Mr Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore: Review

24hourbookAuthor: Robin Sloan

Publisher: Atlantic Books

Summary:  The Great Recession has shuffled Clay Jannon away from life as a San Francisco web-design drone and into the aisles of Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore. But after a few days on the job, Clay discovers that the store is more curious than either its name or its gnomic owner might suggest. The customers are few, and they never seem to buy anything—instead, they “check out” large, obscure volumes from strange corners of the store. Suspicious, Clay engineers an analysis of the clientele’s behavior, seeking help from his variously talented friends. But when they bring their findings to Mr. Penumbra, they discover the bookstore’s secrets extend far beyond its walls. Rendered with irresistible brio and dazzling intelligence, Robin Sloan’s Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore is exactly what it sounds like: an establishment you have to enter and will never want to leave.  (Via Goodreads.)

Review: This is a weird one for me because I didn’t quite love this book but I felt like i should have. Mr Penumbra’s is fun, it’s quirky, it’s quick and it’s a very easy read yet I wasn’t really enamoured by it.

The characters are diverse and interesting, the plot is quick and quirky and the dialogue is sharp and snappy and in some cases quite funny but it never managed to make me laugh and i can’t really explain why. It’s really strange because I feel if this book was adapted into a film or a mini-series or something it would have had me rolling with laughter! Like it could potentially be one of my favourite adaptions in existence but the book felt distinctly average to me. At no point did I feel any real connection to it.

Now, I did read this book during what was without a doubt one of the most stressful and exhausting weeks of my life and maybe that is why this book feel a little short for me. There is no real fault with it, as I said the plot is interesting, the characters are great and the writing is funny but I don’t think I was in the right mindset to enjoy it which is why I have rated it the way I have.

I would still recommend this book to people. I do think others will enjoy it but for me I believe it was a case of ‘wrong week, wrong book.’

3 Stars.


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