19 December 2013

Review: Mr. Penumbra's 24-Hour Bookstore by Robin Sloan

Title: Mr. Penumbra's 24-Hour Bookstore
Author: Robin Sloan
Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Girous
Source: Purchased
Find it Here: Goodreads, Amazon

Global conspiracy, complex code-breaking, young love, and the secret to eternal life — mostly set in a hole-in-the-wall San Francisco bookstore. The Great Recession shuffles Clay Jannon from his web-design drone job to night shift at Mr Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore. Curiously, few customers come in repeatedly and never buy. Analysis reveals astonishing secrets ...

My thoughts:

I heard about this book a little while ago and ever since I read the synopsis I knew I wanted to choose Mr. Penumbra's 24-Hour Bookstore for book club.  An independent bookstore that never closes, some kind of conspiracy going on with the patrons who only borrow books and never buy and a mystery that I was convinced would have me on the edge of my seat.  

Even though it was good and it was fun to read, it just wasn't exactly what I thought it was going to be.  After reading the synopsis, I really thought that the patrons were going to be spies and that they were passing secret messages back and forth in the books they were borrowing.  But as it turns out, these mysterious patrons are trying to solve the secrets of the universe a.k.a. the secret to physical immortality.  These people in this cult are literally scrambling around, decoding all these books in the hopes that they will find some kind of code or recipe for a concoction that will grant them immortality.  

Mr. Penumbra's 24-Hour Bookstore is an adventure that was pretty fun to read.  Clay, the main character, and his quirky group of misfit friends set off to help Mr. Penumbra uncover what he has been searching for for many years.  Conveniently they have unlimited resources that allow them to travel to New York City at a moments notice and also allows them to get their hands on all the technology that they need.  By the end, when he happened to have connections to a librarian that got him what he needed, I felt that he was a little too lucky.  I liked the characters but I felt their only purpose was to help out Clay and Mr. Penumbra. They didn't have any depth and they were very static throughout the whole novel.  

Overall, Mr. Penumbra's 24-Hour Bookstore was a fun book to read and very appropriate for the book club. And hey! The cover of the paperback is pretty cool! It glows in the dark! I give Mr. Penumbra's 24-Hour Bookstore by Robin Sloan 3.5 stars for being entertaining and fun.


P.E. Mari said...

I've seen this one around a lot. I don't know if I care much for the secret of eternal life though. Great review, I'm glad you enjoyed it even though it wasn't what you expected.


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