ALCATRAZ VERUS THE EVIL LIBRARIANS by Brandon Sanderson [Review]

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:

Some people assume that authors write books because we have vivid imaginations and want to share our vision. Other people assume that authors write because we are bursting with stories, and therefore must scribble those stories down in moments of creative productivity.

Both groups of people are completely wrong. Authors write books for one, and only one, reason: because we like to torture people.

I also love Alcatraz Versus the Evil Librarians because of the underlying message about the importance of intellectual freedom. Any book that is both funny and gets kids to think about censorship gets my highest recommendation. In particular, I’d suggest it to fans of Harry Potter, Artemis Fowl, and Percy Jackson.

Here are some more great quotes from Alcatraz Versus the Evil Librarians:

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.

Neither my mother nor my dog dies in this book. I’m rather tired of those types of stories. In my opinion, such fantastical, unrealistic books—books in which boys live on mountains, families work on farms, or anyone has anything to do with the Great Depression—have a tendency to rot the brain. To combat such silliness, I’ve written the volume you now hold—a solid, true account. Hopefully, it will help anchor you in reality.

So, when people try to give you some book with a shiny, round award on the cover, be kind and gracious, but tell them that you don’t read “fantasy,” because you prefer stories that are real. Then come back here and continue your research on the cult of evil Librarians who secretly rule the world.

I apologize for that last chapter. It was far too deep and ponderous. At this rate, it won’t be long before this story departs speaking of evil Librarians, and instead turns into a terribly boring tale about a lawyer who defends unjustly accused field hands.

What do mockingbirds have to do with that, anyway?

Rating: 5 out of 5 Stars | Publisher: Scholastic Paperbacks | Pages: 320 | Source: Purchased | Buy on Amazon

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