Codex by Lev Grossman (Fiction)

posted 20 Jan 2010, 11:02 by DP Durlston-Powell   [ updated 29 Jan 2010, 09:05 ]
Backcover blurb:

Edward Wozny, a hot shot young banker, is sent to help one of his firm's most important and mysterious clients. When asked to uncrate and organise a personal library of rare books, Edward's inital indignation turns to intrigue as he realises that among the volumes there may be hidden a unique medieval codex, a priceless bound manuscript that has been sealed away for many years and for many reasons. Edward's intrigue becomes an absession that only deepens as friends draw him into a peculiar and addictive computer game and mystifying parallels begin to emerge between the game's virtual reality and the legend of the codex...

My thoughts:

Hmmm. This was well reviewed: the New York Times said it was as entertaining as The Name of the Rose and the San Francisco Chronicle calls it "...a genuine treat". To me, this just shows how critical acclaim does not necessarily equal wide appeal; I really didn't enjoy this book. It seems too forced, overly complicated and finishes with a fizzle rather than a climax. As I read it, I had the feeling that Lev Grossman was leaning over my shoulder, pointing out passages and smugly saying "Look how I used this analogy as a mirror to the phrase I used 23 pages earlier; aren't I clever." This is the second Lev Grossman novel I've read (The Magicians being the first one and notably better) and the smugness seems to be Lev Grossman's style.


A rare book; one simply not worth the time spent reading it.  With so many excellent books out there, this one is best avoided.