Book review: Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore

I picked up Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore on a bit of a whim. It was one of those books that seemed to be circulating through a lot of the blogs I follow and was almost always seem while checking out my GoodReads news feed. So after looking into I thought it would be something good to pick up, besides how often do you find books about bookstores? And with all the positive reviews I’d been seeing on it I was feeling pretty good about buying it.

I have to admit the synopsis didn’t completely sell me on the book but I figured it was just one of those books where the synopsis didn’t do the book justice. So I picked it up and started to read. I found the beginning to be fairly interesting, if not a little strange. However given the synopsis I thought it was just part of the appeal to the book, how it wasn’t your typical story with your typical characters so I kept on reading.

It was obvious quite quickly that the story would build up to something, exactly what that something was wasn’t evident right away but I figured it out fairly quickly – or at least I figured some of it out before I got too far into the book. However even knowing a bit of where the book was heading didn’t help to grab my attention like the story should have. I think it didn’t help that the characters weren’t the kind that I felt a connection to and therefore I wasn’t reading to find out what would happen to them along the way, I was simply reading to finish the book and say that I read it.

While I somewhat enjoyed the mix of eccentric readers along with the use of modern technology, namely Google, I also found it a bit annoying. Yes, it made sense to include the use of modern technology and search engine use into the story, and have a character that worked at Google made it all tie in together fairly well. However it felt more like an advertisement for Google than a clever use of the search engine to add a twist to the story and what was happening with the various characters and book within the store.

While there were a few moments where I was entertained by the story overall I found it simply okay. I think it had good potential but in the end something just wasn’t right with the book and kept it from being the amazing read that it could have been. Would I recommend this book? Of course, there are bound to be people who will enjoy this one but I’m not sure I would recommend it to everyone simply because it missed the target of being an amazing book.

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