Genre: Juvenile Fantasy
Page Count: 308
Publication Date: Oct. 1, 2007
Why I read it: I like the author
A hero with an incredible talent...for breaking things. A life-or-death mission...to rescue a bag of sand. A fearsome threat from a powerful secret network...the evil Librarians.
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.
Brandon Sanderson is one of my favorite authors. So I was curious to see what this childrens fantasy series would be like. I can't say I like it as well as his adult fantasy, but it was highly enjoyable for sure. It's written in the style as if the main character is writing his story, and there are a lot of instances of the character (as the author, or is it the author as the character?) talking to the reader. This type of thing can be done well or it can be incredibly annoying. Fortunately, it was done well and was very fun.
Alcatraz is a great character, and I think one that older children especially will love. The whole book is very clever and creative. Here's a quote that I particularly liked:
Now, actual torture is frowned upon in civilized society. Fortunately, the authorial community has discovered in storytelling an even more powerful--and more fulfilling--means of causing agony in others. We write stories. And by doing so, we engage in a perfectly legal method of doing all kinds of mean and terrible things to our readers.
Take, for instance, the word I used above. Propondity. There is no such word--I made it up. Why? Because it amused me to think of thousands of readers looking up a nonsense word in their dictionaries.
This is the writing style of the book, so if the above quote sound fun to you, you'll probably like it. If it seems annoying, steer clear. This is not a book for everyone. I would say that just because you enjoy Sanderson's adult fantasy does not mean you will like this. It's completely different in style. But if you like silly, fun children's fantasy, or you're looking for something fun for your kids to read, this is a great choice.