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Alcatraz versus the Evil Librarians (Alcatraz, No. 1)

Alcatraz versus the Evil Librarians (Alcatraz, No. 1)
Author: Brandon Sanderson
ISBN 13: 9780439925525
ISBN 10: 439925525
Edition: Reprint
Publisher: Scholastic Paperbacks
Publication Date: 2008-11-01
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Pages: 320
List Price: $6.99

Alcatraz Smedry doesn't seem destined for anything but disaster. On his 13th birthday he receives a bag of sand, which is quickly stolen by the cult of evil Librarians plotting to take over the world. The sand will give the Librarians the edge they need to achieve world domination. Alcatraz must stop them...by infiltrating the local library, armed with nothing but eyeglasses and a talent for klutziness.

Alcatraz's ability to break things, he soon learns, is actually a Talent. Alcatraz must learn to use his Talent as he goes after the sands with a team of resistors, including Grandpa Smedry (Talent: "I have the ability to arrive late to things"...including arriving late to pain, or to his own death), Sing Smedry (Talent: "I can trip and fall to the ground"...avoiding injury in surprise attacks), Quentin Smedry (Talent: "I can say things that make absolutely no sense whatsoever"...if captured, he speaks nonsense instead of spilling secrets), and Bastille (a girl Alcatraz's age, who is a knight charged with protecting Grandpa Smedry. Bastille has no Talent, but she's got spunk, skill, and spark to spare). Together they must defeat a Dark Oculator and retrieve the magical lenses smelted from the sand, which allow Alcatraz to read The Forgotten Language, a previously indecipherable text—including a message from his long-lost father, who may not be dead after all...

Publishers Weekly

McWade's boyish voice and knack for nailing a frequent tongue-in-cheek tone aren't enough to elevate this adaptation of a frenzied fantasy to enjoyable listening status. 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. But these elements come embedded in a text that depends on a series of asides to lampoon writing styles and devices of better-known works. Unfortunately, the asides continually refer to "reading" and "pages," when care might have been taken to suit them to the listener's perspective. Those wanting a linear tale are out of luck, although the snarkier set, among them Lemony Snicket fans, may want to hang on for the ride. Ages 9-up. Simultaneous release with the Scholastic hardcover (Reviews, Nov. 19, 2007). (Nov.)

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