I enjoyed both Angels and Demons and The DaVinci Code. I devoured both in short order and pre-ordered the latest Robert Langdon book as soon as it was announced in April.
I hope that Mr. Brown spent the last five years or so gallivanting, throwing his millions around, and sleeping late. Because if he spent those years writing the piece of crap known as The Lost Symbol, he should hang up his laptop and retire from writing altogether.
I suspect that Dan Brown has a special app in his word processing program that pops up, Clipit-like, and says: "It looks like you're writing a Robert Langdon novel? Would you like some help?"
Brown accepts, and launches the Langdon Wizard.
"Great, let's start with a villain. Please choose a secret society."
b) Opus Dei
"Terrific! Now let's choose an odd characteristic for your villain."
a) Self-Flagellating Albino
b) Tatooed Castrato
c) Self-Immolating Catholic Priest
"How about a female sidekick who, while lovely and smart has zero chemistry with Langdon?"
a) Noetic Scientist
c) Particle Physicist
Brown's latest book has cookie cutter characters including a curiously wussified Langdon. A distiguished professor of symbology, Langdon is supposed to be the expert on hidden meanings. In The Lost Symbol, he plays straight man to the didactic ramblings of everyone and their dog. Langdon misses clues that I got.
The plot is completely predictable. It's hard to give examples without spoiling it for you readers who will go ahead and ignore my warning, so I'll just say that the twist and turns and false leads and "surprises" are not at all surprising. In fact you can see them coming a mile away. I'm a college dropout, but I figured out the mystery about 400 pages before the Harvard professor did.
The plot is heavy-handed, the characters are a yawn, and I suspect that Dan Brown is either a Mason, or taking a lot of cash from them, he defends them so vociferously.
As I slogged through this uninteresting novel full of uninteresting characters, I kept reading in the hopes that there would be a big payoff at the end. Something akin to the "Jesus had babies!" revelation of The DaVinci Code. As Wayne and Garth would say: Denied. The climax of The Lost Symbol was worthy of a Care Bear Adventure.
Look, I was really looking forward to this one too. I wanted to like it, but it's a real disappointment. Wait for paperback if you must, but please don't spend the cash for the hardcover.
On the bright side, I'm sure the movie will be decent.