Elena's Reviews > The Lost Symbol

The Lost Symbol by Dan Brown
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's review
Oct 22, 2009

it was ok
Read in October, 2009

I think I finally figured out why I hate Dan Brown. He writes very average thriller/ mystery books, just like many others do, and the thing is that I don't have a problem with the other writers. Sometimes their books are entertaining, sometimes they are not, sometimes they are poorly written, sometimes they are not so bad, and I'm perfectly fine with it. The thing I can't stand about Dan Brown is his attitude. He truly believes he has been invested with the power of 'omniscience', and he looks down at the reader as if he were talking to a bunch of retarded individuals (which we actually probably are just by virtue of the fact that we are reading his books). But this is still ok, it doesn't upset me all that much.
What I think is unacceptable is the fact that in his 'all encompassing knowledge', all we find is an endless bunch of lies, lies about the most obvious evidence anybody can prove. Angels and Demons, which takes place in Rome, is filled with sentences in Italian, except that Mr. Brown didn't even bother looking up the spelling of the words and, as if that were not enough, he invented words to look cool in the eyes of his readers which, come on, wouldn't be able to pick all the bull I'm trying to sell them in a million years!
In the Italian version of The Lost Symbol, I noticed that the translators skipped more than one passage because what DB had written not only wasn't accurate, it was blatantly WRONG! So, I don't know if they didn't want to look stupid themselves or did it to try and give Mr. Brown a better image abroad. Just one tiny detail out of many: Classical Greek 101 - Apo is a preposition, with different meanings but still and only a preposition, for sure not a verb. No!!! not in the Lost Key. Dan Brown has to show us he knows the ethimology of the word apotheosis, and so Apo, for him, turns into a verb, and he lectures us as if he were revealing this great truth. I read on a review that his books are an insult to human intelligence. I agree, and not because they are necessarily awful books, but because taking reality and twisting it so that it can fit the story line and, on top of that, selling it as if it were some kind or revelation we can only obtain through Dan Brown's grace, to me is unacceptable.
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Reading Progress

10/24/2009 page 84
10/24/2009 page 84
16.5% ""from ancient Greek: apo, to become; theos,god". How can Brown think he can get away with such bullshit? Apo is a preposition, not a verb!" 3 comments
10/24/2009 page 84
16.5% "I don't get how DB thinks he can get away with the blatant lies he uses to convince the reader he is a 'scholar'. Very sad and pathetic."
10/22/2016 marked as: read

Comments (showing 1-15)

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message 15: by Trevor (new)

Trevor Ancient Greek, Modern Italian - we need to change our attitude to these and think of them less as languages in their own right and more as incidental decoration to important new mystery novels. I'm rather saddened you have chosen to persist in seeking to view these as anything more. If Mr Brown adds new words to these languages or chooses to turn 'from' to 'to become' I should have expected a bit more gratitude from the natives. No one complained when Jesus turned water into wine - I tend to think turning a preposition into a verb a much more impressive trick. Dan is, after all, only trying to help.

My understanding is that Mr Brown's novels do much in uncovering many long repressed conspiracies. The fact that you, as a native Italian speaker, don't even know of the existence of some of the Italian words he uses quite freely just shows how far this conspiracy has been allowed to go.

Seeking to avoid this kind of confusion is, of course, precisely the reason why God, since the dawn of time, has only and always spoken in a language he knew noone would have any trouble understanding - English (and with a rather pleasant mid-Atlantic American accent, I believe).

Elena I love you Trevor!!!! But you should be very careful, you know, just in case we might be so lucky and Mr. Brown happened to be reading our comments.... the comparison to Jesus might put some strange ideas in his mind... Actually, what am I saying, I believe he knows he is already up there.

message 13: by Lorenzo (new)

Lorenzo Berardi Fantastic review!

I've just read "The Da Vinci Code" by him when it had the hype and got the same impressions. Tons of wrong Italian sentences he didn't even bother to check on a grammar book. Now I read how Mr Brown is keep on inventing history, geography, art and whatsoever.
I don't know if books by Dan Brown are an insult to human intelligence, but for sure writers like him and Coelho understood what most of the readers wants: not a good novelist but an Omniscient Celebrity.

Elena Grazie! You know what? If the writer were omniscient for real, I would love it! We could learn so much! The problem is that these people only try to fake you out with things they do not know from Adam, and don't even bother researching. Oh, and, by the way, sell for 24 euro a shot!!!! Sweet way to make money..........

message 11: by Judy (new) - added it

Judy Mann Great review. Dead on.What about his take one the Book of Revelations?? Now that was a real show stopper.I'm sorry but didn't one of the characters at the beginning of the book dismiss the Book of Revelations as lot of bad mistakes?? Same book? No? Product placement run awry. You wrote a really good review. More power to you.

Elena Thanks Judy!!!! Happy to know I'm not the only one to feel this way!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

message 9: by Becca (new)

Becca Everyone is entitled to their own opinion but I think a mistake many people make is finding fault in Dan Brown's books because he alters the truth to make his stories. Everyone does this and his books are fiction. For some reason the subject matter of his books makes people take him too seriously as though he is trying to insult you somehow. I think they are great fictional books. If I wanted to read about true, unaltered history I would read non-fiction. Having said that, however, I do see how the language errors would be annoying to someone fluent in that language. I do agree with that part of the issue, but his way of taking some historical item or idea and making a fictional story around it is not a crime to me. No hard feelings, just stating what I think :) Happy Reading!

Elena Hi Becca! My perplexity is not in the fact that he wants to write fiction around historical elements, but in the fact that he takes the historical, proved and founded elements and twists them to make them fit into his story-line. If you decide to write about the Renaissance let's say, you can't decide that the Renaissance took place in te 18th century so that will make your story line better. Because at that point it is science fiction / fantasy. And you know, I've had students asking me what I thought about Mary Magdalen sitting next to Jesus in Leonardo's Last Supper. They took Dan Browns' words as facts, and I believe you, as an author, are somehow responsible towards your audience. I so welcome a fictional story line, but if the writer decides to stage it in Rome, then he has to respect the fact that Rome is in italy and people speak Italian and bla bla bla. Otherwise you write The Lord of The Rings and make up your own world. Ciao!!!!!

message 7: by Becca (new)

Becca Lol, touche. I see your point :)

Elena I still enjoy his plots. They are very intriguing and perfect for a train ride or a long flight! His next book, INFERNO will be out in the UK on May 14th. I am actualy kind of scared to see what is going to happen to poor Dante, ahahahahah!

Jenny Karkoska Did you know... (This is going to blow your minds)... These books...are...(omg seriously you're going to be so surprised)...FICTION. You're all dumb as hell. Go read a history book if you want facts.

message 4: by Elena (last edited Jun 01, 2014 03:50AM) (new) - rated it 2 stars

Elena I don't understand the need to be rude to begin with. Second of all, if the author wants to base his novels on historical facts, he better get his history right, maybe study it a little deeper, or he might as well write science fiction. Get real!

message 3: by Judy (new) - added it

Judy Mann Elena wrote: "I don't understand the need to be rude to begin with. Second of all, if the author wants to base its novels on historical facts, he better get his history right, maybe study it a little deeper, or ..."

Dead on Elena. It was a lousy book and this woman is a royal pain in the ass.

message 2: by Susie (new) - added it

Susie Agreed! Everyone else is so bothered by the writing and how slow-paced it is etc, but you're the only one who seems to be as annoyed as I am with the BS. This is why I am at 12% of the book and don't think I can finish it. (I don't know history or italian, but I do know science). If he had just labeled this as sci-fi/fantasy and made a disclaimer in the beginning to state these are not facts (rather than doing the opposite!) it would have been easier to suspend disbelief. Now it just looks like he's trying to enlighten the poor idiot masses with his awesome pseudo scince.
And I actually went to this book cause I was looking for easy, dumb entertainment to make my brain calm down after too much analytics. To think it would just stress me out even more...
Is it worth trying to finish?

Elena Susie wrote: "Agreed! Everyone else is so bothered by the writing and how slow-paced it is etc, but you're the only one who seems to be as annoyed as I am with the BS. This is why I am at 12% of the book and don..."

Right on Susie! And, out of all of his books, I think this is the least worth wasting time with!

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