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2.99  ·  Rating Details ·  5,527 Ratings  ·  752 Reviews
About to depart on his first vacation in years, Edward Wozny, a hotshot young investment banker, is sent to help one of his firm's most important and mysterious clients. His task is to search their library stacks for a precious medieval codex, a treasure kept sealed away for many years and for many reasons. Enlisting the help of passionate medievalist Margaret Napier, Edwa ...more
Paperback, 348 pages
Published May 2nd 2005 by Mariner Books (first published January 1st 2004)
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(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Jenny Bannock
Aug 18, 2007 Jenny Bannock rated it it was ok
Here's the thing. I loved the story and the way it unfolded--at a leisurely pace, with moments of inspiration and excitement. The problem, however, is that the last couple of chapters build build build and FIZZLE. There were at least half a dozen scenarios that I could think of for the ending as I was reading up to it, and instead what I got was this uninspired, pat ending with loose ends left everywhere. I don't need everything to be resolved by the end, but really. The author couldn't have at ...more
Jul 03, 2007 Irina rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: nobody
I read this book on vacation, and so my brain was as relaxed as possible and as willing to be understanding. However, for the sake of full disclosure (and, hopefully, credibility), I am a graduate student in Medieval Studies, and I happen to have been taking a couse in the Medieval Book this semester, so that was my background while I was reading Codex.

I don't really need to repeat the comments of most of the people here -- that the plot is thin, the characters shallow, and that at best, the nov
Feb 09, 2014 Lightreads rated it it was ok
Shelves: fiction
Young investment banker gets caught up in the search for a medieval manuscript that may or may not exist.

Ouch, this is not good. It's what appears to be Grossman's default protagonist: young white New Yorker dude who is deeply confused that his enormous privilege doesn't translate automatically to happiness. But his later fantasies have so much more muscle and richness to them. This thriller, by comparison, thumps blandly along to its dull conclusion.

That's actually one of the saddest things abo
Codex started so well, with a tone that reminded me strongly of Grossman's other novel, The Magicians. The book has one of those great beginnings that plunge you straight into the intrigue of the plot; from protagonist Edward's encounter with a strange couple, to his appointment with a client and subsequent acceptance - reluctant but instinctive - of a book-related quest, I was hooked within the first chapter. Scores of titillating details - Laura Crowlyk's archaic apartment building with its ec ...more
Ben Babcock
If you were an investment banker before the 2008 recession, and you had just begun your first vacation in four years prior to moving from New York to a cushy new position in London, would you take on a job unpacking and cataloguing an ancient library for an elusive, eccentric, and extremely wealthy British couple who also happen to be nobility? That’s what Edward Wozny does in Codex, and it changes everything. On the surface, that seems like it should be a good thing to say about a novel. Change ...more
This book took a long time to grow on me. This was partly due to the basic fact that most thrillers start out slow and then speed up faster and faster until you cannot put it down. The other part was that, early in the novel, he uses the phrase(if I can recall correctly) "very expensive grey handmade suit." Whenever a banker wears a handmade suit, it is costly. He did not need to use "expensive", let alone "very expensive."

My snobbery, though, came back to bite me because I spent a good hour be
Aug 21, 2012 Sharmili rated it did not like it
Reading the book jacket, I was intrigued by this story, only to be horribly disappointed. And a fair bit of it, I'm sure, was that the writing just didn't develop the characters at all. Where to begin? We first meet our protagonist (Wozny - can't even remember his first name, even though I just finished this yesterday) and quickly learn that he is good at his job, headed to London for his company, and has 2 weeks of vacation. He somehow (it's never properly explained why he ends up on this proje ...more
Jun 28, 2015 Sara rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Codex has a very interesting premise - a long lost manuscript that holds a secret and good guys and bad guys going after it. Sure, it's been done before but I'm always up for more stories like this.

But. . . .

Ultimately unsatisfying.

It is going to be very hard for me to review this book without spoilers, so -

(view spoiler)
Michelle Morrell
Sep 09, 2014 Michelle Morrell rated it liked it
Shelves: x-read-2014
Written before his wildly acclaimed Magician series, I can tell this is an early attempt at a novel. While he can still spin a wicked tale, it's not as polished as later books.

Edward is a high-profile investment banker with a short sabbatical between job postings when he's asked to sort out an antique book collection for a distant Duke and Duchess, and specifically to look out for a certain book rumored to be real and potentially in their stacks.

This, of course, leads to intrigue and suspicion,
Jan 31, 2010 Vincent rated it it was ok
Shelves: fiction
I never just pick up a book off the shelf and buy it. But the title caught my eye and with a scan of the back cover I got carried away…. Medieval Manuscripts, Videogames, New York, mystery, rich people… SOLD to the man in the book story with the wandering eyes. And the quipped reviews on the back from the New York Times, the Village Voice, the Boston Globe, the Los Angeles Times, et al were practically beating off all over the cover. Buyer beware!

It was a shallow breezy read Grossman gives us th
Nov 21, 2012 Tony rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery
I honestly can't remember the last time I read a book so incredibly up its own arse as Codex. My God, this was a slog and could I see the last day or two over, knowing the ultimate revelations at the heart of the 'mystery', I would not have bothered. Nor should you.

The book gives us a rare library and priceless manuscript, as promised, but there's nothing 'deadly' about the secret. There's nothing interesting about it either. Plus we have to wade through 300 pages of dry, humourless prose driven
Trixie Fontaine
May 23, 2009 Trixie Fontaine rated it really liked it
Really enjoyable, readable, suspenseful bookworm stuff for weekend/vacation reading. There were some annoying elements, but nothing off-putting enough to wreck the fun for me. Maybe not as good as the very best in the genre, but I liked it way more than the NYT bestsellers revolving around similar themes.

Reading other people's 2-3 star reviews I have to agree with a lot of their complaints, but I still managed to really like the book. Even though the ending isn't very satisfying I didn't feel li
Codex got great professional reviews, with The New York Times comparing it and putting right next to The Name of The Rose. But when you read the "unprofessional" reviews you'll see that it bombed and was panned practically everywhere, including this site.

I disliked Grossman's The Magicians, but I decided to give him another chance since I already had the book. It was this title that made me interested in him, after all. The title caught my eye and the backcover caught my interest - a mystery in
Oct 11, 2009 Ron rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: general-fiction
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Sep 08, 2012 Ashley rated it it was ok
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
May 24, 2010 Nikki rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery
I was all set to give this book a higher rating, really. The writing is not uncompelling -- I wouldn't say it's slick and fascinating prose, but it's not a turn-off, either. It's okay for lazy reading, and the descriptions are pretty good. Some parts are quite fascinating, particularly the descriptions of MOMUS.

Characterisation is shaky, though. I don't particularly care about any of the characters, or feel convinced by their relationships to each other. Edward, the main character, was blandly u
Oct 10, 2015 Diana rated it really liked it
On audiobook. This novel begins with an atticful of books that were hurriedly shipped from their great English house to NYC when it looked like Nazi Germany would be taking over Great Britain. They've been sitting, still in their crates, since then, and it will be Edward, this novel's main character, who has the job of unpacking and cataloging them. Oh yeah, and he should keep an eye out for a very rare book by someone named Gervaise.

That's all it took. I was deep into this book, a little thril
Jillian Kern
Mar 16, 2012 Jillian Kern rated it really liked it
This book is something very, very close to literature, dressed in a Dan Brown-esque costume. The blurb on the inside cover is quite misleading - the general tone had me thinking I had something a lot lighter than it turned out to be (although it reads quite effortlessly.)
The character development is beautifully constructed (especially that of 'the Artiste,') but the more prominent characters fall flat. I found myself thinking that Grossman really enjoyed writing all the supporting characters, wh
Loyola University Chicago Libraries
Oct 27, 2009 Loyola University Chicago Libraries rated it really liked it
Shelves: beth
This book started out as a 5-star page-turner and eventually downgraded itself to a 4, but I'd recommend it just the same. The rest of the book can't live up to the promise of the first few chapters, and the ending is ... unsatisfying. But the pacing is excellent, and bookworms and librarians alike will enjoy the research and detail that Grossman has put into the world of rare books, preservation, and cataloging. There have been a lot of these DaVinci Code-esque books written as of late, involvi ...more
Nov 29, 2012 Kristen rated it it was ok
Shelves: fiction
This one caught my eye in the library, and since I've read Lev Grossman's other works, I figured I'd give it a go.

Clearly, it's good that some things improve as time goes by.

I just finished this less than 15 minutes ago. And I'm still angry with the ending. Completely anti-climactic. And even if it was done on purpose, to show lack of emotional development? No. Just no. I also didn't find the 'big shocker' to be all that shocking. In fact, I pretty much saw it coming.

It's really, really good th
Aug 01, 2011 Ian added it
Two separate threads of story, clumsily interwoven into one completely unconvincing read. A really badly written main character, who interacts with a series of really badly written support characters...some of whom are beyond strange.

There was no good reason why Edward Wozny would agree to take on the job of cataloguing a client's library, especially when he was supposed to be on vacation, and there was no obvious reason why he would become hooked on what sounded to me like the world's most bor
_Codex_ came highly recommended to me, so I was eager to delve right into the story. I thought it started out pretty good with the mysterious aristocrats, their rare book library, and the medieval scholarly tie-ins. It never quite gained the momentum that I was hoping for, but it kept me reading page after page. I liked Margaret's character, and really appreciated the things that she brought to the story. However, I thought the whole sub-plot with the computer game, MOMUS, was a little strange, ...more
Greg Z
Mar 23, 2016 Greg Z rated it liked it
I've read enough in this genre (books about books) to know that the author isn't going to include the book about which he/she writes. That's always a disappointment, but it's usually a given within this genre. Grossman gets off to a great start with a great concept, but again, 90% of the way through, things sort of fizzle out. But it was good enough to get me to read another Grossman (The Magicians) and so I did, but I like that one even less.
This is a book about books. There are scenes in silent libraries where characters in kid gloves search for lost manuscripts and there are wonderful descriptions of the production of ancient codices and the arcane materials used in their bindings. Did you know that the most expensive and prized paper derived from the skin of an aborted calf fetus? Can you remember what a palimpsest is, or have you forgotten, even though you know you've looked it up multiple times in the past?

Unfortunately, it's g
May 21, 2015 Kassie rated it it was ok
Boring, slow, quit about half way through. Sorry but the world is full of too many books I will actually care about!
Aug 24, 2014 E.J. rated it did not like it
It was difficult to accept Grossman's premise that a successful investment banker would not only accept a job cataloguing books during his vacation, but continue to do so after being asked to stop. However, I kept an open mind and suffered through the author's absurd plot twists and assumptions.
A few of my countless problems with this book:
No private banker for a prestigious investment bank would discuss his clients with strangers.
Rare book librarians do not chew gum at work.
The rare book exper
Jan 24, 2015 Meikoyim rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: thriller
It was... how should I put it...

Hype can make a lot of things happen, international best-sellers included.

I think it's very clever to combine the ideas of codex and codecs, homonyms are what make puns so fun. I think the premise of wanting to interweave two different story lines with the same protagonist centring on these two punny themes was an even cleverer idea.

And at first, it seemed promising.

But then it all went downhill real fast and with momentum.

As a supposedly thriller, one of its st
Apr 01, 2010 John rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition

Investment whizkid Edward is offered a prestigious transfer from NYC to London, and decides to take a couple of weeks off in between the two positions. He's asked by his employers to do one thing during this fortnight -- a quick favour for a rich client, a pair of English aristocrats. This proves to be a request to catalogue the family's ancestral collection of rare books -- a major task rather than the quick service advertised. Before he can refuse, though, he inexplicably decides to go through
Jan 03, 2010 Dan rated it liked it
I liked The Magicians and I wanted to read this to get a better sense of the author. Truthfully I like The Magicians in part - loved it on one level and disliked it on others, and there are definitely echos here of what I didn't like there.

I loved the interweaving of references to Adventure, a game I spent many hours in front of as a pre-teen. I didn't remember the game in the least until the book described it, and then it came flooding back to me. A truly hokey game by any standard, but filled
Dec 01, 2008 Cameron rated it liked it
Edward Wozney is hot shot investment banker who is moving to England in a couple of weeks to work at his firm's overseas branch when he is sent over to over to help one of his firm's most important clients. Once there he finds himself with the task of uncrating and organizing their personal library which was sent to America during one of the World Wars so t wouldn't be destroyed. Edward gets mixed messages, the duchess wants him to find a rare book but the duke wants him to stop, though this is ...more
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2016 Reading Chal...: Codex 1 17 Apr 06, 2015 01:27PM  
The Sword and Laser: Has anyone read Codex by Lev Grossman? 1 40 Jul 03, 2012 06:34PM  
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My novel The Magicians was a New York Times bestseller. So was the sequel, The Magician King. The third book in the trilogy, The Magician's Land, will be published in August 2014.

There's yet more information about me and my books on my website.
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“...he imagined another life for himself as one of these silent scholars, buried in his research like a guinea pig in its wood shavings, nibbling away steadily after some arcane piece of knowledge in the hope of making an addition, however imperceptible, to the collective pile.” 2 likes
“The effect was of somebody reluctantly reading a prepared statement off a teleprompter, a statement prepared by somebody against whom she had a bitter and long-standing grudge. He considered the possibility that she might be clinically depressed.” 0 likes
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