I just finished reading Dan Brown's The Lost Symbol. This post is not meant to lambast Mr. Brown. I have full respect for authors who get millions of people to read not only their works, but other books as well, if only to prove them wrong. In general, The Lost Symbol was an entertaining read, but I much preferred Angels and Demons and The Da Vinci Code over it. Plot-wise, you get what you expect from him.
I won't give a detailed criticism of it. That has been done and is being done all over the world. I don't need to add my two cents over the millions of pennies it has collected. I just have one irksome observation when I read the whole thing that I could not let go. One very small part – equivalent to three paragraphs – out of the whole story.
I would only be discussing my views on a very miniscule section of the book and nothing else. However, it still involves an event in the story. This spoiler is for all those persnickety readers out there who would think that this single revelation would ruin the whole thing for them – STOP READING THIS BLOG AND FINISH THE NOVEL. And for those who don't care and are wondering why all this fuss, trust me, there are persnickety readers out there. Just browse through the counter-comments of the books section in Amazon.
For a brief summary: There's a part in this book where a female character is being pursued in a void of darkness (they were trapped in a hangar-like pod that had to be kept in absolutely darkness because of high-security stuff) by the main antagonist. She was able to trick him and escape by lighting up her iPhone, making the antagonist think that she was making a phone call for help. He ran towards her, and eventually crushed his hands on the unseen wall and banged his head on a steel beam. Nobody was holding the phone, it was placed on a "waist-high horizontal strut."
DB's books always has to be read with a grain of salt. His fantastical plot, over-the-top twists and lambasting of history have always been criticized. However, those are the main reasons why his books sell so well. But this is just ridiculous, even stupid. Just to be clear, the antagonist was a very smart, diabolical individual, who at that that early point of the story, has not suffered from any physical, mental or sensory injuries. The only thing he had against him was that he was blanketed in total darkness. So how in the world id he not see the wall that was immediately behind the illuminated iPhone????
I have an iPhon (God bless those Apple geniuses), and one great thing about it is that it has a really great display. I've even used it countless of times as an emergency flashlight, and even at its "desktop setting" where it's at its dimmest, it can still light up at least a yard of space around me. So with the phone lighted up and the wall at most an arm's length behind it, why didn't this super-smart guy see it? Granted that the guy was running, but if the beam, wall and phone were immediately in front of him, and his eyes having been in darkness for so long, his vision would be highly sensitive enough to avoid bonking his head.
In this particular part of the book, my mind immediately erased the maleficent, tattooed (oops!) demon-person that was playing the character in my head, and replaced it with the dunce of a giant Disney created for his version of Jack and the Beanstalk. It was that dumb.