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Alcatraz Versus the Evil Librarians

Review

Alcatraz Versus the Evil Librarians

Alcatraz Smedry doesn’t know until his 13th birthday that his family comes from a land of strange magic and possesses amazing talents. He isn’t even aware that he has a family, let alone such a talented one. Thinking he was abandoned by them, Alcatraz is quite surprised to discover --- on the same day he accidentally sets his foster parents’ kitchen on fire --- that he has a grandfather.

Grandfather Smedry rescues him from the caseworker who is attempting to shoot him. He removes Alcatraz from the world of Hushlanders (non-magical people) and sets him on the road to his ultimate task --- that of being a spy. Together Alcatraz and his grandfather go on a wild ride in a car that drives itself as they escape the crazy individual with a gun.

“The man who called himself Grandpa Smedry sat happily in the driver’s seat. A chunk of smoke-damaged ceiling fell down onto the hood of the car, throwing up a puff of white dust. The old man poked his head out the window.

“‘Lad,’ he said, ‘might I point out that you have two choices right now? You can get in the car with me, or you can stay here with the man holding a gun.’” Off they go. And while he is quickly tutored about the Free Kingdoms and the Hushlanders, and the fact that his grandfather’s talent is very powerful, he arrives late to things.

While dubious at first, a series of events finally helps Alcatraz accept his role in the rescue of the Sands of Rashid, which is key to the success of the Oculators. The Smedrys are Oculators, and they must defeat the librarians who are out to control knowledge and achieve world domination. The only way they can be stopped is if the Smedrys are able to recover this mysterious sand. Alcatraz uses Tracker’s Lenses (large, round, dark-framed spectacles), red- and yellow-tinted lenses and the assistance of a young woman who is actually a knight.

This clever book rushes through an adventure that resembles ALICE IN WONDERLAND in its oddness. Periodically Alcatraz will step out of character and talk to the reader in a narrative, in part to explain some of the abnormal events that are transpiring. Author Brandon Sanderson has pulled together almost everything that would appeal to readers of the Harry Potter series. There are dinosaurs (and rocks) that talk, as well as foster parents, magic, cliffhangers, narratives, two different worlds, reunited families and “evil” librarians.

I especially recommend ALCATRAZ VERSUS THE EVIL LIBRARIANS to fourth- and fifth-grade readers who enjoy peculiar adventures mixed with fantasy and a little sentimental reuniting of loved ones.

Reviewed by Patsy Side on November 1, 2008

Alcatraz Versus the Evil Librarians
(Alcatraz vs. The Evil Librarians #1)
by Brandon Sanderson

  • Publication Date: November 1, 2008
  • Mass Market Paperback: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Scholastic Paperbacks
  • ISBN-10: 0439925525
  • ISBN-13: 9780439925525