This book is not a leap from Dan Brown's other books. It was great escapism and there were some good moments...I am a geek and I liked the "lectures" throughout. As a mystery - not so much - I figured out the staircase about chapter 10 - won't spoil it for others.
This is not Shakespeare but a good story and probably written for the 3rd movie. Enjoy and take it as a bit of a vacation from real life. Don't bother if you want deep characters and a believable story.
I teach. I Listen. I trust your judgment as a fellow listener.
The two stars are for the guided tour of Washington D.C.'s unique landmarks. But...
You know a novel is in trouble when you get 3/4ths of the way through and just want it over already. The antagonist in this story seems to be motivated by such a surreal urge to do evil (and become a god) that he is driven to perform ridiculous acts of cruelty, so bizarre in nature as to be laughable from a literary stand point. The listener will find him/herself saying, "Why would he do that that?" Just because something is macabre, doesn't mean your maniacal antagonist has to do it...but that's exactly what Dan Brown has done in this novel. The evil doer in this book is nothing more than a stock character akin to the wicked troll living under the bridge (or, in this case, a mansion).
More painful yet is the is the introduction of an entire throw away section of the book involving something called noetic science. It comes, build to a crescendo, and disappears in a blaze of inanity. Filler is the best description I have for the chapters on the subject.
Perhaps the most odd aspect of this book is how the author allows characters in the throws of death (or running in terror) to lucidly contemplate great spiritual mysteries as if their impending doom is a moment of clarity worthy of epiphany. Those little gems can be described in one word...hooey.
The entire premise of the book (no spoilers here) is inane: a great mystery, so powerful that it must be kept from all humankind. Yet, that same mystery would liberate (you guessed it) all humankind. It keeps you listening to the end, only to let you down like an expensive restaurant meal that gives you gastrointestinal issues.
Avoid this novel so Dan Brown will have to do his mea culpas to a public who expected more than this, but less than Umberto Eco.
I support the comments that the story-line was:
Predictable - YES
Repetitive - YES
Cookie-Cutter - YES
and YES, a disappointment!
I could not think of the proper way to express my reservations about this book. When talking to a friend of mine she said that she found the book to be contrived. I think that is an excellent way of expressing my critique. Typical of Dan Brown, there is a load of information, perhaps too much arcane information. However, that is the most interesting aspect of the book. I found myself being lectured way too often or as another friend said "speechifying". I was also troubled about the repetitive nature of some of the lecturing which talks place in the form of an explanation. I swear it is almost cut and past from one section of the book to another.
By the end of the book I was happy that it had finally finished and felt that the work to get through it was really not worth the effort.
A previous reviewer wrote " If you like Dan Brown, you will like this book". I like Dan Brown but this book is a near complete waste of time. Is Brown writing a mystery or giving a lecture? I thought this book was never going to end. Of course as another reviewer said, he will probably make a fortune on the screen play. This may be a challenge for Ron Howard, not sure he has ever made a movie based on a lecture before.
As much as I wanted to like this one, it was not to be. As the story stumbled through I couldn't stop myself from thinking that somehow an unedited first draft of a Dan Brown novel had been bootlegged and released as a final product. I can only assume that the author has reached some sort of "untouchable" status with the publisher and was allowed to bypass any semblance of editorial assistance. Some of the material was so repetitive that on more than one occasion I was sure my ipod had skipped back to previous chapters. The story had potential but this book belies the greatest qualities of all other Dan Brown novels. If the reader cannot even begin to accept the plausibility of the book's premises and reconcile the revelation of interesting real world facts to creative fictional situations then we are left with nothing more than a screenplay barely worthy of a lost episode of MacGyver. I assume Ron Howard is sweating bullets wondering what he is supposed to do with this one. This will teach movie execs to read before they buy.
Great narration though!!
Depending upon your view, this was either "classic" Dan Brown or "Typical" Dan Brown. Being a fan, I will say "classic", but definately not the best of Brown.
Robert Langdon was once again, after an early morning call, running around a large city with a beautiful, very smart, scientist; being chased by the authorities, and a scary, extremely creepy bad guy. Of course Robert has to decode something to save a life and once again it all has religious overtones. (Okay, overtones is an understatement.)
There were plot twists that I saw coming and a couple that caught me off guard. All in all, I did enjoyed the ride. But, as others have said, once the ride was over, it just kept going! Not only did the ending go on too long, but the behavior was not believable. All the people involved had just been through a harrowing, intense experience - The emotions or lack of, did not ring true.
I could hardly wait for Dan Brown's new book. It was a huge disappointment. He should have written an essay with all his wonderful facts. Instead, he ran them all together with flat, lifeless characters. I finished it, but it was difficult.
Dan Brown hit on a great formula with "Angels and Demons," then improved the pacing and intrigue with "The Davinci Code." I found them both to be very entertaining and fun. The Lost Symbol follows the same formula for the most part, but without the excitement or supporting character pizazz of the other two books. I found it boring and predictable. The same old details are dropped ad nauseum, (Langdon's Harris tweed, Mickey watch, claustrophobia, et al.) and the character doesn't develop in any way. The plot is also a little clunky compared to the other two books. I wish I had reread Davinci Code.