06 August 2013

Dan Brown's The Lost Symbol

I happened to grab The Lost Symbol more or less by chance at the library, as it was on display in the "thriller" section and I recognized the author.

I wouldn't say I'm a big fan of Dan Brown's books, but nor am I an active detractor; they are what they are, and they are engaging if nothing else.

The Lost Symbol features Robert Langdon once more.  The only other Robert Langdon book I have read is The DaVinci Code, and that was some years ago, so while the character was somewhat familiar, it was by no means like reuniting with an old friend.  Other than Langdon, pretty much all the characters seemed new to me.

Symbol seemed more or less along the same lines as DaVinci Code: lots of geography, lots of art history, lots of architecture, and a mystery that conveniently ties it all together.  It's set in Washington, D.C., and I had to look up many of the places mentioned - which also, rather amusingly, led to several sites devoted to pointing out all the ridiculous errors/omissions Dan Brown made in describing our nation's capital.  The articles were totally valid, but they were written by D.C. natives, so they definitely knew things that the layperson reading the novel wouldn't pick up on.  While this might be forgivable in some instances, given the success of Brown's other books, I'm a little surprised he didn't take a little more time to get everything right, knowing he would be more heavily scrutinized.

The book was, on the whole, enjoyable, though I guessed the twist about half-way through (at least as regards the villain).  I thought its biggest problem was its pacing.  Brown likes lots of little (as in 2-3 page) chapters, which always left the action feeling truncated, and long swaths of the book seemed to be steaming along at the same intensity level.  There were very few spots to catch your breath: it was either run-run-run or talk-talk-talk, and no in-between.  It almost reminded me of watching a serial anime, which are often notorious for just leaving off the action and picking it up next episode, regardless of where in the action the episode ends.  Or of the planet Bartledan in Douglas Adams' Hitchhiker's Guide series, where stories just stop after 100,000 words.

All things considered, it was a good read, though a bit hard to get through at times because of the weird chapters: it was hard to find good points to pause, and that sometimes made it hard to pick back up the next day.

Up next, I am going to (finally) finish The Wilderness Warrior!

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Books: The above; The Wilderness Warrior.

Bottles: 2007 Silver Oak Napa Valley Cabernet; 2007 Dashe Cellars Alexander Valley Cabernet; 2007 K Vintners Roma en Chamberlin; and two others I can't think of right now.  Many were amazing, but none more so than the '07 Silver Oak.

Writing: Slowly getting back into the groove of it!

Guitar: Looking at "La Grange" still; it's too fast!