Mr Penumbra’s 24-hour Bookstore was the last book I read in 2019, and I am glad to say it ended the year on a high note.
Mr Penumbra’s 24-hour Bookstore by Robin Sloan follows Clay Jannon as he starts a job in a rather odd bookshop. From the enigmatic owner to the odd customers who borrow the books instead of buying Clay starts to suspect that there is something weird going on.
You know what they say, don’t judge a book by its cover, Clay is going to learn that first hand.
The main cast and supporting characters are an interesting bunch. Take the lead, Clay. We get to meet him before he starts his new job and gets a good scene of his character before the weird stuff starts up.
Despite now working at a bookstore, Clay isn’t much of a reader. He is more of a creative type with an eye for detail and decent digital knowhow which end up serving him very well. When he starts digging into the mystery surrounding the shop he teams up with old friends and a few new ones.
Without a doubt, my favourite character is Mr Penumbra. While he isn’t in the book as much as you would first guess due to the title, he is a delight every time he shows up.
What made this book such a page-turner for me was how descriptive Sloan’s writing style is. I would rant and rave about it but I think this quote sums it up better than I could.
The shelves were packed close together, and it felt like I was standing at the border of a forest–not a friendly Californian forest, either, but an old Transylvanian forest, a forest full of wolves and witches and dagger-wielding bandits all waiting just beyond moonlight’s reach.
I really want to gush about how cool the secret is but my policy is to not spoil anything.
I only have one major nitpick with the book, the Google propaganda. There is no other way to describe it, every time Google is mentioned it’s praised to the old gods and the new. It didn’t even amount to much by the end of the story, more like written product placement, if that is even a thing.
There is a sequel out but I promised myself not to buy any new books until I finish five I’ve already bought or been given.
Overall, I really enjoyed Mr Penumbra’s 24-hour Bookstore. It was a charming read with a lot of great characters and one hell of an interesting story. It’s the perfect read for lovers of books.