It’s been over five years since we last experienced the adventures of Harvard symbologist Robert Langdon and the wait is now finally over, as Dan Brown’s “The Lost Symbol” is finally released. Unfortunately, the wait was not entirely worth it as Brown’s latest tale, full of never ending cliffhangers, is more frustrating than it is rewarding.
An unexpected phone call sets in motion the 12 hour adventure Langdon embarks upon. Peter Solomon, a longtime mentor to Langdon,
requests his presence at the U.S. Capitol to give a speech on masonry. When Langdon arrives, however, he realizes something is terribly wrong when the severed hand of Solomon is found with cryptic symbols tattooed on his fingers and palm. Langdon soon realizes he’s been duped and must go on a frantic, clue-filled quest to find his friend and the man behind his abduction.
While Brown’s story is indeed interesting, it’s the writing that comes off as the biggest disappointment, but I don’t think anybody will be too surprised by that. It’s actually laugh worthy as nearly every other sentence ends with both an exclamation point and a question mark. Once or twice is fine, but doing it throughout the whole story is just overkill. The reader can understand the gravity of the situation Langdon’s in by reading the story.
One of Brown’s most frustrating writing habits is his use of deus ex machina moments. Most notably when time is running out, Langdon has no clue what a symbol means and then, before all hell breaks loose, Langdon recognizes the symbol and is able to solve it. In addition to Langdon’s never ending hesitating, it’s actually kind of irritating to have to witness Langdon doubting himself so much and constantly saying that he has no idea what’s going on.
In terms of story, though, Brown does paint an interesting picture of the masons and the actual history behind them. If anything, “Symbol” will serve as a fun, pseudo-history lesson. I can also guarantee that you’ll do at least one Google image search, if only to prove the veracity of Brown’s subject matter.
In an interesting subplot, Brown also brings to light noetic science, which, according to “Symbol,” contains the theory that our thoughts have actual matter to them. Without giving too much away, this story parallels the main theme of what the symbol is quite nicely. Prepare for a Google search on this, as well.
It’s not as fun as “The Da Vinci Code,” or even “Angels & Demons” for that matter, but “Symbol” serves its purpose of being a run of the mill thriller with a bit of brain candy thrown in.