I was really looking forward to Dan Brown’s The Lost Symbol. Both husband and I put this book on hold at the library and we were number 100 something. So I resigned myself to wait and wait and wait. But behold! At the 7-day checkout shelf, I saw a copy. So I immediately lunged for it. Surely I can finish this book in 7 days. Plus, you can renew it once. Surely 14 days is more than enough time to finish it, right?
I did manage. But it was not a fast-paced, speedy, one-setting read as I was expecting. For those of you who follow my twitter (@bookfiend), you know I was complaining about the pace of this book. I guess I was expecting something like National Treasure, but in book form – fast, action-packed, non-stop intrigue. While The Lost Symbol ultimately proved enjoyable, it took a while for the ride to build up.
In The Lost Symbol, Professor Robert Langdon makes his third appearance. I must confess, I don’t remember all the details of the previous books. I do know that I really liked The Da Vinci Code and was not at all impressed with Angels and Demons. Unfortunately, in this installment, the book fell closer on the scale toward Angels and Demons.
The action starts with Robert’s receiving a phone call from an old friend, Peter Solomon, who asks Robert to come to D.C. to give a lecture. When Robert gets there, however, he finds a disturbing object in the Capitol Building, along with the news that his friend has been kidnapped. The madman challenges Robert to decipher a Masonic secret in order to get his friend back. Robert, along with Peter’s sister, Katherine, race against the clock and the CIA to solve the mystery.
I didn’t enjoy the pacing of the book. It felt like the action didn’t get started until mid-way through the book, which at 500 pages, was a bit too long of a wait. The problem is because of the sheer amount of symbolism and history and myths, it all takes a while to explain. The way it’s done is through flashback. Every few pages, Robert would think about some event in the past that explains something. It really slowed down the pace. Also, there is a tendancy for Robert to lecture on something. It kind of felt like I was getting a history lesson or something at some points in the book. I mean, I appreciate the difficulty in imparting this type of information to the reader. But I don’t know, something about the way it’s done slowed down the book a lot and made the action flow much more slowly.
As for the plot, while enjoyable, I’m not sure it is all that intricate. I kinda figured out who the bad guy is long before the end of the book. The plot seems more philosophical than anything else. I don’t want to say any more to spoil anyone. But suffice it to say, from the author who penned both Angels and Demons and The Da Vinci code, I should have expected this level of religious undertone to the book.
Overall, while the action finally picked up and the overall story was enjoyable, it didn’t quite live up to my expectations. I would definitely recommend reading it, but perhaps not worth buying the hardback version. B-.