Monday, February 13, 2012

“They are presented attractively for the same reason that kittens are cute - so that they can draw you in, then pounce on you for the kill. Seriously. Stay away from kittens.”

Alcatraz Versus the Evil Librarians – Brandon Sanderson

Book 1 in Alcatraz Series

308 pages

Genre: Children’s; Fantasy; Adventure; Humor

Summary: Alcatraz Smedry is an ordinary boy with a special gift: he breaks everything he touches.  He receives a bag of sand on his thirteenth birthday, (Sand, you say? Why, yes; don’t you get sand for your birthday?) and when he becomes aware of the fact that a band of librarians have their hearts set on stealing it, he makes it his mission to prevent that from happening, even if it means infiltrating their lair: the public library.

Review: I first became aware of Alcatraz Versus the Evil Librarians after a friend of mine recommended it to me (thanks, Christina!). Since I am a librarian by profession, anything having to do with evil librarians automatically gets moved up to the top of my “to be read” pile. Ultimately, I’m really glad I read this, as it was just as delightfully bizarre as the description makes it seem.

Alcatraz Versus the Evil Librarians was packed with humor and absurdity, and the plot itself was quite unique, indeed. Who knew sand could be coveted by so many people? The Smedry talents were also pretty hilarious, and while some didn’t make a whole lot of sense on the surface, when taken into context with the story, they fit perfectly (ie arriving late).

All of the characters were really well-done, and I enjoyed Alcatraz as the narrator immensely. Alcatraz does not take on a passive role in the book, but rather talks to the reader directly, which is a wonderful tactic for engaging children in the plot. I also found it pretty great that librarians were the villains, as the stereotype is that librarians are quiet, docile folk. Obviously librarians are just quiet because they’re thinking up ways to take over the world. My favorite characters, though, would have to be the dinosaurs with the British accents. I am endlessly fascinated by dinosaurs and all things British, so if you put the two together, I am the happiest person on the planet!

If you’re looking for a book that’s a bit (okay, a lot) out of the norm and enjoy plenty of absurd adventure, definitely give Alcatraz Versus the Evil Librarians a try. This book is especially suited for people who fall into the 9-12 age range.

Rating: 3/5

Other Books in this Series: Alcatraz Versus the Scrivener’s Bones, Alcatraz Versus the Knights of Crystallia, Alcatraz Versus the Shattered Lens