Libby's Reviews > Mr. Penumbra's 24-Hour Bookstore

Mr. Penumbra's 24-Hour Bookstore by Robin Sloan
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's review
Nov 06, 2012

did not like it
bookshelves: kindle, read-in-2012
Read from November 06 to 08, 2012

Meh - 1.5 stars because the plot was interesting enough that I finished the book and there were some funny moments. While Mr. Sloan is imaginative and quick witted it does not make up for poor writing and boring characters. The book is just bad first person narrative. This would be an acceptable as a Syfy Saturday movie but not for a novel.For example "It's early in the morning. We came straight from the airport. Neel visits Manhattan all the time for business and I used to take the train down from Providence . . ." or "I tap Kat's shoulder and point to the glowing lamps. Neel narrows his eyes." The entire narrative is just so damn obvious its annoying - here is what I see, here is what we are doing etc.

Also, the book is a novel long ad for Google and Amazon. The narrator can't stop talking about "Googlers" and Kindles. I like my Kindle but not as its own character in my book. I can see that the author was trying to marry the old and the new - traditional books and new technology but he failed, really, really failed. I'd like my $12 back.
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Reading Progress

11/06/2012 page 144
50.0% "Apparently I'm missing something because I can't understand why this book has so many good reviews. It's poorly written with pancake flat characters. The plot is interesting enough that I want to keep reading so it may improve - but I'm not hopeful"
02/11/2016 marked as: read

Comments (showing 1-34 of 34) (34 new)

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message 1: by Suzanne (new) - added it

Suzanne I agree. I'm 65% finished and I'm done. why did this get such good press?

Libby Suzanne wrote: "I agree. I'm 65% finished and I'm done. why did this get such good press?"

Exactly! The reviews don't make any sense - I don't know one good reader who enjoyed this book.

TamElaine I have to agree with everything you are saying....what character development was done made the main character, in my opinion, come across as a young teenage boy instead of the adult we are TOLD he is....and the Google thing was really getting on my nerves and yet I use Google as my main search engine....I was really ticked when Kobo was mentioned and asked "who actually owns a kobo." well I do....and most people I know in person does... I'm 60% finished and I have contemplated on giving it up a few times, and yet something is holding me to it....thanks for your review, it's validation for me among all these amazing reviews

message 4: by Thomas (new) - added it

Thomas Wong It was an excellent short story stretched quite a bit too thin for a novel.

Nico Totally concur. Seems like a highschooler Google employee wannabe's attempt at a first novel that should've never found it's way out of the literary agent's slush pile. Probably only got a book deal because he was a Twitter employee. Boo.

Annabel Smith So relieved to find someone agrees. I cannot understand why this is getting such raves. I agree that the writing was absolutely pedestrian and the whole Google thing - yes! Massively overrated.

Dael Alexis Agreed. kind of a dud.

Patti Just finished this book - grudgingly! It is so disappointing to start a book that has potential only to see the story buried behind the "oh, I'm the author and I have to show you how smart and savvy I am by putting in all this other stuff".
Stick to the story - please.
And come up with an ending that is comparable to the implied promises made at the beginning of the book.

Teresa Spelts ross I like the idea of this novel, but am finding (50% complete) that I have to force myself to read it. It is lacking something that compels me to want to know more. I will finish it, but will be looking forward to something new soon thereafter.

message 10: by Jacqui (new) - added it

Jacqui Rodgers The writing is annoying. His inner monologue is almost as insufferable as what's-her-face in Fifty Shades of Grey. Harsh, I know, but it's stopping me from enjoying this book. We get it, Clay is witty, charming and endearingly quirky in a quasi-nerdy way. Enough already.

message 11: by Karin (new) - rated it 1 star

Karin I couldn't agree more with your assessment of the book.

Emily Goode I completely agree. I was so tired of hearing about Google and had to force myself to finish the book.

Anita Dallas I agree with your sentiments. I only finished it because I was listening to it on CD during a long car trip. Waste of time.

message 14: by kate (new) - rated it 1 star

kate thank you. you said exactly what i want to but more eloquently. i just can't give this book anymore energy, ha.

message 15: by John (new) - rated it 1 star

John Bradley This review was spot on. After the 100th google reference I almost threw the book across the room!

message 16: by Annie (new) - added it

Annie I agree. I was afraid I wouldn't find anyone who thinks the same

message 17: by Andrea (new) - added it

Andrea I couldn't finish it. Good premise, below-par writing, and too many tech references to hold my interest. Life's too short.

message 18: by Kate (new) - rated it 2 stars

Kate Anderson Completely agree with your review. And now have more faith in human kind to note that many others out there agree with you. The book in one word: juvenile.

message 19: by Melanie (last edited Aug 16, 2014 06:03AM) (new) - rated it 2 stars

Melanie Thanks for the review--and for all the other commenters who share the same sentiments! I checked this book out of the library for a book club. I think the only thing that sped up my reading was the impending meeting.

At one point I felt that maybe I was being too harsh, that perhaps I missed something and this book had been written for teenagers. But no.

It seemed like the author was trying too hard to be hip and cool or trying to be like someone else. He failed miserably.

Kate sums it up well. Juvenile is a perfect description. I too am bewildered at the praise this book has received.

message 20: by Whitney (new)

Whitney Boatright It's OK. To me and maybe it's just me but does anyone notice a lot of unnecessary detail and facts? I just find it hard to understand

message 21: by Whitney (new)

Whitney Boatright I couldn't finish. I wonder if I'm just not in the mood :-(

message 22: by [deleted user] (new)

Absolutely flabbergasted that you feel this way. Will have to check out the books you do recommend, they must be truly astounding! :)

Stacey Fisher Thomas I'm fin

Stephanie marzano I also found it hard to understand and skimmed through the google details. I was also bothered by Clays excessive use of the word "like". Especially in a presentation to what he calls scholars!! That was what made me want to throw the book.

message 25: by Nico (new) - added it

Nico I'm listening to the audiobook version. I just turned it off to read reviews, because it's starting to drive me a little bananas. Thank you for pointing out the free advertising campaigns, ugh. I'm going to stop listening, and maybe i'll come back to it, or not. Someone picked it out for me, it was meant well. Anyway. For any audiobook people, the narrator is a bit fast, which I don't really enjoy.

Bookworm Thank goodness I'm not the only one. I can't understand the rave reviews or even the lukewarm/okay ones. This was a dreadful read but several people recommended it to me.

message 27: by Beth (new) - rated it 1 star

Beth Blue And I thought I was being grunpy...stlll struggling with this book, trying hard not to quit simply because I am not a quitter! But it has not been the pleasant journey I expeded. Glad I am
not the only one not to go crazy about this one. Too much hype, too little literature...

message 28: by Zain (new) - rated it 5 stars

Zain maybe you guys just lack of imagination tbh

Fawndolyn Valentine Teresa wrote: "I like the idea of this novel, but am finding (50% complete) that I have to force myself to read it. It is lacking something that compels me to want to know more. I will finish it, but will be loo..."

I'm in this exact boat! 50% done, 100% checked out. There's no reason to care about anybody in this book (I mean, closest I've come to caring about a character is for Penumbra himself, who, at this point, is barely in the thing) enough to continue..

message 30: by Renee (new) - added it

Renee Also for Apple. Don't forget Apple. I'm only halfway through and have already made the book-length ad observation!

Trijnewijn I agree with your review, but the Google references threw me of for a completely different reason: almost all of them are totally made up. My husband works at Google (not in silicon valley, but still), I know how to programming and almost every sentence about either of those subjects is just complete nonsense. It's the most irritating and inaccurate book I've read. Even the movie "the internship" got more facts about Google right, aaargh!

message 32: by Jack (new) - rated it 5 stars

Jack Treml Meh? So sorry you all weren't as captivated as I was.

Charity If you enjoy parts of it, being funny or whatnot, and finish the book, it rates more than one star. I'm not a ratings expert but if I cannot finish a book, it gets one star. You also mentioned the good plot...

Thayyab Ahmed I thought it was shite. the characters are boring af and the book could be condensed into about 1 page

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