My rating: 2 of 5 stars
I call this third novel in the Robert Langdon series Langdon at his most obtuse yet. There is very little actual symbol/code deciphering in the 600+ pages of this book and most of what is deciphered is either done by others or all but spelled out for Langdon. I felt like he wasn’t true to the characterization from the previous books except in that Brown leaned too heavily on Langdon’s claustrophobia and acrophobia. For one, you’d think that the man who had discovered the secret of the grail would be more open-minded but through the book, right up to the end, he doubts everything he’s told about the pyramid and the legend. There’s skeptical and then there’s just ornery.
On top of my annoyance with Langdon, which is not unique to this book, this installment is boring. Rather than being a non-stop race from clue to clue, there is a lot of scientific explication, rambling passages about enlightenment, descriptions of various locations around Washington, D.C., and far too much of Mal’akh. Brown’s previous villains have been intelligent though misguided or improperly motivated but Mal’akh’s motivations are purely selfish and literally evil.
With the two prior novels, I’ve complained that I was able to solve the clues faster than the so-called expert. I can’t say that that happened in The Lost Symbol it is because the solution is more symbolic than anything, lost in a bunch of mumbo-jumbo, and revealed well after the climactic scene when I was beyond ready for the story to end. However, I did quickly figure out Mal’akh’s big secret and I guess where the clues would ultimately lead, though, for the sake of the story, it was pretty meaningless by the time they arrived there. Everyone involved should’ve been in the hospital instead of continuing their grand tour of Masonic D.C. I’ve had issues with each of Brown’s novels that I’ve read but I expect certain things that keep me coming back to the series but this one failed even in delivering that fast-paced thrill and symbolic mystery. For a while, I thought that if this one had followed the superior The DaVinci Code I would’ve enjoyed it more but…nah.