Alcatraz versus the Evil Librarians
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What if you broke everything you touched?
Because of his "power," he's been through a series of foster homes.
On his 13th birthday, he finds out reality is not what it seems.
His newfound family and him must now try to save the world ...
From a cult of evil librarians!
Alcatraz Versus the Evil Librarians
By Brandon Sanderson
Alcatraz Versus the Evil Librarians (Alcatraz Series #1) by Brandon Sanderson
Pub. Date: October 2007
Publisher: Scholastic, Inc.
Format: Paperback , 308pp
On his 13th birthday, Alcatraz Smedry receives an unusual "gift" in the form of a bag of sand said to be the inheritance of his long-dead parents. The boy soon discovers his very gnarled family tree-and the reason why he and his relatives are in a battle with the evil librarians of Hushland (aka the United States), who selectively dole out and distort information to keep Hushlanders in the dark about the "real" world. The quirky characters (many named after famous prisons), the bursts of derring-do and absurd twists make good fodder for a fast-paced outing.
Alcatraz Smedry has an important talent: breaking things. He dismisses this as a personal failing until the day his grandfather, Leavenworth Smedry, shows up. He's late, of course. Grandpa Smedry is always late. That's HIS valuable talent. He can show up late to his own death, for instance, which often comes in handy. Once they've gathered their team of warriors, including a 300-lb. Mokian named Sing Sing and 13 year-old Bastille, their knight, they set out on their quest. They must recover Alcatraz's birthday present, the Sands of Rashid, from the Evil Librarians who stole it. If they fail, the Librarians will be able to rule the entire world. Fortunately, there are some talking dinosaurs in the downtown library that ... oh, no, I'm not going to spoil it. If this sounds convoluted, it is. But zany, hilarious, tongue-in-cheek, and eminently enjoyable.
Alcatraz Versus the Evil Librarians is probably the best book title EVER, and chances are that you've already decided that you must have this book based on the title alone. But wait, it gets even better. The book is about a cult of evil librarians who control our world (The Hushlands) by controlling the flow of information because, as you know, information is power. The librarians have managed to conceal the existence of three additional continents, the Free Kingdoms, whose citizens oppose their control. Like most Hushlanders, thirteen-year-old Alcatraz Smedry is oblivious to what's really happening, that is until he gets recruited for a mission to infiltrate the librarians' headquarters—the downtown library. It's a dangerous undertaking and Alcatraz is armed only with an uncanny ability to break almost everything he touches.
Alcatraz Versus the Evil Librarians is a hilarious, tongue-in-cheek story that had me laughing out loud right from the beginning. It's a fast paced book that creates a fascinating world, but doesn't get bogged down with too many details. It's similar to Harry Potter in that Alcatraz is an orphan who is unaware of his special power and the whole secret world he is from. The thing that sets it apart is that Alcatraz narrates the book as if he is writing it and often speaks directly to the reader - with hysterical results. For example:
"Hushlanders, I'd like to take this opportunity to commend you for reading this book. I realize the difficulty you must have gone through to obtain it - after all, no Librarian is likely to recommend it, considering the secrets it exposes about their kind."