This is a delightful book and an even more delightful audiobook.
The narrator does a wonderful job of capturing the main character's voice and creating a very personal telling of a fantasy science-fiction publishing typographical romp in San Francisco. This book defies categorization. It is a wonderful surprise.
Inside you'll find a plethora of interesting characters. It will move you from feelings of uneasiness to many enjoyable moments. This is what most of us are looking for; a good story told by a good narrator.
I didn't know what to make of this book at first. But as I got into the meat, I found a very entertaining story about books. Yes, that's right. A book about books. As one who has loved books for as long as I can remember, I could appreciate what Clay Jannon and Ajax Penumbra were going through.
The plot is a simple one. Clay Jannon, with the ink still wet on his graphic design degree, works for only a short time before becoming a statistic in the recent recession. He goes through the normal progression of job hunting: find something in my field; find something I have the skills for; find something I wouldn't mind doing; find something that isn't illegal; start re-defining "illegal." Almost by chance. as he is walking the streets of San Francisco, he comes across Mr. Penumbra's 24 Hour Bookstore with a help wanted sign in the window. He steps inside to inquire and steps out with a job on the midnight shift. He thought Mr. Penumbra to be a little strange, but a job was a job.
After working in the store for a few weeks, he wondered how it stayed in business. Hardly any customers bought anything and there was a group who came in regularly and would exchange books, similar to a library. Clay found out that these regulars were members of a literary "cult" called the Unbroken Spine, and it was for them that the store truly existed. Partly out of concern for his own job security and partly out of his growing fondness for Mr. Penumbra, Clay immerses himself into the enigma know as the Unbroken Spine. Clay enlists the help of his motley crew of friends and acquaintances, each having their own special talents, to find answers to the secrets the group had sought for centuries.
To tell more of the plot may spoil the story. But coming through loud and clear was the love of books. Old books, new books, and electronic books. There are people on both sides of the e-book revolution stating their cases. In the end, it will be we the readers to make the final determination as to the future of printing. Clay recalls the book he most loved as a child, The Dragonsong Chronicles, and the influence it had own his growth and development. It helped him forge lasting friendships and brought hours of joy to his life.
I own and e-reader and it serves its purpose. I can take hundreds of books with me when I travel in the space of a small paperback. But there is something about holding that book in your hands, smelling the paper and glue, and looking at the type printed on the page. That can never be reproduced electronically. And as Robin Sloan has discovered, books give their authors a little taste of immortality.
It's hard to explain this story. The plot itself is a puzzle as the characters try to solve a complex puzzle. Great characters and the voice the story is told in really works. The narrator does a nice job differentiating the voices.
I've read the book before as an e-book. The story is fun, and covers a lot of ground for how short it is. The writing style is utterly engaging. But the book is even better as an audiobook. The reader perfectly captures the personality of Clay, the first person protagonist. The perfect book for a vacation road trip. Although the style is fun, lots of thought provoking ideas are included. Get this book. You can thank me later.
Why can't there be more books like this. Great writing, incredible narration, and a plot with thought. Six star if I could give it. Please write another book.
I loved listening the the narrator tell the story. His voice was like listening to your best friend tell you about a funny thing that happened to him that day.
Just the right touch of humor thrown in when things start leaning towards monotonous. I love books - love reading - so a book about a strange bookstore and mysterious "way out" books definitely kept me reading.
Fliakos's performance was like sitting in a comfy chair across from an old friend and listening to him describe what a weird day he had. Loved his voice change for his best friend Neal - he could do voice over for Keanu Reeves.
There is no need to change something when it is perfect. It was the title of the book that drew my attention to read the little blurb about the plot and give this book a chance. I would have missed out on a very entertaining story, had that connection not been made.
Starts out a little slow as it lays the ground work, then gets busy, crazy and funny. The main characters internal thoughts are great, full of unexpected one liners that will make you laugh out loud in surprise!