Doubleday announced today that in the week since Dan Brown’s The Lost Symbol hit the shelves, it has sold more 2 million copies of the English language edition worldwide. Impressed, we decided to head over to Amazon.com to check out what the people are saying. (We already know that New York Times book critic Janet Maslin has got a fever, and the only cure is more Langdon. Granted, she didn’t have to pay for her copy.) Surprisingly, the customer reviews are not as positively skewed as we thought they’d be. The number one gripe: formulaic writing. After the jump, a sampling.
“Too many cliched characters: the diminutive Japanese CIA lady straight out of The Incredibles; the tattooed protagonist just the albino from DVC in reverse; the evil Turkish prison guard from Midnight Express, the wise religious man who sees with his hands…I could go on and on. Forget the so-called science. You can see the plot twists coming a mile away.” – Media Junkie
“The problem is that this book, unlike The Da Vinci Code, is just not particularly fun to read. The Brown Formula for Chapter Writing is omnipresent (basically, have Langdon talk about something, have a realization, and end with a ‘what the…’ chapter cliff-hanger), and the book is too long — by the time it finally reaches the conclusion, your reaction isn’t ‘Well, that’s interesting’; it’s ‘finally! Is it over?'” – Brett “Reviewer”
“I think Dan Brown has worn out his formula and unfortunately his writing has not improved or matured. If anything, it seemed at its worst this time when I felt I was reading a screenplay rather than a novel. The combination of these things have made this book fairly unreadable and dull.” – Olga
“As other reviewers have said, this is a repeat of Brown’s other books. I enjoyed The Da Vinci Code and Angels and Demons so I made the mistake of pre-ordering this on my Kindle so I could read it immediately on publication. I now wish I had put my money into a far better book — virtually any book would do — I ended up speed reading the final third of the book just to get it over with.” – SkepticalScot
“I wasn’t expecting that much going in, maybe a few laughs. But I certainly wasn’t expecting The Lost Symbol to be so incredibly and consistently bad. It’s a flat-out snooze fest — except for the final 50 pages, which are like being harangued by a drunken madman on a crypto-evangelical soapbox. And excuse me, ‘bringing sexy back’? What was Janet Maslin smoking?” – Christopher Locke
And there you have it. The people have spoken, and many of them want a refund. Weigh in with a comment below if you’ve read it.