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le 5 octobre 2009
[Cross-posted to LibraryThing and LivingSocial]

Oh Dan Brown. What happened? You had such momentum from The Da Vinci Code and Angels & Demons, neither of which were fantastically written but that had interesting stories and fast-paced plots. You had a good premise, expanding on the Masons that you'd touched on in Angels & Demons. You even had lots of time - The Lost Symbol didn't exactly get rushed to the printers. So what happened? Did you have a fight with your editor? Was your 'delete' key not working? Something must have happened because I can't think how else The Lost Symbol became so bloated and boring.

The focus in this instalment of Robert Langdon's adventures is on the Freemasons and there is a lot of information about their rituals, their symbols, and their legends. Most of it is interesting and relevant to the plot. But Brown also insists on adding extra information throughout the novel that serves no purpose other than to show how good Brown is at research. Instead of a tight storyline, where the information comes in as needed to develop characters or drive the plot forward, we get little bits of action broken up by long passages of information, much of which gets really repetitive after a while. By the last hundred pages or so, I couldn't care less what happened to Langdon or anyone else. I just wanted to be done with it and move on.

A common complaint in other reviews is that the novel reads more like a screenplay. I didn't really feel that way, although it did seem like Langdon's character was written as Tom Hanks much more than in the previous two books. Everyone else just felt like the same person, they all blended together with no distinct personalities. Another reason why I didn't care what happened at the end.

Overall: a disappointment, even for Dan Brown.
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le 27 septembre 2009
If you have read any of Dan Brown's previous works this strays little from his established plotlines. The characters and their development were pulled from his previous novels and little new was offered. What saved this book for me as more than just a rehash of DaVinci or Angels and Demons was that he continues to impress with his research on secret societies and how they are woven into the everyday fabric of our cities, language, and culture. Although I didn't find the Mason's history as rich as the other two novels mentioned it was interesting and well worth the reading time.
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le 13 octobre 2009
When it comes to Dan Brown books there is a certain level of disbelief that the reader must suspend. I'm okay with that. I sign up for it the minute I buy a book by him. If I accept the idea that there is a particle based bomb made by a religious scientist working for a wheelchair bound relic at CERN does the rest of the story make sense? If yes, then the story is enjoyable. In no, then I have a man jumping from a helicopter into the Tiber by using a piece of cardboard to airsurf to safety from great heights. In this latest book not only is the reader asked to suspend disbelief, they are asked to suspend all levels of logic. Brown spends 450 pages detailing the physical incapacity of a main character only to have him descend 550 stairs without breaking a sweat. Really? Brown has an antagonist whose origin is absurd. Really? Brown's book has a 'plot twist' that reveals only what a reasonable person would have figured out by page 40. This. Book. Is. Bad. Pass on it. My only comfort is that I got it for 50% off.
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le 17 novembre 2009
First I would like to say that I really enjoyed The Da Vinci Code,The Lost Symbol however is a boring writing disaster. It is as though Dan Brown uses a template to create his characters and plot lines. The evil villain displays similar attributes as villains from previous novels. Robert Langdon thought processes are shallow and unimaginative.The characters lack depth and and are uninteresting. The writing drags on and on without anything to keep you interested. This book was difficult to stay focused on because it was so boring. The many flashbacks in the novel do not add interest to the story but rather make it a more cumbersome read. I also dislike the short disjointed chapters. It is not worth the read.
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le 23 décembre 2009
The Lost Symbol is, in case you've been living under a rock, Dan Brown's most recent book. That would be the Dan Brown of the Da Vinci Code fame. So of course expectations for this novel were, at least from those in the literary world, high. I'd like to say that I found the book met those expectations, however that would be a lie. And I was raised to never tell a lie. So here's the straight goods.

The novel starts out with Robert Langdon, the hero from both Angels & Demons and The Da Vinci Code, being summoned to Washington DC by an old friend of his. Once he arrives, Langdon is quickly pulled in to a mystery when, much to his surprise, he finds a grizzly discovery on the floor of a DC monument. This in turn leads to a series of adventures involving different locations throughout DC.

Overall I think it's safe to say that I wasn't a fan of this book. Sure, all of the Dan Brown hooks were there. Short chapters with cliff hanger endings, enticing you to keep reading. But the characters were, I felt, quite one dimensional. At no point was I really all that engaged in what was going on within the book, and I couldn't wait for the story to end.

In short, skip this one.
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le 18 décembre 2009
We listened to the unabridged audiobook on CD which, thank goodness, we borrowed from the local library and did not pay for. The plot was slow, stale and plodding and there was constant straying from the focus of the book, usually some attempt at some profound revelation about religious beliefs or religious history. There are 14 cds and we eventually gave up and shut it off part way through 13 after the main aspects of the weak plot had been concluded (which we figured out long ago) and Brown was heading off into some unguided ramblings about science, religion and was finding symbolism in just about everything except in how they cut the grass on the Mall. There were 3 of us in the car and we agreed on one thing...pure junk!! I got the impression that Brown's Da Vinci Code (which I read cover to cover in one sitting) had caused him endless problems with the church and Christians that this 'book' was nothing but some philosophical goop with him trying to babble his way back into the good graces of the church. You blew it big time Dan.... Save your money on this one. By the way, the Amazon reviews REQUIRE you give at least one star... but that is five too many!!!
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le 24 octobre 2009
As a follow-up to "The Da Vinci Code" and "Angels and Demons", it almost goes without saying that "The Lost Symbol" is going to be a runaway best-seller. Nor does it take deep literary analysis to suggest that the plot involves symbols, codes, secret rituals, freemasonry, mysticism, religion, history and frantic chases from one secret location to another as symbologist Robert Langdon slowly unravels "the" ultimate secret to lay it bare before Dan Brown's breathless readership.

The plot, such as it is (and it doesn't even begin to compare with his previous efforts), tells the tale of Mal'akh, a shadowy, bizarrely tattooed villain who seeks to unlock the wisdom of the ages guarded by the Mason's greatest secrets. Mal'akh kidnaps Peter Solomon, the secretary of the Smithsonian institute, a billionaire and a 33rd degree Freemason. Using him as a hostage, Mal'akh forces Robert Langdon to search for the clues that will unlock the code on the Masonic Pyramid which is presumably a map to the location of the wisdom that he seeks.

As a thriller, "The Lost Symbol" is pretty weak stuff - repetitive, over-written and melodramatic. It lacks the intensity, the passion, the drive, the pacing and, indeed, the controversy that understandably (and quite justifiably) drove "The Da Vinci Code" to the top of the best-seller lists. I might even go so far as to suggest that Brown's focus on the Christian bible (well, at least, the Masonic interpretations of the bible) are a blatant apology to the fundamentalist Christian groups that seemed to be so deeply offended by "The Da Vinci Code".

The real power and enjoyment of this novel rests in its non-fiction content and background - the interpretation of Masonic philosophy, secrecy and rituals to a public that, by and large (myself included), has misunderstood the group for many years.

I certainly wouldn't be rushing out to spend my money on a hard covered version of a novel that comes nowhere close to fulfilling the overblown expectations of hordes of Dan Brown's fans. But I certainly would sit back patiently, wait for the thousands of copies that will make their way into second hand shops and read it for the history, the philosophy and the interesting sidebars on scholarly interpretation of religious books such as the Talmud, the Bible or the Koran.

Paul Weiss
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le 8 octobre 2009
It was probably unreasonable to expect this book to live up to its predecessors. It's good, but not great.

There are things I like about this book. For one, it doesn't follow the same pattern as Angels and Demons and then the Da Vinci Code, in that it's not a "whodunit". This time there's no doubt which character is the real villain (except at the very beginning where is some doubt). There are a satisfying number of coded messages and puzzles to decipher. And there is at least one major "aha" surprise moment.

The things I didn't like included the following:
a) To me, the Freemasons are just not as compelling a subject or target as Christianity was in the other books.
b) as a result, I found it hard to believe that the catastrophe that Langdon et al. were desperately trying to prevent was actually all that terrible
c) For me the big resolution of the plot came with about 30 pages left in the book - after that I kept reading, expecting another big surprise or something, but didn't find it.
d) I find Dan Brown's writing style to be pretty amateurish when he is describing physical action (e.g. when describing yet another character's narrow escape from certain death)

I also agree with some of the other reviewers in that, unlike the DaVinci Code, I found this book rather easy to put down. By contrast, I remember reading the DVC in one sitting - this time I read the book over a period of several days.

And it does sometimes read like a movie script. Maybe the movie will be better.
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le 14 décembre 2009
This book lacks style and flow. The story is plodding, pretentious and, at times, ridiculous. The first 60 pages or so are entertaining but then the story rapidly falls apart. I finished it just because I'm not a quitter and wanted to make sure I was not judging unfairly. There are so many great books to read that it's a shame to waste ANY time reading this one.
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le 21 novembre 2009
I must have been reading a different book then the other reviewers. I thought the book was interesting and a quick read. I have read all of Dan Browns books even Deception Point (which has different characters). The book is not going to win any awards, but I knew exactly what I was getting into when I bought this book. A quick fun read that would take me away from my everyday life. That is exactly what I got out of the book. For those of you who are looking for thought provoking words and literary genius, you will have to go somewhere else. But for the plebes like me this book satisfied my quench for adventure and excitement.
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