30 September 2009
The Lost Symbol - Book Review
Two days ago, I finished reading the recently released novel, The Lost Symbol. For those of you who're yet to read the newspapers, The Lost Symbol, Dan Brown's latest novel, broke publishing records by selling more than 1 million copies in less than 24 hours.
Makes you wonder what the book is about, doesnt it?
Turns out, the 510 page novel is a thrilling read. As with most thriller/mystery novels, The Lost Symbol is a perfect page turner. But sadly, that's more or less all that it is.
For those who've read Dan Brown's previous books, The Lost Symbol seems to offer just one feeling.
As you read through the first few chapters, you get the distinct feeling that you've read something similar before. Something that bore almost the same setting, style and characteristics. There's talk about a mysterious organisation. A sinister man has made a devious threat. A character has either been killed or is in perilious danger. The protaganist, Robert Langdon, is yet again forced to meet a rather inconvenient deadline. His adventure ride is obstructed by a flurry of high ranking officers. The names dont matter. CIA, FBI...perhaps even a new branch of U.S. Government.
And through all this, we're provided with Wikipedia-like information. Everything we want to know about towers, tunnels, symbols, organisations, historical inaccuracies. Mr. Langdon spews it all while trying to save the world.
Of course, if there's one field where Dan Brown impresses, however, it's the subject matter. Just like in Angels & Demons and The Da Vinci Code, he's gone to great lengths to research almost unheard of topics. That's perhaps where the joy lies. There will be moments through out the book when you'll smile, feel surprised, or pause to wonder something. These are the moments when the real brilliance of the book shines through. Even while the main plot is being followed, we learn about secretive technology, hidden organisations, misunderstood historical facts.
Just to make sure you don't get the wrong idea about the novel, you should know that I read it almost without pause. Dan Brown has a way of making you want to know what comes next. Sure, at times it seems formulaic. But it gets the job done. It makes sure you don't put down the book without finishing it. As with almost all of his novels, The Lost Symbol has this quality.
But in the end, it boils down to this. The Lost Symbol, for a first time reader, is everything it promises to be. A thrilling, suspenseful, and ultimately satisfying novel.
But for the rest of us, who've joyfully read his other novels, The Lost Symbol doesn't offer anything new. It repeats much of Dan Brown's tried and tested formula. The first time some of us read The Da Vinci Code, we were spell bound by the author's mastery over such complex yet interesting subjects. However, once you've read all his books, it takes the gloss off Dan Brown's writing.
The Lost Symbol, though in itself a competent thriller with a satisfying end, slightly disappoints as Dan Brown's latest offering....
[If you've read The Lost Symbol, please let me know your own opinion about it, as well as my review. If you havent read the book yet, please let me know how this review has influenced you.]
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at Wednesday, September 30, 2009