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Reviews of books in a series, with a focus on urban fantasy.
Other genres include mystery, paranormal romance, and crime thrillers.

Friday, September 18, 2009

The Lost Symbol by Dan Brown

I enjoyed The Lost Symbol. There were some irritations, but in spite of the irritations, it was an enjoyable book.

The characters are decent, the plot is very well done, the action is good, and the premise is interesting.

The irritations? Repeated phrases, for one. But the most irritating is the idea of "oh, this is important... and here are some teasers about how important... but I'm not going to tell you what it is just yet." Don't tease me, just tell me. If there isn't something you want me to know yet, then don't tell me about it at all. I don't like to be teased.

And at least one other pretty big thing that... I'm not sure it's quite at the level of an irritation, but it almost makes for an unreliable narrator, so you start not trusting what you've been told. Well, not so much an unreliable narrator (by definition) as a storyteller who can't be relied upon to tell what is actually happening when he tells what is happening. I don't want to spoil things, so I'll just say that there are times you think you know what is happening, then you are taken back in time and you see that the narration wasn't giving you enough of the picture to see what was actually happening. It made me not trust what I was being told a few times when I should have trusted.

There were also a few times that I broke a code or figured something out before the people in the books. On the one hand, it makes me feel smart, on the other hand, it annoys me that I can see it and they can't.

And finally - the biggest thing in the story? Kind of the main thing? I guessed the location a very short way into the meat of things. Oddly though, even though that thing was kind of the purpose of the whole story, it was kind of anticlimatic. The action was the good part, but I guess that's another point, isn't it? The mystics tell us it's the journey that counts - not the destination. And the best part of the book was the journey, so to speak.

That's not to say that I guessed everything, there were several things that literally hit me upside the head when they were revealed.

And some of the side things I learned, like the Kryptos at the CIA headquarters, or the fact that there is a statue of George Washington making him into a Zeus. These (and others) were things I didn't know, but that I will be exploring further.

If I were rating the book strictly on writing style, it would get a 6. The grammar and use of repeated phrases bugged me and some of the "I'm going to teach you now" parts also bugged me - not because they were teaching me, but because it was done in such a high handed way. These things aren't what you expect to see at this level of author. However; the story lines, the plot, the action... they bring the book rating up a great deal. I'm giving The Lost Symbol a 9 of 10. I think the series also gets a 9 of 10. It's not great literature, but it's an enjoyable read.

Book Rating: 9 of 10
Series Rating: 9 of 10

I've debated as to what genre to put this book into. In the end, I've decided on Crime Thriller. It has elements of an urban fantasy in that it pulls from mythologies for part of the story, but it's not really an urban fantasy.

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