Julie's Reviews > The Lost Symbol

The Lost Symbol by Dan Brown
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's review
Dec 02, 2009

did not like it

Ugh this was literally one of the worst books I have ever read. Or, well, listened to, as Chris and I used it to get through 2 legs of a drive from NYC to St. Louis.

Just to be clear, though I'm a stickler for good writing, I recognize that previous Dan Brown books like the Davinci Code are what they are. That is, they are good stories, badly written. And that's fine - there is a place for that - like 19 hour car rides. Unfortunately, the Lost Symbol was a terrible story, terribly written. Brown's prose has sunk deep into the depths of cliche and tired literary tropes - deeper than I thought he or his editors would dare go. What's worse, his dialogue is so hackneyed, grammatically flawed, and frankly stupid that you come to hate - literally hate - all of his characters. When one major character is presumed dead about 2/3 of the way through the book, I cheered. "Drown, [name:], Drown," because I had come to despise that idiotic buffoon of a protagonist so much. The book was barely edited, with repetitive passages everywhere. If there is any one thing worse than suffering through Dan Brown's crap exposition once - it's suffering through it three times in a book because Brown's editors are too smug and lazy to edit this hack's writing.

Storywise, too, the Lost Symbol bordered on pathetic. First of all, TLS is just a watered down retread of the Davinci Code reset in Washington DC. I was actually insulted by how thinly veiled this was. Do we have an American Sophie? Yes. A Sauniere? Yes. A police inspector who is somehow connected to the unfolding events? Yes. A psychotic killer? Um, hell yes. And it was this last character - the psycho, here named Mala'kh - that really ruined the book for me. Because unlike in Angels and Demons and in the Davinci Code, this villain was just a serial killer. Just a psycho. Not motivated by anything particularly meaningful except his bloodlust and desire for power. After sitting through HOURS of listening to this guy torture people, I wondered whether I was reading a Dan Brown thriller or a crappy knock-off of Silence of the Lambs. The fact that Brown had to resort to hours and hours of sadistic serial killer content shows just how flimsy his storyline is.

And flimsy it was. Brown's whole plotline was filled with holes and deus ex machinas. To make his implausible, illogical storyline work, he had to make his characters into idiots who failed to see the most obvious facts in front of their faces. The ending is not a thoughtful surprise, but rather a massive, laughable letdown. Consider your worst case scenario of how you will feel at the end of the Lost series: that will be your reaction to the end of this book.

Most of this book read like a badly written lecture from a cocky, second-rate professor from the University of Phoenix. Actually, I think that's more of an insult to the University of Phoenix. Avoid at all costs.
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Comments (showing 1-5 of 5) (5 new)

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message 1: by Neil (new)

Neil Young i think the real thing to figure out is, how do we write similarly bad, millionaire-producing works?

Aaron The torture thing bothered me too. I wasn't prepared for the over the top murders. The vivid, horrific drowning of the sweet, fat girl for example. Don't think I'll forgive Brown for that. Especially because nothing ever came of it...it was just shocking for no reason.

Brooke I'm currently listening to this book and it's torture. I don't even think I can finish it ... the dialog is so trite and stupid. I was ready for it to be over with the final scene with Mala'kh but and shocked I still have over an hour of this dribble to listen to. Nothing at this point can redeem this for me. Moving on to another book ...

Deedles Wow. This is exactly how I felt about this book.

Michelle Smith I laughed out loud at the thought of being trapped in a 19-hour reading of this book. That must be a Circle of Hell. Did you not turn on each other in the car, start gnawing on each others limbs? Or maybe you laughed for 19 solid hours? Or maybe the suffering strengthened your relationship?

OK, seriously: I adored this review. I especially loved this part: 'If there is any one thing worse than suffering through Dan Brown's crap exposition once - it's suffering through it three times'.


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