Wednesday, September 30, 2009

I read The Lost Symbol so you don't have to

I wasn't expecting much of The Lost Symbol, but it surpassed even my wildest expectations. It was awful. I mean dreadfully bad. I read this book in one day, not because it was so compelling, but because it was so ridiculously bad I wanted to get it over with and write this little rant. You would think that after four books, Dan Brown would learn to write or at least aim to change his formulaic approach to writing mysterious thrillers, but no...

This has all the hallmarks of a 'Robert Langdon-series' book: predictable plot, tedious pacing, "it can't be that simple" code cracking, a cast of inept law enforcement agencies (in this case the CIA and a bunch of idiot security guards), cardboard characters, psychotic villain with family issues well versed in religious icons (with a predictable big 'reveal' at the end) and a geeky but fine scientist sidekick. Oh, and the usual tangled cliffhangers at the end of every fucking paragraph. Then we have plenty of pseudo intellectual nonsense by characters who are so dumb they frequently decide to hang around solving puzzles whilst being chased. The characters here are so dull and uneventful you just do not know just who to root for, though to be honest I was rooting for Sato, the willy CIA boss, to stick a spork inside Robert Langdon and wail "this is national security priority, away with you and your cryptic nonsense".

Hope briefly materialised about two third through when the hero nitwit Harvard professor was presumably killed off. There was I thinking that the author has broke out of his predictable rut and did something decent and unexpected for once, but then he goes and bring the renowened symbologist (the true field here is semiotics) back to life leading to a scene where Langdon lovingly kisses Katherine (what, the heir of Jesus isn't enough for you?). The plot makes absolutely no sense, with the victim attempting to protect a secret that wasn't a secret anyway, thus causing plenty of unnecessary deaths along the way! Still CIA bungling their way through the story were some of the pretty funny moments, you can even excuse the death of that lone field agent sent to investigate the bald tattoo villain's home. But seriously, nothing here is original. Even the villain is lifted straight out of Red Dragon, whose hell bend desire to 'transform' reminds anybody who has ever read a good book (or watched the bad film) about Francis Dolarhyde.

I don't mind bad writing per se as long as they are entertaining. It is like watching some crappy Jerry Bruckheimer film - they are crap but for that one moment you are at least entertained. This however takes the award for being utterly dull, poorly written and just plain crap (like the film Transformers), padded to the core with useless Wikipedia trivia. It reads like a bad TV series that gets cancelled after a season. It even has product placements (who gives a flying fuck what phone Sato uses, what elevator Langdon take or car Katherine drives?). It isn't even original. It is a remake of da Vinci Code, which was a remake of Angels and Demons which itself was a remake of Digital Fortress or something.

Gosh, even National Treasure wasn't this bad. Avoid this book is my suggestion (don't buy it - borrow it from a library if you want to suffer). If you want to save what is left of your brain cells read Frederick Forsyth or Robert Ludlum instead, and leave books like this and Twilight to the X-Factor generation.

1 comment:

Gradly said...

I don't agree with you

Dan Brown is a vary talented guy and the way he writes his books is a (style) not a (remake) & we like it.

I know it was NOT a shocker like The Da Vinci Code (its the 1st to discover)or a Thriller like Angels & Demons (the awesome adventure, ambigram, CERN Antimatter) because of his style of writing is exposed to the readers now and the plot was being discussed too long before we got the book into our hands nothing else.

what were your expectation then?