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Brandon Sanderson – Alcatraz Versus the Scrivener’s Bones

November 8, 2008

138. Alcatraz Versus the Scrivener’s Bones by Brandon Sanderson (2008)
Alcatraz Smedry, Book 2

Read my review of the first book, Alcatraz Versus the Evil Librarians.

Length: 322 pages

Genre: Young Adult Fantasy

Started: 02 November 2008
Finished: 02 November 2008

Alcatraz must find
his father without the bad
guys stealing his soul.

Summary: Several months have passed since Alcatraz’s daring infiltration of a Librarian stronghold, and he and his grandfather have become two of the most hunted men in the Hushlands. They’re in the process of evacuating to the Free Kingdoms, when Alcatraz decides to take a detour. He’s received some clues that his dead father may not be so dead after all, and Alcatraz is going looking for him in the last place he was known to be heading: the Library of Alexandria, where every scrap of knowledge ever written down is stored. The wraith-like Curators stalk the maze-like halls, encouraging visitors to check out any book they like – the only catch is that the cost for checking out a book is your soul! Now Alcatraz must find a way to get himself and his team out of the library with their souls and bodies intact – for they’re not only being hounded by Curators, but also hunted by a member of the Scrivener’s Bones – a cult of Librarians that use the darkest of Dark powers.

Review: Too funny! It’s often the case that sequels don’t quite have the impact of first novels, but Alcatraz Versus the Scrivener’s Bones manages to maintain the high levels of energy and snarky humor that characterized the first book, Alcatraz Versus the Evil Librarians. Of course, a little bit of the first-novel charm of having a new world to explore and new characters to meet has worn off by this point, but what this installment lacks in shiny new-book-itude, it makes up for with creative new plot twists, and with an increase in the maturity of the underlying message. Alcatraz has been thrust into the role of leader, and watching him struggle with it, at the same time he’s coping with his own history, family, and powers, is interesting to watch. Not to fear, though – this is about the polar opposite of a preachy, moralizing book, and any lessons that Alcatraz learns about himself are well-disguised with his trademark sardonic humor, gleeful observations about how ignorant we Hushlanders are, and constant protests about how much of a liar he is.

Is this book serious literature? I’ll let Alcatraz himself tackle that one:

Anyway, let’s talk about fantasy novels. First, you have to understand that when I say “fantasy novels,” I mean books about dieting or literature or people living during the Great Depression. Fantasy novels, then, are books that don’t include things like glass dragons, ghostly Curators, or magical Lenses.

I hate fantasy novels. Well, that’s not true. I don’t actually really hate them. I just get annoyed by what they’ve done to the Hushlands.

People don’t read anymore. And, when they do, they don’t read books like this one, but instead read books that depress them, because those books are seen as important. Somehow, the Librarians have successfully managed to convince most people in the Hushlands that they shouldn’t read anything that isn’t boring.

So, is it Serious Literature? No, but that’s all part of the great Librarian Conspiracy anyways. Is it incredibly fun, laugh-out-loud funny, and worth reading anyways? Absolutely. 4 out of 5 stars.

Recommendation: If you haven’t read Alcatraz Versus the Evil Librarians, don’t start on the second book – a bad habit that Alcatraz says “ranks somewhere between chewing with your mouth open and making quacking noises when your friends are trying to study.” But, if you need a little more fun in your life – and really, who doesn’t? – then this series is highly recommended.

**All quotes are from an uncorrected proof and may not reflect the final published text.**

This Review on LibraryThing | This Book on LibraryThing | This Book on Amazon

Links: Brandon Sanderson’s website

Other Reviews: I couldn’t find any, but it’s pretty newly-published. When you read it, leave a comment with the link and I’ll add it in.

First Line: So, there I was, slumped in my chair, waiting in a drab airport terminal, munching absently on a bag of stale potato chips.

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5 Comments leave one →
  1. November 8, 2008 6:38 am

    Lol. Love the quotes about boring literature. I’ve never seen the use of reading something “important” if you can’t enjoy it.

  2. November 8, 2008 5:05 pm

    Ladytink – Agreed. I feel like I should have this quote printed onto cards to hand out to everyone who looks down on genres like YA and fantasy for being “kiddie stuff” and “escapist” and therefore not worth their time. It might not be Serious Literature, but I feel like they’re cutting themselves off from a whole world of enjoyable reading.

  3. November 11, 2008 10:58 am

    One of my favorite quotes in the first book is similar to the one you quoted here. I’m glad this one is just as silly as the last. Sadly, my library just barely got the first one, so I may have to wait a while for the second…

  4. November 13, 2008 11:13 am

    KT – What’s the quote you like from the first one?

    I got lucky enough to pick this up on BookMooch, so you never know. If not, hopefully your library will get it sooner rather than later – it’s a fun read!

  5. Sarmad Talib permalink
    January 26, 2016 2:23 am

    Did anyone actually like the setting of the Library of Alexandria? I personally didn’t, and while I did enjoy the book, I felt that the setting could’ve been chosen better.

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