Alcatraz Versus the Evil Librarians by Brandon Sanderson


Urban FantasyTween

Alcatraz Versus The Evil Librarians Alcatraz Versus the Evil LibrariansBrandon Sanderson; Scholastic Press 2007WorldCat

Alcatraz Smedry always breaks things. He’s an orphan who keeps moving from one foster home to another. He seems to be a walking disaster. Door knobs fall off into his hand. He sets kitchens on fire. Once he even broke a chicken. What Alcatraz doesn’t realize is that he has a Talent for breaking things.

On his 13th birthday he receives a packet of sand. That’s also when he sets the kitchen on fire at his most recent foster home. The next day he hears his foster parents talking with Mrs. Fletcher, his case worker. Then his grandfather Smedry shows up. Grandpa Smedry is concerned about the sand because it is special. Alcatraz hadn’t realized he had a grandfather alive when this strange old man shows up. It seems Alcatraz is a strong Talent in the Smedry line in the Free Kingdoms. But here in the Hushlands, the Librarians have everything under control. Grandpa believes the Librarians stole the sand to make a special pair of oculators (magic glasses).

After stopping for some help, Alcatraz and Grandpa are sneaking into the main library downtown. That is one of the main strongholds where the Librarians have control of the release of information. Did you think Librarians are there to help you find information? Actually, they control what information you can hear or read. The Dark Oculator (magician) has his offices there and is probably trying to turn the sand into a powerful pair of oculators. It’s up to Alcatraz and Grandpa (whose talent is being late) to get the sand back before the Dark Oculator and the Librarians try to complete their world domination.

Alcatraz Versus the Evil Librarians is fun for the ten to thirteen year old crowd. Alcatraz tells the story but can’t tell it straight. He adds a lot of asides, cliffhangers, and ramblings along with the story line. He keeps reminding the reader that although the people in the Free Kingdoms think he’s a hero, he’s actually not, nor is he very nice.

There are times when the story gets too silly or Alcatraz gets too full of himself. It can be harder for a linear person to keep up with the story. Yet his same tone will attract kids because they’ll be able to identify. Brandon Sanderson keeps up the wit and humor all the way through.

Although written for children, then are things the adults will appreciate as well. My favorite has been written up in by blog about keeping the reader up late at night. Sanderson (as Alcatraz) loves telling how much fun an author can have. And yes, this often feels like a Harry Potter wannabe. That won’t stop me from reading the sequels.

Besides, I’m a librarian. I know we control the world of information (evil laugh).

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