Mr. Penumbra's 24-Hour Bookstore, Robin Sloan

I read this as part of a mystery book club and was seriously underwhelmed: NYT bestseller? Really? Although possibly I'm simply the wrong audience. Sloan's 30-something 1st person (present tense) narrator is a techie hipster with a deep love of fantasy and "the smell of old books." There's a kind of weird (to me) affection and fascination with the idea of books, which has nothing to do with the content of them. There's also a serious Harry Potter-for-adults vibe that passes straight over my head, up to an including "mysterious" words which are really just Latin.

I was hoping for a dead body, but the plot is an "unravel the code" quest: The goal is overblown, and the ultimate answer yawn-inducing. The climax relies on similes. There is no character arc to speak of.

Most of the fun of the book is a series of intriguing environments. Some of these, like the description of the Google campus, I found interesting; some I just found implausible (people in underground caverns wearing black robes under the streets of New York). Maybe someone in my book club will be able to explain the appeal of this book to me. Then again, maybe we're all too old :)