Clay Jannon is living in San Francisco in the time of a great Recession and he is desperately searching for a job. On his job hunt he finds a 24-hour bookstore where a help wanted sign is hanging in the window. Clay is a tech geek but finds the idea of working in a bookstore interesting so he asks the owner about the job. Mr. Penumbra, the owner of the bookstore tells Clay that he is hired if he is curios enough, can work a ladder and does not mind working at night. So Clay winds up being the night clerk at Mr. Penumbra’s 24-hour bookstore. Clay soon learns that this store and its customers are weird. There is a whole section of peculiar books that Clay is forbidden to read. Clay soon gets really curious and wants to unravel Penumbras secrets. He discovers that there is more to the bookstore than meets the eye. The store is a front for something bigger. He has some wild theories and with the help of his friends he embarks on a journey to find the truth behind Penumbra’s 24-hour bookstore.
A lot of my friends on Goodreads loved this book and many of them recommended it to me. I hoped that I would love it as much as they did but unfortunately this was not the case. It was an interesting book and I wanted to know how it ends but I was in no way invested in the story are liked the characters. For me this book seemed like a conglomerate of things I already read. It also reminded me a lot of Ready Player One by Ernest Cline. But where Cline had me on the edge of my seat Robin Sloan’s Story about a bookstore and its mysteries were just some nice story. It is not a book I will remember. The characters felt flat for me and the whole book felt very much like a YA novel. There was hardly any world building and if you follow my blog you know that I always wish there was more world building in books. Clay is a one dimensional character and all the other characters are just here to play his sidekicks. Typical YA! His friends are conveniently rich or work at Google so Clay has no problem of financing his journey. For me this book felt too unrealistic. I know that it should be a magical story but it was just so convenient. Clay needs a book scanner that only Google has? Well his girlfriend works at Google. Clay needs to fly to New York to search for clues? No problem his childhood friend is rich.
Maybe you have to be a designer or typographer to appreciate this book. There was a lot about fonts and designs here. I liked the idea of debating e-books vs. physical books in this really unusual setting. But it was way too much. There was so much advertising about Google and Amazon that I just could not take it. The book also got so obsessed with technical details that I trailed off. It was sometimes hard to follow because the plot got neglected. I liked the story but it got overshadowed with the things I criticised. It was a quick read and had nice ideas but for me it was nothing special. Did you like the book? If so, maybe you can share with me what you liked about it?