Maybe....it was a fun story at first, but about half way through I got very bored. It's definitely a teen lit-type book. If I had that expectation going into it I may have enjoyed it more, but maybe not. It got a bit annoying at times.
Avid listener of mysteries, thrillers, a little sci fi. Also enjoy self improvement titles. Mom, wife, Social Media Coordinator for biz.
I know I have been spoiled by the likes of Connelly, Deaver, Lippman, French, Child and others. This book is kind of juvenile in its plot and pacing. I think my 12 year old would love it. However, it is NOT Ready Player One (RPO). RPO is a well-polished narrative with clearly thought out characters. It moves neither too fast nor too slow. I adored it. This book has a bit of fantasy in it but it doesn't seem to fit with the non-fantasy parts. Characters are very one dimensional and predictable - almost like cartoons at times, especially Mr. Penumbra himself.
This book comes across like someone just sat down and typed it up with no effort to edit, polish or improve it after the fact. It's not awful, simply unsophisticated.
The generation of video game players and other techno-beasts is aging. Whether they are becoming adults, as in reality-based productive citizens remains to be seen. Corporate-based cults like Google-ites tend to scare me as the charm and super-reality presumed by the cultist of this religion-like fervor, can lead it's minion down a rosy path to nowhere. Meanwhile, Google and their ilk are soaking up information on all of us, from our buying patterns to our political affiliations, and using them to who knows what end. The characters that control this data (and its eventual impact on our lives) are controlled by whom exactly? They are rich beyond having normal tethers to reality, and powerful enough to effect QOL issues for EVERYONE!
And that makes me more than a bit uncomfortable. The General Motors and General Electrics of the past simply wanted to monopolize their markets and control the political decision makers via Lobbyi$t$, while making ungodly amounts of cash. But at least they made some helpful things along the way. Now the world is controlled by a class of wealthy game players, that discussed their thievery as 'investment vehicles' that benefit a small few, while making exactly nothing useful.
Now we have the notion of 'belonging' to something as meaningless as a cult or religion, that pays us very well to do who knows what for who knows whom. All this brainpower would be better exploited in science and medicine, aimed at improving the quality of our lives without disturbing the natural environment in which we survive.
Penumbra's tale is an old one, but the setting here is not a creepy little bookstore. It is a masterful manipulation of many of our brightest young minds, a story from which we get very little, if anything.
The leading user review compares this book to the Night Circus (Erin Morgenstern). This is grossly unfair to the Night Circus. Penumbra has enough ideas for a really good short story. The characters are mostly interesting types, although fairly static and undeveloped. The lead character is boring, and the most interesting character, Penumbra, is not "on stage" nearly enough. I would compare this more to a watered down "14" (Peter Clines) which was much more interesting. I found that even at the most climactic parts of the book, I really didn't care that much. I finished the book mainly because it was only about 8 hours long. The Night Circus, on the Other hand, is about 100x more dense with ideas, imagination, character development, and dramatic tension. All that is not to say this book is bad; it is good enough that I think it could have been better. If you want a hip, fun, modern, weird mystery book, try 14 instead.
Dept Q, Harry Hole... where are you?
Now this should be a critic's choice! Only this is one smart book that doesn't hold any presumptions. Many thanks to the Oberlin, Kansas reviewer. This is one I may not have given a second glance, had it not been for her review.
On the other hand i think most of us who love books are drawn to any title having to do with mysterious bookstores. And It doesn't get any more mysterious than Mr. Penumbra's bookstore. What is better than a genuine mystery with fascinating characters all revolving around books?
Ari Fliakos is as talented a narrator as I have encountered.
This is fun and fast read!
I really enjoyed this book it reminded me of Ready Player One and The Da Vinci Code. If you liked those books then you will be in for a real treat here. I will have keep an eye out for more books by Robin Sloan. I also really liked this narrator I think he did a great job bring the characters to life.
Fun story about some of the best narration I've ever heard. I'll be reading more by this author and listening to more from this narrator.
Loved it all the characters were interesting and good depth in variety performance was outstanding
Artfully celebrates human inventions old and new in a story full of lovable characters and a twisty plot. A clever premise that satisfies our curiosity, and uncovers a wide spectrum of human ingenuity. Loved it, and couldn't put it down.