Monday, December 28, 2009
The Lost Symbol by Dan Brown
I have very mixed feelings about this one. I was really looking forward to reading this and wanted it to be the first "I JUST LOVED IT" book of my vacation reading....
it just wasn't.
The book is engaging and exciting. But there are so many holes. More than once I felt like I was watching a bad horror movie and yelling at the TV - Don't go in there!!!
Robert Langdon, the main character from Angels and Demons and DaVinci Code, is back. The book opens as he is flying to Washington DC to give a speech for his good friend Peter Solomon. When he arrives at the Capitol Rotunda - there is no speech and no Peter...instead he finds a severed hand, and the head of the CIA. And the book is off and running.
I am usually a reader who just takes the story as it comes. I am not overly critical and completely believe that every book has potential. But, this one really annoyed me. Langdon takes all his cues from cell phone messages from Peter's assistant...never Peter. The CIA director is completely alienating him because national security is at stake, but she is on Langdon's side. And Peter's sister, the brilliant mind scientist, can't seem to remember to use her mind in any situation. There is lots of tight places perfect for Langdon's claustrophobia - which he controls beautifully.
And then there is a mysterious villian who is tattooed from head to toe in blue. Every part of him - except the very top of his head...he is waiting to find the lost word which will open all knowledge to him after he tattoos it there - and he will do that himself after killing and maiming and kidnapping and all other bad stuff.
But, the most disappointing thing about the book is the end, after the end. The basic story is a search for ancient mysteries and knowledge hidden somewhere in Washington DC and guarded by the Masons. Langdon doesn't believe there are actual physical mysteries - but more symbolic. He is wrong...or that's what Brown wants you to think.
So the story basically ends - all is well
...and the book goes on.
I've really liked this technique in some stories. It grounds the characters in a reality when you get to see who they are after the excitement of the event. This isn't that sort of action. INstead this is 20 + pages of preaching and explaining and rambling that were totally not necessary.
So...would I recommend this?
It is exciting and filled with amazing wonders of our fore fathers and Washington DC.
But, it is way to preachy and too safe. Brown takes no chances here. The threat to national security is more like a threat to national reputation and the bad guy may be horrible to look at but lacks the horror of the albino monk.