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Mr. Penumbra's 24-Hour BookstoreMr Penumbra's 24-Hour Bookstore. A clever and delightful merging of high-tech (Mechanical Turk, Google, 3-D imaging) and very low-tech indeed (an ancient font and a 500-year-old secret hidden in an underground library of books), all underlaid with a sense of the deep importance of friendship and imagination. My only complaint is that I wish it had been longer: there are a lot of fascinating ideas crammed into a fairly short book. On the plus side, that means it never gets boring.

Also a big plus (for me at least) is that the mystery -- while very mysterious -- is kept low-key. That is, there are no car chases, no surprise betrayals by people you thought could be trusted, no one gets shot at, no one has to jump out of a helicopter or climb onto a roof to escape an armed villain, etc. It was such a joy to read something whose power to engross and delight comes not from explosions and close calls, but from strong bonds of friendship on the one hand and exuberant high-tech geekery on the other. The incorporation of high fantasy into the mix is great fun, and the idea of initiates into the organization having to write their own codex vitae as a sort of mystical final exam is really intriguing. (Maybe Sloan will write some of those...) Highly recommended.

(I'm trying to catch up on my book reviews, so tomorrow: a creepy medieval apocalypse. And no, it has nothing to do with it being election day!)

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iulia_linnea
Nov. 6th, 2012 11:03 pm (UTC)
That sounds great!
delphipsmith
Nov. 12th, 2012 04:28 pm (UTC)
It was a lot of fun -- the title character is wonderful, with his love of the old (books, manuscripts, printing) but openness to the new (Google, etc.). A very cheerful view of technology :)
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