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Alcatraz #4: Alcatraz Versus the Shattered Lens Hardcover – December 1, 2010
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Praise for Alcatraz Versus the Evil Librarians
"Sanderson unexpectedly draws everything together in an extravagantly silly climax. Readers whose sense of humor runs toward the subversive will be instantly captivated. Like Lemony Snicket and superhero comics rolled into one (and then revved up on steroids), this nutty novel... [is] also sure to win passionate fans." -Publishers Weekly, starred review
"This is an excellent choice to read aloud to the whole family. It's funny, exciting, and briskly paced. Best of all, the message it gives young readers is that a person's flaws-being late, breaking things, etc.-can sometimes turn into useful talents." -Nancy Pearl, National Public Radio
"The conventional trappings of the middle-school fantasy get turned upside down in this zany novel.... The adventures [are] engaging as well as silly. Readers who prefer fantasy with plenty of humor should enjoy entering Alcatraz's strange but amusing world." -School Library Journal
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I have the expander glass edition. I am on chapter 70706, but it really has been a quick read. The Way of the Kings is only 72 chapters long but have you seen the size of that book and it is in small print now. Thus a great tool of authors that "Brandon Sanderson" has learned is to break the same long story over lots of books. Look at Mistborn. Great story, lots of books and probably longer then both stormlight books. I have, am, reading Mistborn series but Stormlight sits on my shelf mocking me.
I also have learned also to combat evil authors such as "Brandon Sanderson". He tricked me with those other books like Mistborn and Reckoners by having picked those up early and waited patiently for the next book. But not this time you evil author, I learned about Alcatraz in 2016 so I did not have to wait for years for the books only a few more days for that last one. Actually that was just luck, because I'm still waiting for that next Mistborn book.
So why write a review early? Because it is the Smedry way, and I've read the last page so I know how the story ends. Although for some reason my Halo skills have dimished by roughly 45% for some reason. Plus it would be stupid to do it this way.
That right, stupid, and this book is that just so you know. I mean there are mispelling, things that do not make sense, and words between the pictures. And all of it makes this book great, just stupid.
I also have a theory that "Hayley Lazo" is none other then Bastille. Think about it, the pictures mock Alcatraz and paint Bastille in a good light. And most notes on the pictures in all the books are from Bastille and mocking. To make a theory I have to write it before I know if that is true so I clearly cannot finish a book completely just in case the answer is revealled.
As a "P.S.", Mr. "Brandon Sanderson" it is 2016 and so probably been a few years since telling your story, so if you want to continue it I am almost to the end so a book six is due now. Mistborn got it's second series, so I think it is only fair if we learn what has been happening these last few years. Thanks C.J. Bramlett
The Shattered Lens (2010) is the fourth book in Brandon Sanderson’s hilarious middle-grade series called ALCATRAZ VS THE EVIL LIBRARIANS. The first four books were originally published by Scholastic but Starscape (Tor’s young readers imprint) has recently re-issued the series in lovely hardback editions illustrated by Hayley Lazo. The long-awaited fifth volume, The Dark Talent, has also just been published by Starscape. They sent me all the books and they are gorgeous. My daughters love them and I’ve been recommending them to friends looking for gifts for young readers.
You need to start at the beginning of the ALCATRAZ series (with Alcatraz vs the Evil Librarians) to appreciate it properly. At this point in the story, Alcatraz and Bastille (who are both 13 years old) are going to the kingdom of Mokia to try to save it from a sect of the Evil Librarians known as The Shattered Glass. It’s going to be a tough fight because the librarians have an army of giant robots. Alcatraz will have to go up against his own evil mother and will have to make some big decisions that will affect a large number of people. He will have some help from the usual Smedry clan, including a newly met relative whose Smedry talent is that she’s bad at math.
As usual, Alcatraz’s story is extremely silly and far-fetched. Most of the minor characters are shallowly portrayed and you shouldn’t expect the sort of realism and believability that allows you to get lost in the story. I’m not sure, though, that the story is really the point. Instead, I suspect that Brandon Sanderson is using this series to engage children by including them in the writing process. The narrative is self-aware and metafictional — Sanderson never lets you forget he’s there. My 14 year old daughter found this delightful and we laughed together many times while reading The Shattered Lens.
For example, the chapter numbers are not in order. The book starts with Chapter 2 (which is about exploding teddy bears) because Alcatraz lost the first chapter. The next chapter is Chapter 6 because Chapters 3,4, and 5 are boring. There’s also a Chapter 8675309. (The chapters are done this way so that if a librarian reads Alcatraz’s book, their head will explode.) Alcatraz encourages his audience to act out the chapters as they read them, which is silly but funny, especially when he ends up running naked through a war zone and then, on the last page of the book, makes the readers who read the last page first punish themselves. It all sounds really juvenile, which it is, but there are plenty of jokes that adults will enjoy (such as the Princess Bride quotes), and parents will appreciate the way that Sanderson makes writing seem like so much fun.
At the end of The Shattered Lens, Alcatraz learns some important information about the Smedry talent and about both of his parents. He has a major shift in worldview and learns some important lessons in the process.
As I mentioned above, Starscape sent me the new hardback edition illustrated by Hayley Lazo. I loved it. But I also have a copy of the audio version (Recorded Books) read by Ramon De Ocampo which I also loved. I’m torn about which one to recommend if you’re (like most rational people) only willing to buy one copy. My preference is the audio, I guess, but if you don’t have the print version, you’ll miss the drawing of a psychopathic kitten carving a pumpkin…