Dear Dan Brown…

Dear Dan Brown,

I read Angels & Demons and thought it was an excellent book – fast based, engaging and interesting. I read The DaVinci Code and enjoyed it almost as much as Angels & Demons – it was a pleasure, even if some of your stylistic quirks came to the fore of my attention every now and again. Nonetheless, I enjoyed them each enough that the day The Lost Symbol was released, I purchased it immediately. I knew what I was getting into and my only expectation was that I would be entertained.

Alas, I was not, in fact, entertained.

I read the first 300 pages not long after bringing the book home. About halfway through those pages, I had already figured out the true identity of the antagonist Mal’ahk as well as where the endgame was going to take place. The super-secret location they were looking for the entire book didn’t need to be discovered by solving any Masonic pyramid from the 1800’s. All one needed was a rudimentary understanding of Washington D.C. and the monuments. I’ve only been there once myself, but it was clear as day what they were looking for. As such, the rest of the book felt ENDLESS.

Also, it seems like you really enjoyed The Secret. But did you really need to repackage the ideas in that book and drop Langdon into the middle of them? All that ‘human thought has power and can create the outcomes you want’ stuff is…well, it is what it is, and if I wanted to be hit over the head with it, I would know where to go. You were not the source I would expect to get it from. I expected concise information about symbols and how they appear in the most unexpected places, with a twist of irony and a heavy dose of overstuffed lecturing. Yet everything from the halfway mark on felt like never ending meandering around a foregone conclusion.

Also, I know you are not actually a scientist – but neither am I and much of this novel seemed woefully behind the times, even to me.  Many of the experiments mentioned were older than dirt, but you wrote about them like they were new and exciting breakthroughs. Dr. Duncan MacDougall built a sensitive scale to measure a dying person at the moment of death (yes, even correcting for weight loss due to evaporation of moisture in respiration and sweat) all the way back in 1907 – theorizing that the soul weighs 3/4oz. The research of Dr. Masaru Emoto in the late 1940’s and the theories on the impact our individual and collective consciousness has on the world around us on a molecular level are so poplar that there are videos on YouTube setting the results to music.

And the cutesy asides about iPhones and twitter grated.

Were Angels & Demons or The DaVinci Code masterpieces? No, but they were fun and entertaining and dialogue worthy at times. The Lost Symbol wasn’t even fun – it was a chore – despite your clear sense of hope at the end of it all. Is mankind really capable of changing his understanding the of the world around him and his concept of God? Is ‘this great nation’ (a phrase that you wore out,  making me worry that you have grown more than a bit jingoistic) capable of returning to the acceptance and freedom of (and from – a point you never stopped to acknowledge) all religions as you suppose our forefathers had intended? I can’t truly say. But I can say that I believe you are capable of writing much better than this.  I hope you get back to that soon.



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