Friday, May 22, 2015

Literary Fixation: Mr. Penumbra's 24-Hour Bookstore

At the beginning of this year I signed up for Goodreads to join the International Geek Girls Pen Pal Club's book club; Iggle BookWorms. This has been a great way for me to read books I would never have known about. 
I've talked about books before on this blog, in fact earlier this month I wrote a short post about Wuthering Heights. I think I want to try and incorporate the occasional book review into this eclectic creature I call my own.

An Iggle BookWorms Review of Mr. Penumbra's 24-Hour Bookstore by Robin Sloan.

First off, I will now refer to the Sun as the "Daystar".
  In this novel we follow protagonist Clay on his adventure to discover the secrets of this strange bookstore and its owner, Mr. Penumbra. There are many characters that become involved on this quest. Fortunately the author fleshes most of these people out so that they do not become just names that you forget by the end of the book. 
Once the book hits it stride it feels like a true adventure novel. There are robed figures, dungeon like areas and a riddle (code) that our questing heroes must figure out.
One night I was halfway through the book, at the point where the robed figures and the Reading Room dungeon occurred, when I put the book on the nightstand and turned off the light to go to sleep. Just as I was about to fall asleep I rolled over and the book was glowing. Yes, I jumped out of bed and turned the light on. The book cover glows in the dark. Appropriate for this novel.

Throughout the book there is an informal duel between traditional methods and new technology. In the quest to break the code, the ultimate goal of the characters in the book,  the members of the "Unbroken Spine" have been using traditional methods for hundreds of years without yielding results. So does that mean that the answer is in the newer technology? Are the Googlers the better option?
While the new technology offers quick information at the touch of a key (who hasn't googled something as simple as "How to boil an egg?") is it worth the loss of actually discovery? 
The adventure is in the search not the findings.
The technology we use now will be obsolete in no time. Remember Xanga and Myspace? So technology is like any civilization. It will rise and fall before being replace by something new.
Only what is fundamentally true, what is the purest thoughts and ideals will prove to be immortal. That is what both the Unbroken Spine members and the Googlers learn from the broken code.
Something I really appreciated with this book is the epilogue. I like having some idea of what will happen to the characters after the events of the book are over. This epilogue does not fail. Even some minor passing characters make an appearance in the epilogue. 
I would recommend this book. The pacing is good. The characters are strange but relatable. All in all a fun book.
(this was written at 3am so forgive any bad grammar or strange stream of consciousness lines)


  1. Great review, glad you enjoyed it! I read this book last year and thought it was fun and interesting too =)


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