Oh Dan, how you disappoint.
Like many I fell a little bit in love with Dan Brown after reading The Da Vinci Code (sadly despised the film). I quickly followed up by devouring Angels and Demons (another wow), Deception Point (bog standard), Digital Fortress (marginal improvement) and finally The Lost Symbol (utterly anti-climactic).
When asked, my knee-jerk reaction is always to praise and, where necessary, defend Brown but I realise now I need to revaluate my position. Of the six books I’ve now read, only two are worthy of recommending. The others I wish I hadn’t wasted my money on.
The problem is I like Brown. He’s a total academic geek, and I mean that affectionately. It’s endearing, and his love of puzzles, historical art and the occasional conspiracy theory borders on infectious. However, as a writer, he’s actually a teeny tiny bit bland.
OK, I’m trying to be nice because I do like him, and I know he hates criticism (who doesn’t?) but he’ll never read this so what they hey? He’s completely bland!
Robert Langdon aside, Brown actually only ever writes the same characters bar from a name change and slightly altered appearance. And the story doesn’t actually change either.
Say it with me: Robert Langdon, the intrepid Harvard professor and “symbologist,” must race against the clock to decode a series of obscure clues left by a madman to save humanity from destruction. The only thing surprising is that Langdon continues to be dumbfounded when he finds messages from shadowy cabals hidden in the pockets of his Harris Tweed.
I can’t help thinking he’d be used to it by now and could dispense with the mock-shock.
But no, there it is.
Because I like Brown (I mentioned that, right?) I’m going to say something nice. When it comes to research the man knows his stuff. He can research the shit out of a good plot-line. It’s possibly why I loved the originals so much, having a mild obsession and fascination with Rome as I do. Now I feel like I’ve been to Florence, and the highlights in the book for me were the descriptions of this beautiful city, and a behind-the-scenes glance at Dante.
I might well add a new destination to my travel bucket list, and am determined to read The Divine Comedy at some point.
But I digress.
In short, this book is not worth the read, unless you’re looking for a bland, predictable and pointless tale of a scavenger hunt across Florence.