Review: Brandon Sanderson – Alcatraz verses the Evil Librarians

Alcatraz verses the Evil Librarians
Brandon Sanderson

The Smedrys are blessed with Talents. Or cursed, depending on who you ask. Alcatraz Smedry has a powerful Talent that has meant that he has broken everything in his foster homes so far. When he receives a bag of sand for his birthday, this starts him on a quest with his very odd grandpa and a series of even odder cousins – with talents from falling to waking up ugly!

In these novels, Sanderson breaks all the writing conventions, especially the ‘fourth wall’. The author (Alcatraz) is writing these memoirs and is fully aware of how writers make novels and how to make readers cry out in anger! Particularly with meandering introductions to chapters or going off topic, or just generally being irritating. It’s a style of writing that is either going to drive you crazy or have you laughing out loud.

For example, in the fourth novel, Alcatraz versus the Shattered Lens, Alcatraz starts skipping chapters and labeling chapters odd things. He works his way through all of the writing conventions and mixes them around. He skips parts and pretends that the chapters just went missing!

Strangely for a Sanderson novel, I probably wouldn’t reread these ones urgently. I’m thinking I’m too old and jaded for these novels. I’m perfectly happy to accept writing conventions and roll with them. We all know how I feel about using stupid languages (see my scathing reviews of Munmun and Storm-Wake). I’m going to test them out on my 9.5 year old reader and see how she goes with them.

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