge, 52 in 52 Challenge,
100+ Challenge, A - Z ChallengeCountdown Challenge, Global Challenge, NaJuReMoNoMo, Support Your Library Challenge


6 comments:

  1. Alrighty then! A take not prisoners approach on this book review, but you know what...it is your opinion and heck that is why we came to your site! I definitely understand the overly-detailed aspect...although I have not read Dan Brown's books, there is a more recent release by another author (who shall remain nameless at this time) that literally took 3 pages to describe how a gentleman character was eating a bowl of soup. I mean step by step, inch by inch, as the spoon turns...it was quite annoying actually. The story ended up being okay in the end, but too much description killed the mood for me. Thanks for sharing your honest opinion and good luck with the rest of that challenge! Happy reading!

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  2. I really didn't like Angels & Demons and have never read anything by Brown since. And i have to admit, I've been much happier since learning how to put down a book I hate a couple years ago. I'm not perfect at it, adn sometimes I still read some real rotters all the way through, but for the most part I've gotten much better at putting stuff aside and that makes me really happy.

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  3. I've only read The Da Vinci Code which was just okay, so I don't think I'll be picking up this one.

    I used to force myself to finish books I wasn't enjoying, but these days there are too many good books just waiting to be read and so little time that if I'm not enjoying it 50 to 100 pages in, I give up. I might pick it up again at some point, but for right now, I just move on. (Actually I'll be posting my thoughts on a DNF later today.)

    --Anna
    Diary of an Eccentric

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  4. I didn't give this quite as low a grade as you, but I did post my reaction to this book which sounded a bit similar to yours in terms of the fact that the story didnt really matter - the way the story was told just didn't necessarily work

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  5. GMR - Your comment made me laugh. Also, the three pages of eating soup sounds like torture. That would have been horrible! I like descriptions, but of the scenery, the epic battle happening below. Checking ones watch doesn't need long descriptions. Happy reading to you!

    Amanda - I'm working on putting books down, I have done it twice in the past. Although the one book was because I had to return it to the library or face fees, so I do plan on reading it again at some point. One of the neat things about Angels and Demons for me was a family member recently went there, so I saw pictured of a lot of the settings in the book.

    Anna - Maybe that will be this years reading resolution, don't read bad books. Hmmm.

    Marg - I found reading a bunch of reviews, a lot of us felt that way. I don't think I'll be reading anymore Dan Brown, so at least I learned something from the book.

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  6. I will give a book a chance at least a hundred pages in. If I still am not liking it by then, I put the book down and don't look back.

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