A review by theespressoedition
Mr. Penumbra's 24-Hour Bookstore, by Robin Sloan

adventurous funny informative mysterious fast-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? Plot
  • Strong character development? It's complicated
  • Loveable characters? Yes
  • Diverse cast of characters? Yes
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? No


This book was absolutely fascinating in every way, shape, and form!

It was like... trying to combine Ready Player One with The Starless Sea in some magical realism, bookworm-filled, high-tech world. I still don't have a full grasp on what exactly I read, but I liked it!

The very beginning of the book hooked me instantly. I mean, someone who works in a bookstore that has very few customers except for ones that come in to buy - or borrow - books from the "way back" where our protagonist isn't even allowed to take a peek into the books to find out what they're about.

Is it a cult? A secret society? Drug dealers? There are so many options here, but what really happens is not at all what I expected.

The characters are very likable, and one of the things that stood out to me was how realistic they felt, considering how truly bizarre the plot was. The characters felt like people you'd meet in real life, rather than the outlandish and whimsical you sometimes find in books of this sort. I guess that's one of the beautiful things about magical realism. It all seems acceptable and possible... until it's not.

I highly recommend giving this one a read. It's entirely underrated!

Expand filter menu Content Warnings