Book Review – Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore – Robin Sloan


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

▪   Author: Robin Sloan

▪   Genre: Fantasy / Modern Literature

▪   Year of Release: 2012

▪   Read 288-page paperback edition in August 2014.

Book Description:

Clay Jannon is a recently laid off web designer in San Francisco, and in the post-recession world, there is not a lot of jobs in his line of work at the moment.  In order to pay the bills, he takes a job at a bizarre bookstore, working for the mysterious Mr. Penumbra.  In working the night shift at a 24-hour bookstore that usually only sees few clientele, and repeat, intriguing clients at that, Clay begins to wonder what is really going on with Mr. Penumbra and his bookstore.  Thus begins a tale of intrigue, mystery, adventure, and discovery, as Clay works to discover the secrets around him.

Book Review:

This novel was a fun and enjoyable summer read, definitely an easy novel to pick up, get into, and enjoy.  The characters were fascinating, and although some of the supporting cast were in some ways one-dimensional or caricatures, the main cast of Mr. Penumbra, Clay, and Clay’s love interest Kat were dynamic, multi-faceted, intriguing characters that we cared about and wanted to learn more about.  Author Robin Sloan did a great job describing the mystery surrounding the bookstore environment, creating an environment of magic in a modern day world.  His ability to describe fantasy and magic and at the same time describe scenes around modern day San Francisco and New York City made for an enjoyable novel, where we felt we were in the setting with these interesting characters.  Sloan also did a nice job incorporating a lot of humour into the novel, and keeping the novel light made sense.  The plot itself, and the ever expanding scope of the fantastical tale around us, was well executed, and kept the reader interested right to the end.  The discoveries made by Clay at the end of the novel were just right.  The themes of technology versus tradition were well explored by the author, and made the reader think of living in the new digital world.  In summary, this was an enjoyable, fun novel, one definitely worth reading.

Overall: 4.5 stars out of 5 stars.