84 You Need A Hobby
130 You Have One
Dor

Dor Does Books

Oh, hai! I read books, then I write down what I think of them. 

 

 

Mr Penumbra's 24-hour Bookstore

Mr Penumbra's 24 Hour Bookstore - Robin Sloan

I was really hopeful about this book. I expected a cross between Rivers of London and Douglas Coupland set in a book shop; or Scarlett Thomas and Douglas Coupland set in a book shop; instead, it's a cross between Dan Brown and somebody who admires Douglas Coupland, also there's a book shop.

 

It started out really good. Then it gradually became okay. Then, at 83%, something happens which feels like it must be a reference to a book or something else I'm unfamiliar with because the only other explanation is that the author had some major plotting problems. That is not my biggest criticism about the book. I'm going to mention it here, so if you don't want to know, go and play elsewhere, 'k?

 

 

SPOILERS FROM HERE-ON

 

Okay. So there's a code. To try and break the code, the characters utilise Google. All of it. And Google can't crack the code. Later in the book, the code is cracked (and I have my own complaints about that. I create vectors, I actually know what I'm talking about on this matter) and it turns out to be a substitution code. Now, in case you don't know, substitution codes are easy to crack. Substitution codes which only use a single letter to substitute another are especially simple. In this book, the entire power of Google cannot crack this simple substitution code. It could not even come up with any suggestions. That's not how things work in real life but the outcome of this book hinges on it. And that is why I gave this book two stars.

(show spoiler)