Dan Brown's highly anticipated new book The Lost Symbol is "impossible to put down," said Janet Maslin in The New York Times. Set in Washington, D.C., and involving the "secrets of Freemasonry," The Lost Symbol at first "looks dangerously like a clone" of its predecessor, The Da Vinci Code, but soon builds "nonstop momentum." Brown's "splendid ability to concoct 64-square grids outweighs" his shortcomings as an author, and even his "excitable, hyperbolic tone" becomes one of the book's "guilty pleasures."
The Lost Symbol is "like the experience on any roller coaster—thrilling, entertaining, and then it's over," said Nick Owchar in the Los Angeles Times. "Brown's narrative moves rapidly, except for those clunky moments when people sound like encyclopedias." But the truth is, "no one reads Brown for style," we read him to see what will happen to his main character, Langdon, and in that sense, The Lost Symbol doesn't disappoint.
But a little variety would have been nice, said Louis Bayard in The Washington Post. The Da Vinci Code "template remains largely intact: Where, in the previous book, the savagery was committed by a massive albino monk, here it is committed by a massive tattooed monk." And in The Lost Symbol, Brown's "deficiencies as a stylist" are "still in place," as is his "habit of turning characters into docents."