Friday, October 9, 2009
THE LOST SYMBOL
TITLE: THE LOST SYMBOL
AUTHOR: DAN BROWN
Details: no. 3 Robert Langdon Thriller
This must have been the world's most anticipated book for a long time. And when, after the book came out, the reviews came back, they ranged from total disgust to high praise, and anything in between. So, I wasn't really sure what to expect when I picked up this book.
Now that I've finished it, things are a lot more clear, and for me neither of the extremes holds true. To be honest, for me this was a slightly better than average thriller. Dan Brown is not a great writer. He lacks fluency and gets too bogged down in details to make this book a real page turner.
The story is interesting enough; Robert Langdon gets lured to Washington, apparently to deliver a lecture as a favour for his friend and mentor Peter Solomon, a prominent mason.
Once in Washington though, it soon becomes clear that his purpose there is something completely different. Peter Solomon has been kidnapped and in order to save him, Langdon has to uncover the Mason's ultimate secret. His first clue being Solomon's severed right hand.
Up against a powerful and deranged adversary, and with the CIA apparently determined to stop him, Langdon only has a few hours to discover something he doesn't believe exists and prevent disaster.
This is not a bad concept for a story at all, and there are a few surprising twists and turns. However, the story does take (too)long to gather pace, gets too bogged down in detail, depends on a stereotypical villain and in the end takes too long to finish after the tension is gone.
I had one revelation while reading this book though. Tom Hanks is, in fact, perfectly cast as Robert Langdon in the movies. Langdon in this book is just as wooden and one dimensional as Hanks plays him.
My conclusion has to be that at his book has become a victim of the hype that surrounded its release. Without the hype it would have been a slightly too long, not too bad thriller. With the hype it became a minor disappointment.