Search This Blog

Tuesday, May 29, 2018

Codex by Lev Grossman

At the heart of Codex is a manuscript that may or may not have existed, written by a man with a mysterious background, that may or may not encrypt a secret that could devastate a prominent British family. Margaret is a medievalist with expert knowledge manuscripts, book bindings, and the putative author himself. A prickly, interesting character, she is skeptical at first that the manuscript even exists, but soon her passion to discover the truth drives her to take more and more risks.

She's not the protagonist of the story, however, just the sidekick to the hero: a bland, passionless banker bro.  It's what I recently heard described as the Hermione problem -- modern literature (and movies, and tv shows) are littered with Strong Female Characters who are quite accomplished and interesting (often more so than the male characters), who are no longer relegated to passive-love-interest roles but who nonetheless don't get to be the center of the story, either.

It's a major disappoint in an otherwise exciting story, and I think it's also the reason why the end fizzled out. Edward (the boring Wall Street dude) spends the novel wandering from scene to scene and letting things happen to him. He never really decides what he wants or whose side he's on, so fittingly he's left in the dust by people who wanted something (the manuscript, the truth, revenge) and acted on it.

No comments:

Post a Comment