I was pleasantly surprised recently when a regular patron of mine recommended a book for me to read. As a reader, I was becoming frustrated with myself because I haven’t been able to get into a good fictional read in quite a while. For example, I started reading the Glass Sword by Victoria Aveyard. I enjoyed the first book in this installment, the Red Queen greatly. However, I felt I needed to re-read the first one before starting Glass Sword because my mind was completely drawing a blank on all of the different characters. I just couldn’t envelop myself back into the story. This is certainly not saying the second book is bad by any means, but something wasn’t grasping me and I wasn’t about to sit down for a refresher on the story-line. I could tell that I needed something new, something outside of my norm so it was refreshing to have a patron recommend Mr Penumbra’s 24 Hour Book Store by Robin Sloan to me. The patron drew me into wanting to read it with three words; secret book society.
Our main character Clay Jannon is dealing with the hardships of the most recent economic recession. He goes from being a successful web designer to finding himself stumbling into Mr. Penumbra’s 24 Hour Bookstore where he begins working the late night shift. I personally find the character of Clay very likable and he sounded like someone I would get along with; quite possibly sounded like some of my own friends. His personal narration had be hooked instantly but it was also his curiosity with Penumbra’s bookstore itself that kept me engaged. I mean I for one have never witnessed a 24 hour bookstore (this honestly would be quite magical personally), but who allows their patrons to come in and grab books without paying? Books that specifically come from a special section within the store and that Clay is specifically told not to look at but to retrieve for these special patrons. Clay has to make sure to write down every little detail about each of his patrons that come in, from what they are wearing, their personality that evening, so on and so forth. But why?
Sloan’s work of fiction is truly a page turner mystery. As a reader, I had to know what was going on and the adventure of figuring out the story behind Penumbra’s bookstore was highly entertaining. Some of the character development lacked slightly, however, as I stated previously many of the characters read to me as if they were personal friends of mine. After reading some of the other reviews, many found the ending of the story to be rather lack-luster. I can understand their thoughts because there was a lot built up within the story and it wasn’t necessarily the huge ending that many would expect. Nevertheless, if you have a love of reading, I feel the ending will leave you with heartfelt feelings and appreciation.
I am definitely not disappointed with this read and I thoroughly enjoyed every moment of it. I mean, the book glows in the dark! How can you wrong? For an exciting mystery take a moment to read this book and definitely let me know what you think!