Monday, October 5, 2009

What Chew Talkin' Abou' Dan Brown or My Review of The Lost Symbol

Let me just begin with an excerpt from the book:(if you can't get through it, don't worry I had to skip over half of it myself)
"So tell me, Kate," her brother had asked while she was home on vacation during her sophomore year at Yale. "What are Elis reading these days in theoretical physics?"
Katherine had stood in her family's book-filled library and recited her demanding reading list.
"Impressive," her brother replied. "Einstein, Bohr, and Hawking are modern geniuses. But are you reading anything older?"
Katherine scratched her head. "You mean like...Newton?"
He smiled. "Keep going." At twenty-seven, Peter had already made a name for himself in the academic world, and he and Ketherine had grown to savor this kind of playful intellectual sparring.

What follows after this is a rousing debate with a few words like...entanglement theory, Subatomic research, Dharmakaya, 'at-one-ment', polarity, Kybalion, binary systems, superstring theory, and multidimensional cosmological models.
Hahaha...what fun! I always love these kind of physiological debates about the origin of man with my brother too.

Okay, I'm not saying the book is wordy per-se, but frankly, the book is wordy. I have enjoyed Dan Brown novels in the past and have always felt a little awestruck by the amount of information I learned through reading them. However, subatomic theory is a little over my head, and no one told me I needed to hold a Doctorate degree in order to know all these scientific and religious texts and people it mentions off-hand. I usually feel like a fairly smart individual, but for the first time when reading a novel, I felt like a complete moron.
I started to get bugged by comments like "I am standing in the sublevel basement of the U.S. Capitol Building" or "The room felt like a tomb" from the main character. And comments like "I am perfect" by the 'bad guy' as he stared at himself naked in the mirror.
There were other minor inconsistencies as well. For instance, if you had just been knocked unconsious and drowned could you honestly "run" somewhere right after this? Is it possible to have an appendage cut off, be shaved head to toe, see a loved one die, and still want to explain the inner dimensions of the masonic order in a very casual way, even 'laughing' over the cute way a person doesn't undertand what you are saying? I didn't think so either.
My last complaint has to do with Robert Langdon himself. As far as I know, this book is supposed to have taken place after 'Angels and Demons' and 'Da Vinci Code', yet the main character acts like everything he sees is a 'shock' he just can't believe. Honestly, how many times does he have to be trapped in a deep, dark, tiny space before he just gets over is claustrophia for heavens sake? How many times does he have to see something that was considered legend be true before he just kind of starts to believe in things before he sees them? Langdon really sort of drove me nuts in this story.

All of this being said...I would still recommend this book to other people, and no, its not because I want other people to be miserable. I like the underlying message of the book. I love the idea of 'science' and 'religion' co-existing without wanting to tear each other's eyes out. The information about the Masonic Brotherhood was also very interesting, and I did want to go to the places it mentions that are right in downtown Washington D.C. and see them for myself. There is also a very interesting twist right there at the end that is almost a 'Sixth Sense' kind of moment.

Overall... I give it 3 1/2 stars. Three stars for the things in the paragraph prior to this and a half star for character development and dialogue.

P.S. It took me four times longer to read this than any of the other Dan Brown books, so leave yourself plenty of time if you happen to read this for a book club or something.

1 comment:

Strawberry Shortcake said...

I am supposed to pick this up from the library today. I was 200 and something on the waiting list so I thought I had some time before I would get it (seeing as there isn't a whole lot of time to read). Hopefully my mom enjoys it!