Sunday, September 8, 2013

Book Review of The Lost Symbol by Dan Brown

The Lost Symbol starts off much like every other Dan Brown story chronicling the adventures of Robert Langdon: a creepy guy, a secret ritual, a visual description of Robert that captures his personality by describing his clothes, traveling to an exciting city late in the evening having been called there by some mysterious rich friend with the allusion that he is there to help solve a mystery, a story about Robert’s fear of elevators and flashback to some traumatic childhood event with the hint that this story will be essential to the plot, and obelisks. Always there is an obelisk. But maybe that’s what we really, really like about Dan Brown novels. He knows how to tell a story. This one’s a page turner. It has a lot of cliff-hangers. I kind of like cliff hangers, but I think it’s a little over-done. Just when you get into the story, it stops and leaves you wondering what’s going to happen next and then the story switches to another part of the plot.

I love how Dan Brown novels have a healthy dose of intense, cutting edge science that makes me want to go out and study whatever topic he’s describing. In the case of The Lost Symbol, Noetic science is discussed in just enough detail to pique my interest and make me want to learn more. I actually did some searching and found some interesting websites about it. There is also a good deal of religious teachings that are so close to being right, yet are missing key points of the truth so that I wanted to yell and say “Wait! There’s more to that than what he’s telling you!” Also, with regards to religion, Robert is always such a skeptic; to the point of being repetitive. If he really trusts this old, wise friend of his, then why does he not believe him when the truth is explained to him? Robert is a scientist and thus has to question everything religious. Or does he? Science and religion prove one another. Isn’t that what science does? Prove that something is real or not real? If there is proof right in front of him, how can he not trust it? And what does religion do? Bring to a clear understanding the true nature of God. Thus religion makes science understandable.

Dan Brown novels also include multiple villains, or perceived villains, and chases involving law enforcement agencies with seemingly endless resources at their disposal. It is very difficult to distinguish the good guys from the bad guys and there is a constant sense of ‘who is really trying to help Robert’ and ‘who is actually out to hurt him.’ In The Lost Symbol, the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) gets involved within a few chapters and spends much of the rest of the novel chasing Robert Langdon. It is obvious to the reader who the true villain is, yet also obvious that multiple people in the story are actually working with the villain rather than against him. It makes the reader question the integrity of the characters and see conspiracy theories and hidden agendas throughout the story.

The symbols and imagery throughout the book are great, but I’d love to be able to see all of the art and buildings and maps that he describes. I’d like to read an illustrated version of the book.

There are a few really profound quotes from the book that I enjoyed. I’ll share a few of them here:

These were the thoughts of the (fictional) Dean of the Washington National Cathedral, the Reverend Dr. Colin Galloway: “From the Crusades, to the Inquisition, to American politics – the name Jesus had been hijacked as an ally in all kinds of power struggles. Since the beginning of time, the ignorant had always screamed the loudest, herding the unsuspecting masses and forcing them to do their bidding. They defended their worldly desires by citing Scripture they did not understand. They celebrated their intolerance as proof of their convictions. Now, after all these years, mankind had finally managed to utterly erode everything that had once been so beautiful about Jesus.”

These are the words of Peter Solomon while speaking to a lecture hall full of college students: “Truth has power. And if we all gravitate toward similar ideas, maybe we do so because those ideas are true…written deep within us. And when we hear the truth, even if we don’t understand it, we feel that truth resonate within us…vibrating with our unconscious wisdom. Perhaps the truth is not learned by us, but rather, the truth is re-called…remembered…re-cognized…as that which is already inside us.”

Have you read The Lost Symbol? What’s your opinion? –Julie

I'd like to read it again alongside the illustrated guide!

Other Books by Dan Brown:

His latest novel: Inferno (which I'm reading right now! I'll share a review later!)

The first in the Robert Langdon series: Angels & Demons

Dan's most famous novel: The Davinci Code

I've read Deception Point, but I don't remember what it's about. Guess I'm going to have to read it again!

Digital Fortress is different than other Dan Brown novels in that it mostly takes place in one location; the main character doesn't travel the world like in others of his novels.

Several of Dan Brown's novels have been made into movies! The Davinci Code and Angels & Demons

I recently lost 42 pounds on the Take Shape for Life program! Want to check out my weight loss transition? Click here! -Julie L. Spencer

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