Synopsis (from amazon)
San Francisco, 1969. The summer of drugs, music and a new age dawning. A young, earnest Ajax Penumbra has been given his first assignment as a Junior Acquisitions Officer – to find the single surviving copy of the Techne Tycheon, a mysterious volume that has brought and lost great fortune for anyone who has owned it. After a few weeks of rigorous hunting, Penumbra feels no closer to his goal than when he started. But late one night, after another day of dispiriting dead ends, he stumbles upon a 24-hour bookstore and the possibilities before him expand exponentially. With the help of his friend’s homemade computer, an ancient map, a sunken ship and the vast shelves of the 24-hour bookstore, Ajax Penumbra might just find what he’s seeking…
Ajax Penumbra 1969 is the prequel to Mr Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore, it can be read alone with no problems, but I think those who have read the sequel first would probably get more out of it.
I must admit I actually think I prefered this one to the sequel. It certainly was quicker to get going, but then it was a short story- so I suppose there wasn’t much time for ‘faffing’.
It was interesting to see how Penumbra started, and his job sounded like a great job! I found his adventure more interesting than the adventure in the sequel too, although I would have liked to see more of his early days in the bookstore.
I came out of it liking Penumbra as a character much more too. He had interested me before, but we didn’t really get to know him.
I would like to know if they really did sink ships in San Francisco and build on top of them.
I’ve decided to do some little reviews again. This time for books that I don’t have a lot to say about, but I still want to mention.
The bold links are amazon affiliate links (the money goes back into the blog).
Mr Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore- Robin Sloan
Wasn’t there a character on some TV programme called Robin Sloan? (Maybe I’m thinking of Diagnosis Murder, but that was Mark… I think).
Anyway Mr Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore is about a 24-hour bookstore (believe it or not!), but there’s something not quite ‘normal’ about the bookstore and the new clerk starts to find out what it is. Lots of people have told me that they loved this book because it was about a bookstore. I don’t really see that- it’s more a mystery, almost an Indiana Jones type story. It was strange but rather intriguing and there was a good amount to puzzle out and action towards the end. I got into it well enough to buy the prequel. 3.5/5
The Hundred-Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out of the Window and Disappeared- Jonas Jonasson
Try saying that with a mouthful of toffee! I’m going to abbreviate it (laziness!) to THMCWD.
THMCWD is a book about THMCWD, sounds dull? Well he gets up to all sorts of things which you wouldn’t expect, with the police on his tails all the time. There’s robbery, criminal gangs, murder, and an elephant. When the action was going on I read it quite quickly but when it wasn’t I found I wasn’t too encouraged to read it at all. I did find that despite not being the longest book it took me a long time to read because I lost interest. However at times it was funny, and bizarre, and I really thought that Allan was an interesting character.
THMCWD is in a middle of a lawsuit here in the UK and can no longer be sold by the British publishers, but you may still be able to get your hands on a copy somewhere. Amazon is selling the US version of the kindle edition (by the way what is up with that cover? Allan looks more like 30 than 100) 3/5