I had not heard of this book until I wrote a book review for “The Magician’s Elephant.” A sweet reader had nicely commented saying she had just finished reading, “Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore.” I was intrigued. I liked the sound of the title. It had good reviews online.
I was even more intrigued after I purchased the book and another sweet woman wrote me telling me to look at the book in the dark. It has a cool little unexpected effect. If you have the book at home, try it.
“Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore,” by Robin Sloan, is a quick quirky little book. It won’t change the world. It won’t even change your world. But not all books need to do that. It is still a worthwhile read.
The characters in the book are well laid out. The writing is well done. I very much enjoyed reading it.
The story begins with a young man named Clay, who is in desperate need of a job. He finds employment in a 24-hour bookstore owned by an odd little man named Mr. Penumbra. Clay is in charge of working the night shift. His job consists of tracking the clients that come in to the store and writing down the events of the night.
There are two parts to the bookstore. There are the “regular” books you would find at any brick and mortar bookstore. But there are more. There are dusty tomes of books written in a code that Clay has agreed he will not look at or open.
Could you do that?
I could not.
And neither can Clay.
Which is what Mr. Penumbra is counting on.
In opening the forbidden books, he finds an intriguing path into a secret society. And a mystery is born.
The neat part about this book is that it delves into areas you do not normally associate with science fiction or fantasy genre books. It explores the world of the internet. It also looks into the amazing company of Google, which was fascinating.
There were some flaws. Such as, all of the help Clay receives from his friends who happen to have the perfect resources he needs to solve his mystery. It was incredibly far fetched. Too perfect. But that did not really bother me. The ending was different. I cannot decide if I was disappointed by the ending or if it was perfectly wonderful. It is not the typical ending. But then again, I liked that this was not the typical book.
If you are looking for an easy, fun book that will make you smile, I recommend reading this book.
Have you read this book? Are there any other books I should be reading right now? What are you currently reading?
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