Wednesday, September 16, 2009

The Lost Symbol: Update

Well, the reviews are coming in to just a day after its release. So far, it’s garnering a wishy-washy 3½ out of 5 stars. Lettuce look at a couple reviews, shall we?

Here is a 5-star review from D. Vasko in Pennsylvania:*
This novel was everything I expected: an exciting, fast-paced, page turner with numerous plot twists. It follows a writing pattern similar to Brown's other novels, and that's a good thing. I absolutely love the writing style of his other novels, and expected his new book to follow a similar format. What would anyone else expect? Before The Lost Symbol was released, it was known that Robert Langdon was going to be the central character, and the storyline would revolve around codes, symbols etc. These are obviously the types of topics that DB knows well, and is able to weave into a very captivating story....which he has done yet again. Keep up the good work Dan!
How exciting!

But wait just a dagnab minute. Here is a 1-star review from Roy A. Teel, Jr. in California:*
This book should have been titled the lost plot, the lost creative writing style or where's my character? While I have enjoyed Brown's other works this is a cut and paste of his other two best sellers with little new to offer. His use of the Free Masons and the secret society is not only getting old but plain wrong. The Mason's are a wonderful and peaceful society of people dedicated to do good for mankind. Brown takes great pains to slander the order for the purpose of making money.

The book is slow and tediously detail oriented to the point of boredom, I fell asleep several times trying to read through this brick sized book. I found myself scanning over his boring detailed paragraph after paragraph writing to get to the point. In the end the POINT was a total disappointment. . . .

I thought after close to six years of writing we were going to get a gem, instead the reader gets a lump of coal.
Oh poo!

"How exciting!" and "Oh poo!"

You all realize that this debate will be going on for the next five years while books of merit will languish by the wayside. It's a damn good thing there are plenty of excellent book bloggers and LibraryThingers who find and review books from, as Carlos Ruiz Zafon calls it, The Cemetery of Forgotten Books.

* Reviews are from the Amazon above.


PI said...

Dan Brown isn't on my radar but I've just finished 'Winter Light' which I found gripping and am getting a feel of Louisiana. His portrayal of academic bitching makes me think maybe he's lived on a campus. Full of menace.

Anonymous said...

I am just wondering why since you don't like this author you are spending so much time reviewing him, his books and the hipe?

Charlie said...

PAT: I don't know if Burke ever lived on a campus, but his portrayal of academia is spot-on. He's a talented enough writer to pull it off.

ANONYMOUS: A legitimate question, but I believe my answer is in the last paragraph:

"You all realize that this debate will be going on for the next five years while books of merit will languish by the wayside."

I also said in my earlier lambast,

"There is no way Brown comes even close to early Ken Follett, Frederick Forsyth, or Robert Ludlum . . ."

It is the "hype" that gets to me when I know that a hack is getting all the attention while excellent writers are ignored or can't even get into print.

Kevin Musgrove said...

'twas always the way.

But we tries us best in the library, honest! (Well, nearly)

Charlie said...

KEVIN: Ah, the collective "we." I know we tries us best in the library, but haven't I read something about an overload of unopened stock due to an underload of staff?

Peter said...

Hi, Charlie! I'm a bit suprised myself as to how I'm reading The Lost Symbol. I bought it 3 days ago and I'm only on page 91. I just can't get past how unnatural some of the dialogue feels. The characters are just throwing bits of academic info to each other as if it's the most natural thing in the world to be talking about arcane stuff.

I guess one of the reasons I'm not enjoying the book that much is the setting -- the US capital. I can relate well with the context of The Da Vinci Code and Angels and Demons because they touched on issues I'm very familiar with (e.g., Catholic dogma), being a Catholic myself. I constantly have to Google the landmarks Brown kept mentioning in The Lost Symbol just to make sure that I'm picturing them correctly.

Charlie said...

PETER: Perhaps printing a map that has the buildings marked would help. I lived in D.C. for a year, and the majority of the buildings are clustered together (not so the landmarks and memorials).

Peter said...

Okay, Charlie! I'll do that. I just want to get this book out of the way -- and the sooner the better.

Wandering Coyote said...

Oh dear freaking God - even the "how exciting" review put me off! I mean "It follows a writing pattern similar to Brown's other novels, and that's a good thing." - SERIOUSLY???????

Vasko is obviously an idiot and Dan Brown CAN'T FUCKING WRITE.

Alow me to reiterate a comment I left on your previous post about this book: I will not go near this book with a 50 metre pole.

Charlie said...

WC: You know, WC, I think you should be more blunt and say what you're really thinking.

Wandering Coyote said...

Man, you wouldn't believe what I don't say!

Sheila (bookjourney) said...

Great post! Love to see the battle continue - I have yet to read the book so I must wait patiently on the sidelines. :)

Kevin Musgrove said...

Bumped into this and thought of you, Charlie!