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.

Déjà vu.

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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  1. Nice review... maybe i should try and get my hands on it. You're bang on abt Brown's books. They are 'unputdownable'. But usually i'm disappointed with his endings. becomes very filmy. but the journey till the end of the book is usually worth it... absolutely brilliant writing and phenomenal research.

  2. Now that was a good review!
    Dan Brown's books have one resemblance. All goes well till the end, but in the climax the villain is the one whom the hero solely trusted.
    I have the lost symbol with me, but I haven't started reading it yet, will do so this weekend :)

  3. u knw wot...nyc review...but though i did lyk the book....my fav is still deception point i donno y...but i simply luv the way he's written it.....u start reading u totally dont wanna stop coz the suspense myt kill u...lol...

  4. Good review! After reading it, I am more interested in reading the book.

  5. I finished reading the book today. Found it utter waste of time. Have published a review myself.

  6. and ya hw cud i forget....nt just deception point...also angels nd demons!1...:D

  7. Nice review. It's a pity I haven't read it yet. Maybe I will someday.

  8. Its very nice and informative review. Really nice one. Thanks for this. I enjoy it very much.

  9. the book was nyc..even though the concept was same..bt contained fully diff. info..the quality of research work must be apprciated..n plus putting it down in such a way is mind blowing....so i guess altogether its good read!

  10. i read the book...it was d "okay" types...ur right..all the books have basically the same story...its just the suspense that kills...bt his writng skills plus insighted research makes it difficult to put the book down..!

  11. Honestly, I was very disappointed with The Lost Symbol. I had such high expectations before I read it, but in my opinion, it didn't live up to The Da Vinci Code, which is my favourite of the three.