Rated Reads

Mr. Penumbra’s 24-hour Bookstore

by Robin Sloan

Rated: Mild

Clay Jannon is like many who have recently graduated from college: ready to head out and make his mark on the world. The one problem: he graduated in the height of the recession, and there really isn’t anything out there. He did some time as a Web designer for NewBagels in San Francisco, but when that folded, Clay found himself wandering the streets of San Francisco, looking at the help-wanted ads on Craigslist. One day, he stumbles upon Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore, which has an opening for a night clerk. He goes in on a whim and finds himself not only employed, but immersed in an increasingly strange world.

It’s a world full of late-night customers getting curious books off what Clay comes to call the Waybacklist. It’s a world of codes and secrets, of cults and immortality. It sounds more magical than it is, but aside from some loving references to Epic Fantasy Trilogies and a Dungeon & Dragons-like role-playing game, it is more about the magic of technology than actual magic.

There are delightful characters, artists and technological wizards (yes, Google does play a role), as well as adventures to be had. And even though it’s a book that should be thoughtful and edgy, I found it to be delightful and charming.

And thoroughly enjoyable.

Rated: Mild. For a few instances of mild swearing.

— Reviewed by Melissa Fox

Melissa Madsen Fox's blogging career began in 2004 when she started Book Nut. Reading, reviewing and book blogging have taken over what's left of her life after being a stay-at-home mom to four rambunctious daughters and wife to a slightly- absent-minded professor of political science.

Comments are closed.

  • Mr. Penumbra’s 24-hour Bookstore
  • by Robin Sloan
  • Rated: Mild
  • Genre: Fiction
  • Reviewer: