The good: Codex does supply its moments of suspense and intrigue, and never lets the plot waver so long that the reader will lose interest. The bad: main character Edward's gulliblity grates after a while. For a hotshot banker, he lets himself be repeatedly bullied, and he accepts so much of what the other characters tell him at face value that you begin to feel like it's the only way Grossman can pull off his narrative. While suspenseful there's never really any sense of danger in Codex. The duchess says she fears for her very life (because of the duke), and yet when Edward is set upon by the duke's hired hands there's nary a weapon or a threat in sight--if anything, they seem utterly incompetent. The ugly: The ending, which is neither clever nor a surprise. Grossman seems to want to make the point that everything doesn't wrap itself up tidily in life, the end result of which in Codex is essentially this: self-absorbed hotshot banker has wild adventure, considers changing life, adventure ends badly, after which...he goes back to being a self-absorbed hotshot banker. For a thriller to live up to its name, you ought to be able to do better than that....Continua
Back-cover review: "Codex takes its place on the shelf with The Name of the Rose, Posession and A Case of Curiosities, and it's as entertaining as any of them."
Well, at least I've heard of the first two, and I was really looking forward to some proper 'popular fiction' after a run of not-so-successful reads. I'm a sucker for thrillers and crime, and this one looked satisfyingly silly from the plot summary. So far, so good.
Unfortunately, though, the book didn't make it for me. I thought it had potential: young American banker gets caught up in intrigue over lost medieval book and also becomes involved in a strange parallel-universe computer game. But the story seems to be all over the place: I like pace and cliffhangers and interesting twists, whereas this was neatly done in longish chapters that ploddingly lead the story on, and the few twists that were used had me thinking 'that can't be possible,' and flicking back to see if it really was.
Potential yes, then, gripping no. Read it if you've nothing better, but there is much better than this if you ask me....Continua