The Lost Symbol marks the return of Harvard Symbologist Professor Robert Langdon. A last minute request from good friend Peter Solomon brings Langdon to Washington DC to give a lecture in the Capitol Building. However not all is as it seems and Langdon, upon arrival at the National Sanctuary Hall, discovers an empty room showing no signs of the supposed lecture that he was due to give. From then on the pace of the novel picks up and Langdon is launched head first into a struggle to find what he believes does not physically exist for a madman who has kidnapped his mentor and threatens to end his life. The discovery of a severed hand, marked with 5 symbols, captures Langdon and forces him to uncover the mysteries that lay ahead in order to save more than one life that night. He is not alone in his plight as Katherine Solomon, Peter's sister, and the CIA have their own interests in this case and will stop at nothing to reach their own goal.
This was a surprise favourite of mine. I am a huge fan of Dan Brown having already read his previous novels when they first came out. I adore art (as you can probably tell from my nail art obsession :P ) and although I wouldn't know a lot on the topic of Symbology it really interests. Brown has a way of weaving the history of the buildings and certain artistic pieces or statues into the story without making it seem like a Travel guide. It's interesting and it has a role to play in the telling of the story. The story is fast paced, helped by the very short chapters (often only 1-3 pages in length) It sifts back and forth between Langdon, Katherine and Mal'akh, Peters captor. You get a brief idea of the characters at the beginning and they are constantly revealing parts of their history and their own traits as certain circumstances come up. They are well developed, to the point where you can almost see them in your head as you are reading along. The book deals with the Freemasons and mentions other so-called Secret Society's but don't let that put you off. It's done in a way that it is concise and always relates back to the story at hand. I enjoyed learning about the symbols and their meanings and how they are written in to history without anyone really noticing it. The building descriptions are beautifully done. It really is an informative read. As a crime/ mystery book it is really very good. I was gripped from the start and it had plenty of twists and turns right up until the end.
One thing that bugged me was the fact that certain parts were overly explained for example when the ring was found on the hand it was clear who it belonged to from the previous chapters but Brown still writes it down as if it was a big reveal and you are going to fall off your seat in shock. That's probably just me being pedantic now but it bugged me for a fair few chapters after that. Another aspect of the book that Ib thought was a bit out of place was how easily led Katherine seemed to be. For a highly educated lady she was awful thick at times, trusting a man she had just met, allowing him into her workplace despite the fact it contained work so important that they refused to keep a backup elsewhere for fear the information it contained would be leaked prematurely. For me that was a fairly big flaw in her character. Something that struck me as odd was the lack of emotion shown for the other lesser characters, particularly towards the end of the story. They weren't really addressed beyond a certain point in the book. While their purpose in moving the story along was achieved I feel like it ended abruptly and there could have been a minor mention of them at the end just to tie up a few tiny (almost minuscule) loose ends.
I had an inkling about the big reveal at the end concerning a certain character (I won't ruin it for ye) but it was so well done that my knowing what it was didn't take away from it . I loved the fact that Brown had different characters unearthing the truth at different times instead of one big reveal for everyone. The end of the book was fitting. It didn't drag on and it was the best way to end the story.
Overall I would thoroughly recommend this book. I enjoyed every bit of it and I have learned so much about Washington just from the snippet's of information Brown included about it's buildings and their history. The story itself was captivating. I enjoyed the Characters and they each held their own. It's a lengthy book but it is necessary. There was no point where I was there thinking "For feck sake would you just get on with it". I enjoyed the ending and I felt almost sad that it was over because I connected with the characters and their interactions with each other made for great reading. You know when you reach that point that you have a good book on your hands (and that you're a bit of a nerd)
For my nails I decided to focus on the main points of the cover. Using grey acrylic paint over a white base I have the top of the Capitol Building on my middle finger with the key running through it onto the rest of my nails. The key was an absolute nightmare and had me driven demented for hours but I really wanted to get it done for this manicure. I love the picture of the Capitol Building on the cover but I could only do the top on my nubbins. I'm pretty pleased with the overall look, it was so hard to get the little details on with the brush I had. I have to get some of those wafer thin brushes for future manicures.
Let me know below if ye have read The Lost Symbol and what ye thought of it? I cannot wait to read Inferno (Dan Brown's latest release) It's another thick book too so it'll be a good long read.