The Bottom Line
- Brown's style keeps the pages turning as readers try to connect the dots.
- Symbols and mythology in a familiar setting provides a fun chance to toy with conspiracy theories.
- 'The Lost Symbol' does not require much effort to read.
- A familiar formula & mediocre dialogue keep Brown from accomplishing anything new.
- 'The Lost Symbol' becomes tedious when it strays from plot and tries to make profound points.
- The "national security crisis," when revealed, falls short of the build up and character reactions.
- Long, less-than-captivating denouement.
- 'The Lost Symbol' by Dan Brown was released September 15, 2009
- Publisher: Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group
- 509 Pages
Guide Review - 'The Lost Symbol' by Dan Brown - Book Review
Brown is not the first to use the Masons as a launching point for a thriller. Indeed, I couldn't help but compare my experience reading The Lost Symbol with watching National Treasure. I enjoyed the movie more because it took itself less seriously than The Lost Symbol and enjoyed a visual advantage (always nice to be able to see the symbols and buildings involved in a conspiracy). Still, there is plenty of Mason folklore to go around, and The Lost Symbol does a fine job of creating another mystery in our nation's capital.
So why do I consider The Lost Symbol merely an average read? First, Brown does not create anything new -- no new character development, no big surprises in plot trajectory. Furthermore, his signatures "twists" are not nearly as tantalizing as in his previous books. After so much build up, I found myself let down by the reality of the secrets revealed in the end. Finally, there are several points when it seems as if Brown is trying to make his book more intelligent or profound than it actually is. Langdon's rants about religion and truth, when not directly tied to the mystery, are tedious and even a little preachy. In fact, the last 50 pages of the book try a little too hard to be enlightening.
My recommendation: If you're planning a trip to Washington D.C. in the next year, this would be a fun read to accompany your tour. Otherwise, unless you're a die hard Brown fan, I'd get on your library list or wait for the paperback release.