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

4.6 out of 5 stars 42 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.

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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: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (42 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,135,963 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

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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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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Format: Mass Market Paperback Verified Purchase
I know Sanderson has made his reputation writing high fantasy for adults, but to my mind these YA books distinguish him as a singular talent.

They are funny, both on a slapstick level and a much drier and more subtle level. They are also fun, which is different from "funny". They are fun because they are cheerful, energetic, and don't at all take themselves seriously. They are entertaining. And, they are remarkably creative, in a sci-fi, fantasy, this book does not need to have a plot kind of way. The books are not a goof on sci-fi; they are not infected with irony and are not "send-ups".

I figure Sanderson's adult fantasy is so serious and so weighted with heavy themes that the Alcatraz books are a way for him to balance out his creative juices. Great for us.

This series is much better even than some editorial reviews and comments might lead you to believe. The emphasis on "zany" and "silly" and the comparisons to Lemony Snicket downplay the cleverness that sustains the books in this series.

While the series is pure fantasy, it does not fit into any common fantasy mold I know. No orcs, no object of power, no guiding old wizard, no "magic" of the abracadavera type. Rather, a hip hero with an ironic sensibility, some well drawn secondary characters and companions, an unusual quest object, odd but logically consistent and cleverly framed special powers and artifacts, and novel opponents, set this work apart.

This second installment follows the same pattern as the first. While we don't have the fun of first meeting the Smedry's that we had in the first book, we get more characters, lots of plot development, and a change of scene to the Great Library of Alexandria as compensation.
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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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