Books: Mr. Penumbra's 24-Hour Bookstore

There's no denying that since moving to Korea I've had way less time to read. Even so, I'm as determined as usual to reach my annual goal of reading 50 books this year. I am now on year four of this.
 Anyway, I want a way to keep track of my thoughts on each book. So, I'll post here with a review of each book.

Today's book is Mr. Penumbra's 24-Hour Bookstore by Robin Sloan, and it's actually the ninth book I've read this year, but ideas sometimes come later than an actual start.


What I liked
Sloan's writing style is very smooth (does this make sense? It's the only word I could think fit what I wanted to say), it just flows well without jumping around. The book does draw you in, particularly in the middle. At that point the book goes through a few chapters of feeling like an exciting mystery. The chapter "Why do you love books so much?" was one of the best, in my opinion.

I also liked how she captured both sides of the computer vs. book arguments. There's no denying that you see much for both sides on tumblr. However, I felt that Sloan showed the love of both pretty well. I liked both Kat and Lapin, who were computer-genius types and felt that they had so much potential as characters. I think Sloan could have made Lapin significantly more interesting, she could have been prequel worthy. On a random, but slightly related note, I kept thinking of Kat Potente as Kat Potential.

What I didn't like
Everything is sort of flat. The characters could have been so much more intriguing than they are. Everyone sort of becomes less interesting the more you learn about them. I feel like the opposite should happen. This was especially true of the characters, I actually think Lapin could have prequel potential, but it's cut off. Even the ending was just "meh." The epilogue feels like a desperate attempt to force the reader to imagine the characters' lives past the novel exactly as Sloan does.

Quite possibly my least favourite thing about this story was the feeling of reading "product placement." On TV, if done cleverly, you barely notice it. However, when it's obvious, it's obnoxious. That was exactly the case with this book. There were many times I felt like I was reading a giant advertisement for Google. I have never read anything where the name of a company and it's products are mentioned so many times. I get that Kat works there, but honestly, it felt like that was supposed to be the most interesting thing about her. She was a personified ad for Google.

Overall Rating: 3/5 I liked it, but it was disappointing.

The next book review will be on Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? by Mindy Kaling ^^

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