Alcatraz versus the Evil Librarians by Brandon Sanderson
Genre: Fantasy — Middle Grades/Young Adult
Series: Alcatraz #1
Publisher: Starscape (February 16, 2016)
Author Information: Website | Twitter
Length: 320 pages
My Rating: 4 stars
The first adventure in the young adult fantasy series Alcatraz The Evil Librarians was one which I and my youngest son read as a bedtime story. As a fan of Rick Riordan’s Percy Jackson series and Mac Barnett’s Brixton Brothers mysteries, I knew the novel was a can’t miss with the little Bookwraith, and I wasn’t wrong. This fast-paced, funny tale by Brandon Sanderson bringing more than a few smiles to my face and eliciting many a hysterical giggle from my son, which meant it was great fun but didn’t really put him to sleep any faster.
In this story, foster child Alcatraz Smedry is our star. Like most thirteen year olds, he has more than a little teen angst going on, but Alcatraz has more than a little right to feel that way, because he has had a pretty rough life: losing his parents, moving from foster home to foster home, and being cursed with a knack to break almost anything. And when he gets a bag of sand in the mail for his birthday, his angst only grows, as it seems this is his only inheritance from his mom and dad.
Soon, though, Alcatraz learns that there is a lot more to this stupid bag of sand than he thought. A cult of evil Librarians (who plan on taking over the world by distorting the truth) stealing it from him, trying to shot him before a strange, old man in a modified Model T-Ford slams his car into the side of Alcatraz’s house.
Grandpa Smedry not only saves Alcatraz but opens his eyes to a whole new world. A place where the Free Kingdoms are waging a hidden war against the Evil Librarians, and Alcatraz’s inheritance of a bag of sand is the most powerful gift anyone could have ever been given. (It took Alcatraz’s dad his whole life to gather the Sands of Rashid one grain at a time!) The Librarians wanting the sands, because with them they will be able to create the most powerful Oculatory Distortions ever, giving them the power to finally overthrow the Free Kingdoms!
Well, at least, Grandpa Smedry says all this is true. Alcatraz isn’t really sure if he believes him or not, especially the part about him being his grandpa. So what is he to do: run off into unknown danger with a strange man who might be delusional or head off to another foster home?
Finally, our young orphan decides, telling Grandpa Smedry, “I’m only going with you because someone just tried to kill me. You see, I’m a somewhat reckless boy and not always prone to carefully considering the consequences of my actions.”
But how will the odd pair retrieve the sands from the armed and dangerous Librarians?
Grandpa Smedry has the answer though: They will use Alcatraz’s Smedry talent. The talent (not a curse at all) to break things. The most powerful Smedry talent ever!
Lighthearted, funny, and filled with wild, crazy ideas sure to delight everyone who has the heart of a child, Alcatraz versus the Evil Librarians shows a very different side of Brandon Sanderson, but it still displays all his amazing storytelling talents: amazing plot, interesting characters, and mesmerizing twists and turns, which means it is a story not to be missed.
I received this book from the Starscape Books in exchange for a fair and honest review. I’d like to thank the publishers for allowing me to receive this review copy and inform everyone that the review you have read is my opinion alone.
It is great to hear you and little bookwraith enjoyed this – I will have to keep it in mind as I really enjoyed Rick Riordan’s Percy Jackson books 🙂
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I’ve always been hesitant to pick up this series because I heard it was more Middle Grade than YA. I don’t mind reading YA at all, but when you get down to Middle Grade, the prose does start to get to me. But this is Sanderson we’re talking about… and now that I have become obsessed with his books, I don’t know why I should hesitate at all.
I’d agree its targeted toward a younger audience, but if you love Sanderson you’ll find something to enjoy.
That’s a great premise. Nice to see the little Bookwraith following in the steps of the big one 🙂
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