Blech. I enjoyed 3 of Dan Brown's other books (Digital Fortress, Angels & Demons, and Da Vinci Code) as interesting popcorn reading but this one was terrible. As others have said Brown's weak writing ability is highlighted...the plot is a disaster, the pieces don't fit together, no mysteries are explored or revealed as promised. I wish I hadn't taken the time to finish it. It wasn't fun or interesting. Tedious.
A spoiler-filled rant:(view spoiler)[The plot of Mal'Akh was maddening. So much buildup with no payoff. Why would an intelligent rich kid become a mad supervillain serial killer? All the while he's claiming he's going to liberate mankind from lies, a hero killing because it's necessary. And the CIA is claiming they are protecting mankind, as if he's going to release some sort of doomsday device. Neither one of these is in any way true and worse, neither one is addressed in the end. Why did Mal'Akh murder the poor fat girl in ethanol? And why did Dan Brown feel it necessary to describe it in vivid, horrific detail? No reason. An explicit description of drowning someone in your bare hands and what it feels like to drown is just another lame trick Dan Brown uses to disguise the fact that the book is poorly written nonsense.
Mal'Akh/Zachary, I suppose, was on a revenge mission to pay his father back for abandoning him in prison. So all the while all he wanted was to send an email out to the media with a documentary he made? What the f***? He could have done that on page 1 without killing anyone. I guess he wanted to make it an embarrassing spectacle, kidnap his father, cut off his hand, and kill himself on the Mason's most sacred altar. OK. But Brown never discusses this.
Besides the killing, the pyramid and cube and puzzles are protecting "ancient mysteries" that unlock mankind's ultimate potential. The are (drumroll please) that the Bible isn't meant to be read literally, that we all have the potential to be God or God-like by rising above being petty assholes, the Masons bury old Bibles in cornerstones and stuff, thoughts have small amounts of measurable power (prayers work), and meditation changes your brain chemistry. Oh and by the way the Lost Symbol is a lost word, and apparently that word is *hope*. Derp. Really? All of the killing and chases and puzzle solving for that? And would the video have really accomplished anything? The Mason's perform pretend sacrifices, and Presidents and Senator are Masons...so that's a national security crisis? No. It's ridiculous. And that's why nothing is explained or examined by Brown in the end. There is no "Sixth Sense" review of everything so that the reader clearly understands that it makes sense (it doesn't). (hide spoiler)]
I wished I had stopped reading it somewhere along the way, as I thought I probably should. Complete waste of time.["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>