Review – Codex by Lev Grossman

Just finished listening to this from Audible.com. The purchase was on a whim. Description sounded interesting and I thought I’d get something like Lincoln Child or maybe Dean Koontz.

Instead, what I got was a very slow, meandering story that alway had lots of potential to explode into awesomeness at any point. The good news is that I listened to the end because I was always sure that the awesomeness was just around the corner. The bad news is…having finished the novel, I’m still waiting.

And the ending was so severely disappointing that I was confused how that could be the end.

The writing style was actually quite good in places. The characters were well-described and I identified with them. The detail of the environments was good and there were quite a few places where I said (frequently outloud), “What a great phrase!”

The good writing made the bad plot and lack of action that much more painful. I was expecting intermittant action scenes to keep the story moving along. I think the closest thing to an action scene is when the main character is confronted on the street by some rivals who also want the Codex. As soon as the main character realizes that the two men might actually be threatening him physically, his large friend just happens to show up on the sidewalk, looking imposing. And that’s where the section/chapter ends.

Unfortunately, the actual reading of the book added to the pain. The speaker was actually quite good throughout most of the book and affected the various characters’ voices well. But it was read in a British dialect so that words like “khaki” were pronounced “cocky.” This was very distracting to my stupid, American ears.

Sadly, I can’t give this book more than 2 d’s out of 5.

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