Friday, August 15, 2008

Alcatraz Versus the Evil Librarians by Brandon Sanderson

The fact that there are evil librarians in this book, and that they are a part of the title, made me want to read it more than anything else. The problem is that all of the librarians in the book seem to be evil. So that was disappointing.
The book starts out with Alcatraz Smedry, the main character and narrator of the story, turning 13 and receiving a mysterious gift from his long missing father. He has grown up in foster care, and so does not know what to do with this strange present. Then his grandfather shows up. As Alcatraz's world slowly falls apart, we discover that the world Alcatraz knows is fully controlled by a cult of evil librarians, who are keeping the world under their thumb by controlling the people's access to information. Alcatraz and some other members of the Smedry family go to rescue the Alcatraz's gift, which has been stolen by the librarians. They encounter all sorts of ridiculousness, which the others are used to, but Alcatraz finds incredible. Things like people-sized talking dinosaurs, cars that drive themselves, lenses that shoot lasers, and a map of the world (as it truly is) with a major continent in the middle of the Pacific Ocean, in between Asia and the Americas. All of these things and more are what the evil librarians are trying to keep away from the populations they control. The Smedry's find what they seek, but the book is definitely set up for sequels.
This was a fun read, and would be appropriate for older elementary age or younger teens. While it was fun, I also found it annoying, as the narrator has no respect for reading or libraries. But that is his character, and it is supposed to be funny. It just grated on my nerves a little bit. It's true that whoever controls information controls the world, which is why librarians support free and open access to all information. The idea that librarians could truly rule the world with evil intent is very amusing in itself.

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