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.