Review of Alcatraz Versus the Evil Librarians

December 16, 2009
Filed under: Reviews 

SFFaudio Review

Fantasy Audiobook - Alcatraz Versus the Evil Librarians by Brandon SandersonAlcatraz Versus the Evil Librarians
By Brandon Sanderson; Read by Charlie McWade
6 Hours, 15 Minutes – [UNABRIDGED]
Publisher: Scholastic
Published: 2008
Themes: / Fantasy / YA / Talent / Magic /

I have to admit, I bought the book when it first came out, because I like the author and I like the premise. But, since I am visually impaired, I had to wait for the audiobook. It was worth the wait.

What appealed to me about the book?

First, it’s a book about a cult of EVIL LIBRARIANS. I love librarians. I have friends who are librarians. I have two library cards. But still… the idea makes me smile. And that was before I read the book.

Second, the first sentence of the book is: “So, there I was, tied to an altar made from out-dated encyclopedias, about to get sacrificed to the dark powers by a cult of evil Librarians.”

Third, Alcatraz Smedry, the protagonist of the book, claims to be the true author. Brandon Sanderson is a pseudonym used to publish the book in Libraria – the lands controlled by the evil librarians.

So, I was already bouncing on my chair at the prospect of finally getting to hear the book… Would it live up to its promise? I’ll let you read to the end before I answer that one. Because, like Alcatraz Smedry, I’m not always a nice person. Hehehe

Alcatraz, the narrator, has a running commentary around chapters. He comments on the story as he goes along. Delightful asides that enlighten and entertain as the story goes along. When Smedry mentioned Heisenberg, my inner geek was happy.

On Alcatraz’ 13th birthday, he receives a box of sand, sent 13 years ago by his parents. As he had a knack for causing damage, he also burns down the kitchen of his foster parents’ house and is told he will once again be taken from one foster family and sent to live with another. The next day, his grandfather, who is always running late, shows up to keep Alcatraz’ inheritance from falling into the hands of the evil librarians. Too late. The sand is gone.

Thus begins Alcatraz’ adventures. He learns that Smedries have powerful talents. Alcatraz breaks things. His grandfather, Leavenworth, is late. His cousin, Sing Sing, falls down. His other cousin, Quentin, speaks gibberish. Why are these powerful magical talents? Read the book. (Told you I wasn’t very nice.)

Alcatraz, his grandfather, cousins, and his grandfather’s bodyguard, Bastille, have to sneak into the City Library, a powerful building filled with evil librarians to get it back before they can turn the sand into powerful, magical glasses.

Trust me. It just gets better from here. Wait until you meet the dinosaurs!

The book is a middle grade reader, written for 5th – 7th graders, but I, a female over 40, LOVED the book. I am now a fan of Alcatraz and will get EVERY Alcatraz book and audiobook. And tell all my friends to get the books, too.

The book is refreshingly quirky, action-filled and absolutely delightful. On a scale of 1-10, I give it an 11. Charlie McWade does an awesome job of bringing Alcatraz to life.

Listen to the audiobook. Make your friends listen. Give them to your kids. Give them to your friends’ kids. This is a book the entire family can enjoy. Trust me. Don’t let the evil librarians win. Buy the book and the audiobook. Then buy the sequel. You’ll thank me for it. I promise.

Posted by Charlene C. Harmon

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