Sunday, September 20, 2009

The Lost Symbol: Book Review

This is the third in author Dan Brown's Robert Langton series: #1- Angels & Demons and #2- The DaVinci Code. Let's just say, if you liked the first two, you will like this one as well:

It follows the same successful formula as the other two books: mild-mannered professor Langton gets caught up up in an ancient and dangerous conspiracy that only his symbolic wisdom can solve, along with the help of a beautiful and scientifically brilliant female who gets caught up in the drama due to a close male friend or relation who has been murdered and/or is in danger. The pace is a little quicker than DaVinci and the action is not quite as over-the-top as Angels, so I think that Dan Brown has finally met his stride as far as pace goes. That being said, it still falls into the same pattern as the others of dragging on a bit after the explosive finale- you keep thinking its ending but it sort of just keeps going. Not that it gets boring, just a little wordy.

For me the plot felt a little less epic than the other two, perhaps partly because it takes place in the US instead of in an exciting foreign city. Still, I love DC, and with the genre of these stories and how much history is there, it really is a fitting location for a Langton novel. If there is a next one, I hope it's set somewhere really exotic like Istanbul (not Constantinople). All of the books do a good job of letting us into the minds of the characters, even the villain, but this story was even more intimate to Langton's life and I felt even more emotionally involved than usual. The action began in the first few pages, and I was hooked from start to finish.

Par usual, Dan Brown has really done his research (a process that I greatly admire with authors like himself and the brilliant Jeffrey Deaver) and touches on some very interesting and potentially controversial religious and historical topics. For those of you who heard rumors and were concerned, yes the book does, very briefly, mention Mormons in two different places, but both times it is really just sort of in passing and not major to the plot, and I found neither disrespectful. The science is fascinating and the history is nonjudgmental and eye-opening. Also, he once again found a way to bond science and faith together in an honest and moving way.

On a side note... I sort of hope they don't make it a movie. I was excited about both of the previous adaptations, and though it is a given that movie versions of stories are never as good as the book, I was disappointed with them both. I thought they were beautifully filmed and I really liked the supporting casts in both of them, but I absolutely can't stand Tom Hanks as Robert Langton. I never thought I would have 'can't stand' and 'Tom Hanks' in the same sentence, but there it is. He just plays the character so whiny and self-righteous. Also, I can understand when changes have to be made and things have to be cut out for time reasons when adapting a book to film, but they made unnecessary plot and character changes that made the stories... less than they are with the books. Let's be honest, if they made a movie version of The Lost Symbol I would likely go to it out of curiosity and as a fan of the book, but it's my hope that from here on out Robert Langton will remain in words, and that this isn't the last we've seen of him.


dave + kirst said...

can't wait to read it!(except I have to because I have several others in the front of the line that have been waiting patiently for me to open their covers ;D)

Scooter and Jessica Plowman said...

I need to get it so I can read it. I also wish it were set in an international city. Something about a non-US setting just makes things more exciting. I will also agree to your Tom Hanks comment. It is the only role he has ever played that I simply don't like him in. At all.

Amy said...

Mmmmmm Can't wait to read it! I have 3 others in line ahead of it, but it's on the list. :)