Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore: A Novel by Robin Sloan is an enjoyable, enthusiastic story about old technology and new technology living side by side in the modern world.
When young, broke, technology-raised Clay takes a job at a local book store, he quickly realizes this is no ordinary book store. There are hardly any customers, just a few regulars, and the books are all old. Through the prodding of his friends, they start poking around until an adventure unfolds before them.
The adventure showcases the importance of friends using a heavy dose of game culture, and Harry Potter influence. It’s a millennial-based book that respects paper and data as entities that can, and must, get along. Clay’s friend Kat works at Google and thinks she has all the answers but she doesn’t. Mr. Penumbra is part of a society that has been around since the invention of the printing press, and while he wants to lean on new technology, the old guard of his group won’t hear of it. Our hero, Clay, breeches the gap and solves the mystery.
I’m not giving anything away here. This is a happy novel from the get go and a happy ending is guaranteed in the tone. The trip to the end is a fun ride, a very pleasing, light read.