Sunday, August 18, 2013

Review : The Lost Symbol by Dan Brown


(Orginial review written on:- October 3, 2009)

Before I begin let me inform you all that this is not to be considered a conventional book review. Without giving out a summary or spoilers (I'm sure many still haven't read it) I'd try to sum up my views on Dan Brown's latest installment.
So then let's start at the beginning. The fact that I got hold of this book on the very day it released worldwide and yet managed to finish reading it only yesterday should,in itself, be considered a miracle. That's because if a book manages to capture my interest I usually devour it within a single day(at the most 2 days) no matter how lengthy it might be. But unfortunately I read The Lost Symbol over a span of a week.
This probably speaks volumes of how unimpressed I'm with Dan Brown this time.

Anyway without digressing any further let's come to the plot:-

To tell you the truth this novel has no actual plot because it had no aim from the very beginning.
So what does this book have then?

The answer consists of - Robert Langdon, his long time friend and mentor Peter Solomon who's in mortal danger,a deluded lunatic as the bad guy (just like always), Peter Solomon's beautiful sister as Langdon's companion for the night who's conducting some highly important research work on Noetic Sciences (just another replacement for Vittoria Vetra or Sophie Neveu), Freemasons, the CIA and of course an all-too-familiar routine of figuring out hidden codes, symbols, puzzles so as to thwart the villain's plans and save the world from disaster before it's too late.

Okay that's all good. But what is Robert Langdon doing here? - Half the time he is arguing quite uselessly with the other characters saying he doesn't believe in an ancient Masonic legend, around which the entire plot revolves.
I think a man who had discovered Mary Magdalene's tomb in his earlier adventure should have a more broad-minded perspective than that.
The time he spends deciphering few codes spans only 15-20 pages of the 339 page book(e-book). The rest of it is filled with too much information about the Masons, Solomon family stories and the warped thoughts of the psychopath villain.

Even though Angels and Demons had quite a far-fetched plot it never failed to make the reader gasp. Atleast it had some edge-of-the-seat suspense to offer. Also the age-old animosity between the Illuminati and the Church provided quite an intriguing backdrop.
Same with The Da Vinci Code. The controversy surrounding the Holy Grail, Mary Magdalene and the Merovingians was spicy enough to keep the reader enthralled till the very end.
But the Masons are not that interesting.
On one hand they are an ancient brotherhood dedicated to searching for light (symbolizing supreme knowledge) amidst darkness and on the other hand they're protecting an ancient wisdom for centuries which supposedly has the power to bring about man's ultimate enlightenment.
Contradictory isn't it?
And why keep something secret that is supposed to benefit mankind?
Uh yea right 'cause it might fall into the wrong hands and result in disasters of unimaginable proportions.
As if the world isn't already in chaos and on the verge of destruction. We could sure do with some ultimate knowledge (or whatever) in these troubled times.

Unlike his previous adventures Langdon does not make a startling discovery at the very end. Nobody gets to know what the Ancient Mysteries actually are. Brown only provides us with a brief overview which is not enough. And this is where the readers are bound to feel disappointed.

I think maybe it's time to put Robert Langdon to rest. We've had enough of religious symbology, secret societies and historical controversies. Though I won't mind another Deception Point or Digital Fortress.(I liked these 2 novels much better than your latest work Mr. Brown)

2 stars out of 5.

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