Alcatraz Versus the Evil Librarians
Published October 1, 2007 by Scholastic
Alcatraz Versus the Evil Librarians was a fun, unique read. The unusual nature of the world Sanderson created made up for the excessive silliness of the narration.
As the Alcatraz series was the only one of Brandon Sanderson's I hadn't tried (I haven't read The Alloy of Law yet, but I've read the rest of the Mistborn books), I almost had to give it a try. Since it's a middle grade story rather than one of Sanderson's usual epic fantasy sagas, I expected it to be different, and it certainly was. It's definitely clear that this was written for a younger audience; it's very silly – sometimes a little too silly – and rather simpler than Sanderson's other works. However, it was a fun and entertaining read.
As we've come to expect from Brandon Sanderson, the world of the Free Kingdoms and the Hushlands was very different and interesting. People have magical talents like breaking things, being late, saying things that don't make sense, and tripping and falling. Alcatraz is a funny, irreverent hero who's convinced he's not a hero at all. The story does use some slightly tired tropes – Alcatraz is raised by foster parents, and has no idea who he really is, for example, but the uniqueness of the world more than compensated for that.
One unusual point was that the narrator, Alcatraz, often takes a moment (usually in the middle of a sticky situation) to address the reader directly. This device was usually funny, though it did become a bit tiresome after a while.
I listened to this book, and I found the narration decent, if nothing particularly spectacular. I liked the different voices, but there were a couple times I thought the narrator forgot to switch to the right character for a bit of their dialogue, which was a little confusing.
I would recommend this book to anyone looking for something silly and different. I enjoyed it, and I will be reading the rest of the series.
Alcatraz Versus the Evil Librarians is similar to:
The Lightning Thief by Rick Riordan
Howl's Moving Castle by Diana Wynne Jones
Pawn of Prophecy by David Eddings