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Alcatraz #2: Alcatraz Versus the Scrivener's Bones Hardcover – November 1, 2008

33 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Grade 5–9—Alcatraz Smedry is back, and the action is just as nonstop, the librarians are just as evil, and the quips and asides (and outright lies) that the author insists on inflicting upon readers are just as omnipresent. Fortunately for the fans of Alcatraz Versus the Evil Librarians (Scholastic, 2007), these are all good things. On the run from a Scrivener's Bone, a half-human, half-machine assassin that has been sent to retrieve the Translator's Lenses that Alcatraz stole in the first book, the boy receives word that his father is in mortal danger in the Library of Alexandria. He and a crew of quirky relatives with odd but very useful Talents mount a daring and completely ludicrous rescue. Though some readers may find the author's non sequiturs and frequent interruptions in the narrative off-putting, those who enjoy their fantasy with a healthy dose of slapstick humor will be delighted. Give this novel to fans of Eoin Colfer's "Artemis Fowl" (Hyperion/Miramax) and Catherine Jinks's Cadel Piggott in Evil Genius (Harcourt, 2007). They will appreciate Sanderson's cheerful sarcastic wit and none-too-subtle digs at librarians.—Jane Henriksen Baird, Anchorage Public Library, AK
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

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.

Product Details

  • Age Range: 8 - 12 years
  • Grade Level: 3 - 7
  • Lexile Measure: 660L (What's this?)
  • Series: Alcatraz (Book 2)
  • Hardcover: 336 pages
  • Publisher: Scholastic Press; First Edition edition (November 1, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 9780439925532
  • ISBN-13: 978-0439925532
  • ASIN: 0439925533
  • Product Dimensions: 7.9 x 6.3 x 1.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (33 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #339,269 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

32 of 33 people found the following review helpful By Karra on October 14, 2008
Format: Hardcover
I have only two issues with Brandon Sanderson. Firstly, he should stop everything else he is doing and write more Alcatraz books. I like his adult fantasy, don't get me wrong, and I'm super excited about his finishing the Wheel of Time, but Alcatraz is better. Waaaay better. Someone with this kind of writing style and sense of humor should be writing young adult books. If you can get that many philosophy jokes into a book designed for 8-11 year olds effectively, and make it so darn funny that 35 year olds are checking for a sequel release date daily, you need to focus on them. These books are just a really really smart guy playing. He's doing the things he can't do with 'real' fiction, and I want MORE of it. It is perfectly designed, magnificently executed, and quite frankly the funniest books I've ever read. (including Christopher Moore- and that's saying a lot) The sequel, although not quite as good as the first book, is still the kind of book you annoy other people endlessly while reading. You MUST read these books.

The only other issue that I have is that the covers for the Paperback Alcatraz vs the Evil Librarians, and The Scrivener's Bones are atrocious. They do not at all represent the nature of the books. As a bookseller who is constantly trying to hand-sell these books, the covers are not helping me. Please get a new illustrator.
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8 of 8 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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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer VINE VOICE on May 19, 2012
Format: Hardcover
The Evil Librarians are back and Alcatraz Smedry is on the run again. Alcatraz is patiently (kind of) waiting for his grandfather to contact him while sitting in an airport (why? They aren't staying within the Hushlands!) when he suddenly notices that he's not the only Oculator in the area. Thinking quickly, he dashes into the men's room evading the dual teams of Evil Librarians and the Hushlands Police and Airport Security that they have recruited for their underhanded purposes, and slams both of his palms on the back wall of the restroom, dropping his backpack. Focusing, Alcatraz waits for his power to do its work...

Alcatraz Smedry has written is autobiography under the guise of fiction so as to confuse the Evil Librarians into spreading its word - as most of the information that they disseminate to the world is untrue and suited to their own purposes alone - his autobiography will unmask all of that.

Here the sect of the Scrivener's Bones, one of the six within the Evil Librarians, is trying to kill Alcatraz as he is on his way to his homeland when he finds out that his Grandpa Smedry has tracked down Alcatraz's father, who has been missing, to the Library of Alexandria. Destroyed? Yes, that is what the Evil Librarians WANT everyone to think so that the knowledge contained within is kept solely for their evil purposes, but we Smedrys know the truth - and we know where it is. Well, we know how to find it, that is. Now, finding Grandpa Smedry once we get there, that's another story. I mean, not really, but kind of - same book! But the Library of Alexandria can be quite dangerous, because believe me, knowledge is powerful - just ask the Evil Librarians (they'll lie, of course) - and therefore must be protected at all costs.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By A. Williams on February 13, 2010
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Another enjoyable installment in the "fictional" tales of Alcatraz Smedry. Here, Alcatraz must stomach a flight in a glass aircraft, attempt to rescue members of his family, and take on the Scrivener's Bones. Quite a lot, no? Additionally, Alcatraz must grow as a person, must decide if he wants to assume the leadership role that's been thrust upon him.

I thoroughly enjoyed the second Alcatraz book! The plot was interesting and fast paced, and the new characters were fun and unique. I even found myself contemplating topics nearing the whole "meaning of life" area (well, not quite to that extent, but a few times I did take pause and go, "huh, that's an interesting thought").

I'm not sure I was as captivated by this tale as the first, and I must admit that part of what I loved about the first book (the author's continual interruptions and ability to poke fun at the career of writing itself, etc.) is also what got a little annoying for me in this book. I still enjoyed it, of course, but I felt that it was overdone. The humor of a chapter ending with a cliff-hanger and the second starting with some rambling on a completely different topic, lost a little of its impact because it was employed so much (IMO, anyway). And, a few of the jokes were, IMO again, a little inappropriate (not in a rated PG-13 or R way or anything! Just, I found myself saying, "really? couldn't have picked something else there?") But, nothing got in the way of my overall enjoyment. Both Alcatraz books certainly offer a refreshing detour from typical narrative! And I do believe I'll be picking up a copy of book 3 in the near future! The story definitely has taken a more "epic" (for this style of book) turn.
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