Five words from the blurb: dusty, books, curious, analysis, technology
Mr Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore is an entertaining mystery that will appeal to book lovers. The story focuses on Clay, a web-designer who gets a job working the night-shift at a mysterious book shop. Clay becomes increasingly puzzled by the fact that no-one ever buys any books; instead clientele use it like a library, exchanging strange coded books. Clay sets out to discover the secret behind their bizarre behaviour, uncovering a mysterious group of people with a shared mission in life.
This was an engaging read and I loved all the bookish detail. The passion for literature was blended with cutting-edge computer science and I loved the fact that it wasn’t afraid to go into detail about how everything worked. The technical explanations occasionally went over my head, but I was never lost. In fact I liked the way the book poked fun at those who weren’t following:
It also revealed interesting details about working for Google. I’m not entirely sure how much of it was true, but that makes it a good discussion point!
My only real complaint was the number of coincidences, especially the fact that Clay happened to have three friends: a millionaire who could pay for their adventures, a Google employee with access to all their expensive equipment, and a set designer who could build everything they needed for their secret mission. It may not have been realistic, but it did make a great story.
Much of the book reminded me of The End of Mr Y, but using computers instead of philosophy. It’s not great literature, but it is an escapist adventure that introduces some interesting ideas on literature and its place in our modern, data-driven world.
Overall this was a light, entertaining read that will probably gain a geeky-cult status, at least until the technology becomes outdated.
Recommended to those looking for an escapist read.
The thoughts of other bloggers:
The last couple of paragraphs in particular will fill your heart with joy! Books, Bones and Buffy
The mystery felt really poor-constructed, and the final revelations were hastily narrated. Reading on a Rainy Day
Even though the ending is a smidge predictable it did not take away from my pleasure of the whole book. So Many Books