Book Review: Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore

The reason I thought I should share my love for this book on my blog is because the characters, like many of my peers, are steeped up to their eye balls in new media. Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore is about a young man, Clay, who gets a job at a 24-hour bookstore, only the store is just a front for a secret society. His attempt to update the bookstore’s online presence and stir up more clientele sweeps Clay into a mystery as old as the printing press, with the bookstore and its proprietor at the center. Clay’s boss, Mr. Penumbra goes missing and Clay seems to be the only one who notices or cares. In his search for Mr. Penumbra, Clay discovers that the bookstores he works in is really a front for a secret society that has been working on the world’s oldest brain teaser. Clay, his best friend, and his girlfriend, Kat, who works at Google — that’s a awesome enough reason to read it right there– take some serious risks to figure it out.

Here are three reasons I think it’s a great read:

  1. The cover GLOWS!! It freaked me out at first but after a while, it is really really cool.
    The cover of Mr. Penumbra's 24-Hour Bookstore

    The cover of Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore

     

  2. It’s like 007 for nerds and I’m a self- embracing nerd so I don’t mean that badly. Amazon calls it a “technothriller.” I think that’s a very appropriate description. Designers, hackers and engineers all get to be the hero in this story. It’s refreshing. Clay’s character is endearing. He is clearly still trying to find his way and life and is struggling with the idea that he is not as traditionally successful as some of his peers. This investigation of his boss’ disappearance seems to really be a journey for Clay to find himself. It’s interesting to see him grow up. I learned some things about myself along the way.
  3. Robin Sloan offers a behind-the-scenes look at Google. Like I said above, read it for just that. Kat offers to assist Clay on his quest by offering Google’s book scanner. So Clay goes to visit Google’s campus in Silicon Valley, CA. I was amazed. I’m not sure if Sloan’s description of Google is accurate but I’m certainly curious to find out now.

This book has a lot of technical jargon but don’t give up. It is also full of mysteries, twists, romance, and happy endings. It is so worth it in the end.

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