Author: Dan Brown
What you'll love: As always with Dan Brown, fast paced storyline that hooks you and keeps you hooked until the last page.
What will bug you: A few "leaps of faith" that need to be made.
When I pick up a Dan Brown, there are certain expectations. He's fast paced. It was exactly what I needed these past two weeks while working at summer camp. Another bonus? I'm constantly interrupted, and the chapters are short... so it's easy to put down and pick up again without having to re-read portions.
Harvard professor, Robert Langdon, is asked by his good friend, Peter Solomon, to deliver a speech in Washington DC. Upon his arrival, Langdon finds himself in a beat-the-clock scenario that is a matter of national security. Our antagonist, Mal'akh, is seeking the legendary pyramid of Washington DC, which points to the Ancient Mysteries (aka - the lost wisdom of the ages). Peter's younger sister, Katherine, is a scientist working on Noetic experiments in a secret lab. She joins Langdon on his chase through DC.
I don't want to say too much more about the plot because I would hate to give away any information you couldn't find on Amazon!
This was my first book that I read on my birthday Kindle. So before I tell you about The Lost Symbol, let me tell you about my reaction to the Kindle.
I really enjoyed using it - especially the feature that allows me to bookmark pages, take notes, and highlight passages. I love that it's light, compact, and intuitive to use. It fit perfectly in my bag, weighing less than a paperback. I read the entire book, and messed around with the features trying to learn how to use it - and I only used half of the battery life. I haven't charged it since the first day.
When I write a review, I like to give a summary (above!), and I'm very careful not to reveal anything that's not on the inside flap. Well - there's no inside flap to the Kindle. Am I missing something??? Kindle users - if you have a solution to this problem let me know! I logged onto Amazon and read the descriptions and used that as a basis for what I should say without giving anything away.
I wrote notes to myself like crazy, and highlighted sections - which makes it easier to go back now and find passages to review. Not as easy as the paper version - but close.
My favorite thing about the Kindle is that it's not backlit - so it doesn't strain the eyes. I wish there was "tracklighting" built into the side of the screen to illuminate if it's dark. I had to use my little book light at night.
OK - enough of that... back to the good stuff. The book!
I'm a fan of Dan Brown. I like the fast paced nature of his writing. Generally, I like the subject matter - it interests me. I find the Masons fascinating, so this book really hooked me as far as the subject matter goes.
I love the way Brown introduces his mysterious antagonist.
"The one who called himself Mal'akh pressed the tip of the needle against his shaved head, sighing with pleasure as the sharp tool plunged in and out of his flesh. The soft hum of the electric device was addictive... as was the bite of the needle sliding deep into his dermis and depositing its dye.This guy is messed up - and it's going to be fun to see how he becomes our villain.
I am a masterpiece."
I love all the pieces of history that Brown gives us throughout the story. Having the story take place in Washington DC was very interesting - I feel more connected to the back story. The whole period of history surrounding our founding fathers is one that I find interesting - so The Lost Symbol was a delight for me in that respect.
I like now Brown discusses different religions. Don't worry - I won't launch into a discussion about my personal religious beliefs! :) I respect how he points out the one thing that so many major world religions have in common - a creator.
The qualms I have with Dan Brown novels are mostly on the leaps of faith I need to make in order to accept some pieces of the storyline.
Katherine studies Noetic science. I'm not buying into it. The idea that our thoughts can can be measured and influence the physical is beyond the point where I am able to believe. What do you think? Also, as opposed to his other novels, this piece of science does not factor into the end result. I was a little disappointed - only because it was mentioned so much in the novel.
I get slightly annoyed at the text that refers to technology. Can some computer actually do what he's describing? Does the text actually say "decrypting file" (or something to that effect since I don't have the actual example bookmarked)? Do we really need to call it an iPhone or a BlackBerry? It seems like he's trying to be a little too trendy. I mentioned this in my review of Digital Fortress as well.
Finally - does anyone else think that Dan Brown is writing himself as Robert Langdon? He's like a dorky superhero who fights crime with his arcane intellect. I'm totally fine with it, I love Robert Langdon - but still...
Overall, a great read. I think I will always like Dan Brown - and I really am picturing him as Robert Langdon - I don't care that Tom Hanks played him in the movie! I enjoy him as an author. I think he has a real talent as a storyteller!