Wednesday, February 27, 2013

The Epically Wonderful Mr. Penumbra's 24-Hour Bookstore

I first heard about this book on Twitter. It was mentioned in passing and I was obviously intrigued by the title. I mean come on, Mr. Penumbra's 24-Hour Bookstore how awesome does that sound? I toyed around with the idea of buying it but settled on getting it from the library.

I was not disappointed. I wasn't exactly blown away either but overall I really rather enjoyed it. It has a great voice and pleasant cast of characters.

The first thing that struck me about this book was the opening. At my work we have rolling ladders that lead to our overstock. I immediately knew that feeling of gripping the shelf for dear life, and I don't even have to climb that high.

That was just the first thing that I loved about Clay's voice. He was such an everyman. He doesn't see his own skills but constantly feels a little out done by everyone around him. And his friends are more interesting on the outside at least. Neel made me laugh and Mat was kind of awesome but it's Clay's narrative that's so amazing. I think my favorite thing is how lulled he's become by the ease of information. He is initially content to just google what he wants to know. And I loved this and hated this because it's exactly how I feel and what I do. I was delighted by how perfectly right Sloan got it but, at the same time, a little disgusted with myself for being so incapable of working things out myself.

But Clay has just the right amount of determination and self-deprecation. There is just something so perfect and so right about him and his voice. The way he thinks just makes me laugh because I think in much the same way.

Mr. Penumbra is just so cute.

Kat...Kat I didn't like. Her contrast with Clay was so stark. She's the perfect example of the kind of person for whom I feel bad. She's so caught up in technology and her ridiculous idea of living forever that she'll never be pleased with the mark she will leave and the people she will impact because it won't be enough. I think I may have legitimately hated her when she said because the computer couldn't find anything there was nothing to find. I am obviously a big fan of the computer...and of google.... but there will always be things that people can catch that computers can't.

This book makes me want to just sit in a library with a bunch of research books and do it all the old fashioned way. To hell with Google. Books are the way to go.

I would have liked Corvina to be more sinister. I never once felt like he was a viable concern. He was just stuck in his old ways. A strange similarity but mirror to Kat. I think his sort of blandness lent an overall cheerful quality to the book. The whole book was strangely upbeat. This isn't bad just different than most things that I read. There was just something childlike about the book. The secret club, the worship of the childhood hero, the childhood hero being an actual hero, the moving shelves at U-Conn. It was sort of like a childhood fantasy quest and I think Sloan plays that up using the Rockets and Warlocks references, especially on the trip to New York.

I'm still not sure I understand how they go about cracking the code. I see what they're trying to do but I don't know how they went about doing it. How they ended up bouncing from book to book. That was never really made clear to me. I will say that I sort of want to go to a library and and map out borrowing books so it makes a pattern. Or maybe leave notes in it setting up a scavenger hunt. That would be awesome.

So, overall I had to give Mr. Penumbra's 24-Hour Bookstore a rating of Epic.

Have any of you read it? What did you think?

Next I have an ARC of Holly Black's Doll Bones that I've been absolutely itching to dive into and I am so excited to get to it. So, so, so excited.

Until then!

-A.M.Y-A

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