Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore is one of those genre-straddling mystery books that I really enjoy reading. This is definitely the type of book that you go into blind and just have a good adventure. The focus of this book is the plot, the mystery of what is going on. It is an unfolding mystery that reveals little clues as the book goes on. Most books like these are almost always strongest when the “weirdness” aspect starts to come into play and the mystery of what that weirdness is all about. Mr. Penumbera’s 24-Hour Bookstore does a great job of not giving the reader too many answers until near the end of the book. If answers are given too soon in stories like this it can actually ruin the entire book, so it is a balancing act of giving just enough to keep the reader interested, but not enough to give away too much. Robin Sloan did a great job of balancing these aspects.
I listened to this book on audiobook and I think that this was the best format for this story. The reason I say that is because Ari Fliakos brings a charm to the story that might go missed by reading the paper copy. Ari brings almost an innocent delivery to the story that makes the mystery aspect that more hard-hitting. It is very ABC mini-series mystery in a way that maybe isn’t there in the print copy.
The mystery had me hooked from the very beginning. Sure it might be low hanging fruit to write a story making books almost majestic in nature so that all the book nerds love it, but I’ll admit, I fell for it. This is a book for book people, for individuals that look at their books on their shelves in awe. It is a light, fun book that is rather optimistic in nature. This book was just a joy to listen to and I really liked it.
I doubt that this book will work for more serious readers. More serious readers will find the characters juvenile and the plot pandering but if you can look past these flaws, you’ll have a small little book to keep you entertained for a bit. Read this when you want a fun adventure book to fill your time.
16/25 Possible Score
Plot – 4(Strong)
Characters – 3(Good)
World Building/Setting – 4(Strong)
Writing – 2(OK)
Heart & Mind Aspect – 3(Good)