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In Dan Brown's newest novel, The Lost Symbol, Robert Langdon returns to solve mysterious Masonic codes and find secret artifacts and knowledge in order to prevent a disaster from occurring. I have read both of the previous Robert Langdon books (Angels & Demons and The Da Vinci Code), and enjoyed them both (though I liked Angels and Demons more). Knowing that I had kind of enjoyed his previous works, and with all of the hype and buildup around this book, I caved in and bought this hefty hardcover book brand new--something I don't usually do because I usually prefer paperbacks.
Ultimately, I was disappointed. I was not that impressed with the book. It wasn't that suspenseful for me, the subject matter didn't really grab me (I'm not that interested in the Masons and the conspiracies that surround the organization), and the mystical, supernatural aspects of the quest turned me off. Unlike the two previous books, I was unable to suspend reality to really get hooked by the storyline. I just can't wrap my head around the noetic science that was introduced in the book (call me a skeptic, but the idea practically makes me laugh out loud). There seemed to be rather large chunks of the book that didn't include Langdon at all, and for some reason I almost felt like he was not the main character in the book with all of the separate pieces of the storyline going on at the same time. The sign of a good book for me is an inability to put the book down, but I was not obsessed with trying to get to the end of this book. I was also able to figure out the true identity of the bad guy before the main characters did, which was disappointing. Finally, the lack of information about the pending disaster they were trying to prevent (beyond the threatened death of Langdon's friend) made the story less suspenseful. When I finally learned what the pending disaster was it didn't seem like as big of a deal as the characters in the book made it out to be.
Overall, if you're the kind of person who finds Masonic secrets and the idea of noetic science interesting, this book may be right up your alley. It just wasn't my cup of tea. It was a decent read that I was able to finish, but it wasn't a great read.
Dan Brown. The Lost Symbol. Doubleday, 15 September 2009. 528 pp. $29.95 (hardcover), ISBN 978-0385504225.