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Alcatraz #1: Alcatraz Versus the Evil Librarians Hardcover – October 1, 2007

109 customer reviews

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We're in the wrong book! by Richard Byrne
"We're in the wrong book!" by Richard Byrne
When a potato sack race goes awry, Bella and Ben find themselves bumped from their familiar page into uncharted territory. It's a brave new world of lollipops and sphinxes?and Bella and Ben are on one page-turning adventure. Learn more | See related books

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Editorial Reviews


Praise for Brandon Sanderson's adult debut, Elantris (Tor 2005):

"Elantris is the finest novel of fantasty to be written in many years. Brandon Sanderson has created a truly original world of magic and intrigue, and with the rigor of the best science fiction writers he has made it real at every level. What makes this novel unforgettable, however, is the magnificent characters he has created." --Orson Scott Card

STAR "smoothly written, perfectly balanced narrative; by the end readers won't want to put it down. As the blurb from Orson Scott Card suggests, Sanderson is a writer to watch." --PW

About the Author

Brandon Sanderson is the author of the Mistborn Trilogy and Elantris, which Orson Scott Card called "the finest novel of fantasy to be written in many years." Alcatraz Smedry Versus the Evil Librarians is Brandon's first book for kids. He writes and plays with swords in Provo, Utah.

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Product Details

  • Age Range: 8 - 12 years
  • Grade Level: 3 - 7
  • Lexile Measure: 730L (What's this?)
  • Series: Alcatraz (Book 1)
  • Hardcover: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Scholastic Press; First Edition edition (October 1, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 9780439925501
  • ISBN-13: 978-0439925501
  • ASIN: 0439925509
  • Product Dimensions: 8.1 x 6.2 x 1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (109 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #183,393 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

I'm Brandon Sanderson, and I write stories of the fantastic: fantasy, science fiction, and thrillers.

January 2015 marks the release of Firefight, the sequel to Steelheart. When only evil people gain super powers and become tyrants, it's up to normal people to hunt them down. There is a free 5-chapter preview ebook of Steelheart here on Amazon that you should check out, with a corresponding sampler audiobook on Audible. My Firefight book tour in the US lasts throughout January.

Recent short releases are Legion: Skin Deep (sequel to Legion), the further investigations of an average man whose many hallucinations are all experts in their own fields, and also my novella Sixth of the Dusk, set in the same universe as Mistborn and Stormlight, revolving around an attack on an island trapper's way of life.

My biggest recent epic fantasy is Words of Radiance, written as a love letter of sorts to the epic fantasy genre. It continues the story of the Stormlight Archive that began in The Way of Kings, and it's the type of book I always dreamed epic fantasy could be. October 2015 and January 2016 will also see the release of two new Mistborn books, Shadows of Self and Bands of Mourning.

Mistborn and the Stormlight Archive are among my most popular works, as are my concluding volumes to Robert Jordan's epic series The Wheel of Time. My novella The Emperor's Soul won a Hugo Award in 2013. That year also marked the release of my first young adult fantasy, The Rithmatist.

Sample chapters from all of my books are available at -- and check out the rest of my site for chapter-by-chapter annotations, deleted scenes, and more.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

64 of 68 people found the following review helpful By Paul Christopher on September 7, 2007
Format: Hardcover
First off, I should say that in my mid twenties I am a little older than the target "reading level" of this book. However, that didn't stop me from thoroughly enjoying every word of it. I am a big fan of Brandon Sanderson, and am glad to see that his writing skill can equally please readers of all ages.

Alcatraz Versus The Evil Librarians is the most cleverly written book I have ever had the pleasure of reading. The precisely written narration is what I enjoyed the most. Each chapter, Alcatraz (the narrator) breaks away from the story, to talk to the reader from the voice of the author. These little sections are filled with really clever tidbits that on many occasions had me laughing out loud.

The story itself is entertaining as well. True to Sanderson's form, some of the characters have a special magical "talent" that they use in very creative ways. These talents are attributes that we might not normally see as an advantage, such as always arriving late, and tripping and falling in very dramatic ways. Sanderson also does a great job sheding new light on the world we live in by comparing it to a more advanced society where light bulbs are inferior to open flames (since lights can't set things on fire) and stairs are more advanced than elevators (because you get a work out climbing them).

This is a book that I think any kid will love, with the parents enjoying it equally as much.
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36 of 38 people found the following review helpful By Vanessa on October 9, 2007
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Alcatraz at first glance appears to be your typical teen-age boy, even if he's named after a world-famous prison. Being passed around the foster-care system hasn't helped his attitude much, though, and it seems that he brings it on himself with his terrible clutziness.

On his thirteenth birthday he gets a strange--and very old--package in the mail from his father (where is he? is he dead? is he alive? we don't know?) claiming that it contains Alcatraz's inheritance: a bag of sand. Mystified and sad, he decides to make himself some comfort food but accidentally catches the kitchen drapes on fire.

Then everything hits the fan: the sand is stolen, a man claiming to be his grandfather shows up, his foster mother wants to kick him out of the house, and a man with a gun threatens his life. Not a great way to spend a birthday, if you ask me.

But, oh, what hilarity ensues. What's great about Sanderson's stuff is that it's beyond the typical fantasy-epic-journey type story like you'd find in Paolini or MacHale. Almost the entire story takes place at the downtown library, where things aren't always what they seem. And nothing is off-limits: Sanderson makes fun of everything and it's just plain funny. Exceedingly silly, but funny for kids and grown-ups.

The characters are fun, and even the antagonists turn out to be complex people. Alcatraz in particular is an interesting character who struggles with his accident-prone nature, until he learns it's a 'Talent' (his grandfather's Talent is arriving late to's so funny, but it works!). He's convinced he's a bad kid, but it gets harder for us to believe it as the story progresses, and even he seems to change his mind a little near the end.
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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful By Mathachew on April 9, 2011
Format: Mass Market Paperback Verified Purchase
Below is an excerpt of my full review of the first four books in the Alcatraz series:

This review goes in line with that of the Alcatraz series, more specifically the attitude of a Smedry. You see, they are trouble makers, and are prone to getting themselves into life threatening situations. They have an uncharacteristic attitude when dealing with any situation. The more danger, the more excited they are. Through thick and thin, Smedry's are rarely to be found with a sour mood. They are bubbly, charismatic, bold, audacious, and have a knack for getting themselves into trouble. Wait, I said that did I not? Gack! You see, I imitating a number of characters found in this book. Granpa Smedry, Alcatraz, talking dinosaurs. Yes, you read correctly, talking dinosaurs with a British accent, and as we know, those Brits are refined, calm, and well-mannered; dinosaurs are no exception! They really know how to cause trouble for Librarians, like eating the entire C section of the Science Fiction shelf and moving six books out of their proper places. Okay, so maybe they are useless as Bastille said... The only thing worse than talking dinosaurs are talking rocks, but I tell you, the dinosaurs are a treat! To round off this paragraph, I leave you this quote from Grandpa Smedry if you think I am making any of this up:

I am a Smedry, and we do ridiculous, unexpected, eccentric things like this all the time.

The Alcatraz series is a tremendously fun read. My friend that recommended Mistorn and Elantris did not bother giving these books a shot because of their young adult emphasis, despite being a lover of Sanderson's work. Aspiring Asimovs, what a horrible reason! Lots of fun, many laugh out loud moments, tons of humor and wit, with a great story to boot!
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Heather H. Stephenson on January 15, 2012
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Whoever rated this book 1 star is lying to you. Alcatraz vs. the Evil Librarians is an amazing book, and whoever tells you otherwise is a librarian or an idiot. This book has all of the components of a good plot, and is funny and engaging. Keep reading the other books too, it gets even better! Overall, the characters have depth, the story is engaging, and Alcatraz should be given all the book awards in the world. Rutabaga. oh, by the way, this is heathers son.
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