January 26, 2010

The Lost Symbol by Dan Brown

I know this was reviewed back in September when it first came out, but I finally got around to reading it just last week because I had a newborn at the time! This was the first book I had wirelessly "beamed" to my Kindle at 12:01 am the day it came out. It was pretty cool to have access to a new release pretty much immediately.

As someone who truly enjoyed Brown's previous novels The DaVinci Code and Angels and Demons, I was excited to read his most recent work. Set in Washington D.C., The Lost Symbol again joins Robert Langdon as he is unexpectedly swept into the mysterious world of secret societies, legend, and mystery. Langdon is tricked into coming to the nation's capital and finds himself at the center of a madman's errand. Expected to help discover the long-long treasure of the Freemasons, Langdon must decipher codes, travel deep into the underground vaults of the U.S. Capitol, and evade pursuit by the CIA.

I particularly liked the cast of characters in this book. The antagonist is seriously B.A. (email me if you don't know what that stands for) and is crucial to making this book so special. He is mysterious, dangerous, intelligent, and his cunning makes him the ideal villain in this story. As is typical for Dan Brown, he provides Langdon with a female sidekick. Katherine Solomon fills this role nicely, but she's more gullible and sappy than she is fierce or interesting. The real star of the show in The Lost Symbol is Director Sato, the CIA director who makes up for what she lacks in stature with a raw grit that strikes fear into the bones of any man she crosses.

Brown's writing style works well in this novel, as he leaves little mini-cliffhangers at the end of each chapter. It always makes you want to keep reading, regardless of the late hour. There is one particular plot twist that hits you like a ton of bricks and may force you to make a frantic call to your spouse at work, just to express your shock and awe at the situation. The final climax is unexpected and jaw-dropping.

Unfortunately, there was still quite a bit of book left after the climax that left me feeling a bit disappointed. The Epilogue feels like a bit of an afterthought and what is supposed to be the resolution to the big mystery that had caused so much hoopla throughout the novel feels somewhat anti-climactic.

All in all, another good one by Dan Brown. I'd still rate Angels and Demons as my fave, but I'd have to put this one below The DaVinci Code. 4 Stars.


  1. Nice review - though, I think our opinions on this book couldn't have been more different. One person's chapter cliffhangers was another's false drama. And, I actually hated everything up until the parts after the action was all but over. Those were the only parts I enjoyed reading, mostly 'cause Brown's style drives me crazy. But, hey, to each his/her own, right? :)

    Here's my review, if you're interested:

  2. I found the cliffhangers to be SO annoying... and just a ploy to keep the reader reading. Also, i had it figured out about 1/3 of the way in, but had to keep going to find out what happened... the ending after the climax was a long and drawn out... in my opinion, of course.

  3. I also find Brown's style -if you can call it that- annoying. I read his books to stay on top of things in the literary world, but haven't found one I thought was worth publication, let alone the type of success Brown has enjoyed. Angels and Demons is my least favorite. I enjoyed the scientific aspect of the antimatter, but the antimatter plot ended up being nothing more than a distraction device, and completely irrelevant. It seemed like Brown had two different book ideas he threw together and they just didn't quite add up. I'm currently on the wait list at the library for this one, 167th in line out of 750 or so.

  4. I totally agree that the mini-cliffhangers are a ploy, but I'm weak so they work on me. :)

    Has anyone read his other ones like Deception Point? I'm interested to hear if that is written in the same style as the Langdon books.

  5. Great discussion, everyone! Overall I thought this book was entertaining and mildly suspenseful, though not nearly as exciting as The DaVinci Code or Angels and Demons, which was my favorite. The mini cliffhangers were enough to keep me turning the pages, so overall, I enjoyed the book and would recommend it to those who have yet to read it.

    I have read Deception point, and you can tell that this was one of Brown's earliest works. It does go along the same line as the last three in terms of style, suspense, and plot lines but is definitely not on the same level. The other earlier release, Digital Fortress, was my least favorite. It doesn't even compare to the others and I would not recommend wasting your time to read it... but that's just my opinion!
    : )



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