Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore by Robin Sloan was a total surprise. I thought that it would be a bookstore fantasy, which it was, but it was also so much more. The old-fashioned bookstore was the center of a twenty-first century adventure, complete with tech-connected, entrepreneurial Millennials and silver-haired, senior readers. I loved the mystery, the bookstore and the eccentric characters, both young and old. Ari Fliakos’ narration was great on the audio version. I was so sorry when the story ended. It made me want to run to the nearest independent bookstore. Definitely a great listen!!
Enjoyable, engaging, great reader! Perfect easy summer read. The story really draws you in quickly with their quest to solve the puzzle.
Was always waiting for it to develop into a really good story. Entertaining but not very serious. A story you can listen to when doing housework etc. as it does not require full attention.
yes, but only mildly so.
A story for light-hearted fun. Good for long drives.
The story is engaging and fun throughout. Even more impressive is the production. This is what audiobooks should be—great voices, pacing, and leveraging of audio to enrich the story.
From the summary and from reading reviews, I was expecting this to be (what I’d call) fantasy-lite, by which I mean placed in our world but with dashes of fantasy, like a much lighter Harry Potter or an Off to Be the Wizard. It’s not. It's fiction firmly set in modern America—San Francisco to be exact. The “magic” I wanted quickly became less HP and more Freemason (huge disappointment) and then morphed into little more than a morality tale or parable, if you will.
The set-up was intriguing. I mean a book about a bookstore and loving books: that’s right up my alley! But most of the characters are average, and there never seemed to be anything on the line—no real sacrifice or looming danger. I didn’t really love any of them, I felt just along for the ride. Penumbra was the most likable character but his constant, “My boy,” started off endearing but soon grated on my nerves.
I liked the narrator; he’s easy to listen to and sounds natural. He only gets 3 stars because I found times when I didn’t know if Clay (protagonist) was speaking out loud or was in his own head. Not a problem I’ve had with other audiobooks.
It lacked something, maybe grandeur, but I kept thinking I wanted more. And I can’t quite decide whether to keep it or return it. I haven’t yet listened to the prequel short story, but I keep hoping that it will make this one worth my time.
Set in the present day and told in the present tense, Sloan pulls the reader into the the story by twisting past, present, and possibility together in this fun adventure through a puzzle of books. This is fantasy, of course, so readers will have to play along with the hero of the story, who always happens to have to right resources at his fingertips, but with a little suspension of disbelief and some background in the world of table top role playing fantasy, the story proves a great escape from reality!
The narrator is quick to pick up on the inner voice of the hero, who is witty and a tad self deprecating, but incredibly endearing.
I'm a simple man learning more and more through reading.
Sometimes you just need a simple read that makes you smile and wonder at the same time. I felt like this book did a amazing job of balancing the adventure and puzzles of a classic mystery with the humor and technology expected in novels today.
Excellently read with wit and inflection at just the right times.
I'd highly suggest this!
but was pleasabtly surprised! The narration, in particular, was great. A very enjoyable voice to listen to. The story was well paced with a very satisfying ending!