Monday, February 29, 2016
Alcatraz Vs. The Evil Librarians by Brandon Sanderson
Alcatraz Smedry can't seem to stay with any foster family long enough to put down roots. In fact, he has the horrible habit of breaking anything he comes into contact with. His thirteenth birthday is no different. He receives a weird bag of sand as a present and manages to burn down his foster mother's kitchen.
Fated to once again leave for another home, Alcatraz is amazed when an old man shows up claiming to be his grandfather. He learns that he is descended from a long line of occulists, people who use lenses to work magic. When his bag of sands is stolen, he must accompany his grandfather on a quest to the local library, the hide out of the evil librarians, people who want to take over the world by controlling information.
This new series appears to be a revamp of earlier writings and marks Sanderson's try at middle grade. The book is told in first person and follows Alcatraz as he learns about his heritage and the powers they entail. I found his character to ramble on a bit, and though sometimes clever, it was a little too much. I found myself skipping chunks of paragraphs.
The redeeming quality is the juxtaposition of librarians and evil. I love librarians, and I think of them as silent warriors. So, when the theme of the book turned out to be that librarians are truly evil and planning to take over the world, I just had to know more. I was able to overlook the rambling and move forward into the plot, which is fun and original. Plus, the characters are a hoot. Each of the people from the Occulist world has a bizarre power, like Alcatraz's ability to break things. Some of the scenes are just plain hilarious and the main character is saved over and over again by truly weird talents.
I like the idea of where this series is heading, and the ending of the book sets up the next, which I am eager to read. I think kids will find this a fun read, though some of the jokes adults will understand better, but overall, a solid read. 4 stars!