My rating: 3 of 5 stars
Sum it up in a sentence (or two): Clay has a new job as the night clerk at a 24-hour bookstore, but Mr. Penumbra doesn't just sell books.
First thoughts: What a weird, weird story. I was over halfway through before I (sort of) figured out the main conflict, but it was such a wonderful, strange tale to read that I didn't really care. As I learned more and more I was less and less on board with the reality of the story, but as the narrator says, "people believe weirder things than this."
Bibliophile thoughts: You can't go wrong with a book about books, but luckily this one is a lot more than that. Technology, the power of machines, progress, and religions/cults (both of the spiritual and corporate type) all play a part in this story.
"You know, I'm really starting to think the whole world is just a patchwork quilt of crazy little cults, all with their own secret spaces, their own records, their own rules." -Clay, p 253
"You will hold this book in your hands, and learn all the things I learned, right along with me: ...All the secrets in the world worth knowing are hiding in plain sight." - p 288
Favorite characters: I didn't hate anyone, but Clay, Neel, Penumbra, Mat, and Ashley stood out the most as likeable people. I wasn't sold on Kat.
Final thoughts: Google was essentially one of the main characters in this new world meets old world tale, which felt normal, but also jarring. I know the internet has everything, but I'd like the characters in my books to not take advantage of that. The ending was solid, though - I liked getting glimpses into characters' futures while still being able to imagine most of it myself.
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