2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
Hugely entertaining - until you read the final chapters,
This review is from: The Lost Symbol (Robert Langdon) (Hardcover)
Having read all other Dan Brown's books I must say that I was very pleasantly surprised at first. This novel also has all the right ingredients that we've been used to in novels like the Da Vinci Code, Angels and Demons and others: a mysterious plot with undertones of a huge conspiracy, an even more mysterious background story (this time: Freemasonry in the USA), interesting and varied characters (scientists, mystics, the usual bad guy) and plenty of action and 'alternative' information about common places many of us have either visited or at least seen in documentaries and other movies.
In a 509-page novel, I would say that the first 400-odd pages were crackingly good. Regardless of what other fellow reviewers have said, this part won't let you down - I'm sure that some of the less favourable aspects of Dan Brown's writing won't be enough to cut down the excitement. And thus, during the few days I took to read this, I could only put down the book to fulfil my professional obligations. That included cutting down sleep time and giving my relatives less attention than they deserved.
However, it is by the last 100-odd pages that it all falls apart. Just as when I was expecting a huge crescendo, the plot all but disappears, as though someone, the author, suddenly pulled the rug from under it. I won't include here any spoilers, but just be alerted that what the bad guy finds may not be exactly what he - and the readers! - was expecting. Apart from a huge turn of events concerning the bad guy and one of the main characters, the last pages are lifeless and uninteresting.
In the very last few pages it gets even worse during a conversation between Robert Langdon and the leading female character, which is the conversation that serves to finish the book. In this conversation the author throws back at the reader just about any hodge-podge, mash, porridge, sticky gum and stained piece of new-age/religious/myth/bible-esque gooey fact that he could find about them. By the way of an explanation, and again I don't want to reveal too much just in case you want to read this yourself, the book turns into a stupid sounding lecture containing all sorts of meaningless facts mainly about Christianity that could be found only to give the idea that religions are really the way that human kind will "find its way", blah-blah-blah-blah-blah-blah. For a while I though I was reading 'The Celestine Prophecy'. Some people will probably find this appealing but I would rather it had more substance and credibility than what sounds like fairy-tales. One thing is to claim that it is Maria Magdalene who sits by Jesus' side in the Last Supper as painted by Leonardo da Vinci, another completely different thing is to claim that the bible and other religious beliefs have some kind of inter-connecteness with particle physics and other ground-breaking, "serious" sciences and that the "soul", whatever it is, has mass - if it did, it would be great, for it meant that religion and mysticism has nothing to do with it.
Frankly, I expected a wrap-up that sounded more credible. It just ruined the 5-star recommendation I otherwise would have given it.