Monday, April 7, 2014

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

What book club can resist picking a book set in a bookstore? Not mine.

After Clay lost his job at a website for a company making perfect bagels (turns out people like their bagels imperfect), he gets a job working the overnight shift at the titular Mr. Penumbra's 24-Hour Bookstore in San Francisco. And soon the tall stacks of mysterious books that are checked out--not bought--by an odd assortment of customers, inspire his curiosity and against his boss's rules, he starts to investigate. What he finds out is quite unexpected.

I feel like this book is what I wanted when I read The Da Vinci Code and The Eight. It involves a secret society, crazy archaic rules, stolen artifacts, and a historical mystery. Yet unlike those books, it was truly excellent. I loved the merging of old (the invention of the printing press) with the new (Clay's girlfriend, who works at Google, uses the powers of Google to try to solve the mystery) and the acknowledgment of the ridiculousness of the situation. The book was rollicking fun, non-stop action (past the first third), with sweetly silly characters, and a satisfactory ending. It's a perfect beach read for any book lover. And fun trivia: the book cover glows in the dark! There is also a very short e-book prequel about Mr. Penumbra that a friend says was delightful. I am hoping this will become a series and there will be full-length sequels as I thoroughly enjoyed it and I want to spend more time with Clay, Penumbra, and their friends.

I bought this book at B&N.

No comments: