Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Review: Mr. Penumbra's 24-Hour Bookstore by Robin Sloan

Mr. Penumbra's 24-Hour BookstoreMr. Penumbra's 24-Hour Bookstore by Robin Sloan
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Overall, I really enjoyed this book despite its many flaws. It's a far from perfect book but I enjoyed the reading experience and was able to overlook a lot of the little things that could have added up to big things for some readers. I think because the book was right up my alley, I was able to let a lot of the imperfections slide.

Without a doubt, this book had the potential to be something really special and amazing. Unfortunately, it doesn't quite live up to that. Although the book as a whole is more of a 3 star, I'm giving it 4 because there are so many aspects that I really loved, even if they weren't necessarily successful. It's my understanding that this is Robin Sloan's first novel. Perhaps that is part of the problem?

There is an interesting atmosphere to this book - probably because it centers around an ancient mystery being looked at by a group of young,tech savvy characters. Many of the modern tech references in the book are going to be out of date in no time but I think they were fun for the modern reader. The juxtaposition of the ancient and the modern gives the book a really interesting feel. I also think that the book also had a very similar feel to Ready Player One (at least in its narrative voice). Unfortunately, Ready Player One was a much more successful book than this one.

The book also felt much more like a YA novel than one for adults. I'm not sure what the author intended but that is how it feels while reading it. My other issue is that the mystery component of the story and its unfolding wasn't nearly as compelling as it could have been. It fell flat for me and the adventure the characters take to solve the mystery just didn't work for me. Although I enjoyed the read, I didn't completely buy the story or where it takes the reader.

Yet, despite all of that, I really enjoyed the read. I thought it was fun and interesting. It was a pretty quick, easy read. The characters weren't completely well rounded but they worked for the purposes of the story. And I just liked it. Not because it was brilliant but because it made for a nice story - one where I didn't need to think hard or explore things intellectually. It was just a nice little novel. I think that there are probably much better executed novels of this sort but I am glad that I read it.

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