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Alcatraz Versus the Evil Librarians (Alcatraz, #1)
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Alcatraz Versus the Evil Librarians (Alcatraz #1)

3.86 of 5 stars 3.86  ·  rating details  ·  9,896 ratings  ·  1,628 reviews
A hero with an incredible talent... for breaking things. A life-or-death mission... to rescue a bag of sand. A fearsome threat from a powerful secret network... the evil Librarians.

Alcatraz Smedry doesn't seem destined for anything but disaster. On his 13th birthday he receives a bag of sand, which is quickly stolen by the cult of evil Librarians plotting to take over the
Audiobook, Unabridged, Audible Edition, 7 pages
Published August 5th 2011 by Recorded Books (first published October 1st 2007)
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Tamara Nelson-Fromm Totally. Even if you don't love it it's really short and funny anyways.
Bethany I didn't like it much--I actually ended up not finishing it. It depends on your reading interests, though. You might like it if you liked A Series of…moreI didn't like it much--I actually ended up not finishing it. It depends on your reading interests, though. You might like it if you liked A Series of Unfortunate Events.(less)

Community Reviews

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For the record: listened to this one on audio.

This book is what you'd expect from Sanderson. Good story. Nice rapid plot. An interesting well-orchestrated cosmology. And a cool magic system that's central to the story.

Two things of special note:

1. Unlike most of Sanderson's other work, this book is aimed at a YA audience. I still enjoyed it. But if you're looking for a grim, 800-page tome, this isn't it.

2. This book is fairly meta, especially for YA. It's first person, but the narrator regula
Franco  Santos
"It looks... dangerous," I said.
"Well, of course," Bastille said. "It's a library."
Gran libro de Sanderson. Tiene un ritmo rápido, mucho humor y, por supuesto, una trama muy original. En este el autor aborda el verdadero lugar del poder, en dónde reside en realidad, y lo importante que es la información para nuestro comportamiento: cómo todo se reduce a cuán informada está una sociedad o un individuo. Es decir, quien controla la información, maneja al pueblo. Muy interesante planteo de Sanders
I'm so bummmed....I've been wanting to read this book since I first heard about it about a year ago. I really wanted to like it because:

1. it's got a great title
2. I've met the author and think he's delightful and a nice guy to boot
3. children's literature is due another winner
4. did I mention I really like the title?
5. the bits I'd read seemed good
6. the concept held promise
7. (I don't really have a seventh reason, but the number 6 seemed icky to end on. Seven has such strength and balance that
I'm shelving this as "fantasy" because, well... I don't want to call the attention of the Librarians down upon my head. They're mean and will probably try to kill me for letting the cat out of the bag. This book was banned, and for good reason. Hopefully, they'll just look at the shelf tags, and not the actual review. I don't want to be silenced.

Alcatraz Smedry (writing as some "Brandon Sanderson" guy as a cover) tells his story, and quite a story it is. Librarians have been keeping us all in t
Nov 02, 2008 Kathryn rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: anyone looking for a zany and slightly philosophical look at a world ruled by evil Librarians!
We met Brandon Sanderson at a book reading/signing yesterday. Such fun! He seemed very nice and thoroughly excited about his creations. Younger than I'd expected and also very "normal" but fun. Most people were there for his other (adult fantasy) books and the majority of the Q&A revolved around his taking over the "Wheel of Time" series now that its original author has passed away. I think, for this reason, he was extremely excited when we showed up with a copy of "Alcatraz" for him to sign ...more
[5 Stars] This one is a bit of an acquired taste! I loved it, but beware because this one might annoy you if you are not familiar with Sanderson's sense of humor!
Duffy Pratt
I was a little disappointed. I love the name of this book, and in my opinion, other Sanderson books aren't too far away from Young Adult, especially the Mistborn series. So I didn't expect as much pandering and condescension as there is here. Mostly, this felt to me like an awkward mash-up of the set-up of Harry Potter, the narration of Lemony Snickett, and the slightly annoying voice of Percy Jackson.

And it felt to me like Sanderson was not comfortable in this vein, and trying too hard, especi
Oct 24, 2009 Shannon rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Shannon by: Bekah Truss
Shelves: youngadult
I'm pretty stingy with my star ratings. So does Alcatraz really deserve five stars? It does. It truly does. My husband got this book from the library because we had each read another Brandon Sanderson book (Elantris) and enjoyed it. When he brought it home from the library, I recognized the cover. My 8 year old had read it a few months ago. I wish she had told me then to read it! But I wonder if she really knew what a good book this was...

I loved this book for several reasons:

1) A disarmingly ho
I'm reading this out loud to my son. I'm not sure why I'm doing it. Oh yeah, I decided I would start reading first chapters to him to get him interested in books. He wanted to make my reading out loud a nightly tradition. Oh, and this is the first book he wanted me to read. (A friend loaned it to him.) I think the only reason it appealed to him was that the word "Alcatraz" was in the title and he is fascinated by anything that has to do with Alcatraz Island. This book is not about Alcatraz Islan ...more
I was hooked from the first sentence. Not many books start with "So, there I was, tied to an altar made from outdated encyclopedias, about to get sacrificed to the dark powers by a cult of evil Librarians." I've had several career goals in my life; two of the most enduring have been to be a librarian and to be a Disney villain. This true story (published as young adult fiction to avoid the censors) helped me realize that my dream of combining the two is closer than I thought.

This delightful book
Sara Shreve
I really wanted to like this book, and at times there were glimmers of hope for it, but in the end it just didn't work. I didn't mind the narrator's crushing negativity and over-the-top sarcasm. I can see how those might appeal to Sanderson's target audience of middle school boys. What I never managed to understand was why he didn't try any harder to write and interesting and compelling book instead of a book whose only impetus seems to be selling sequels and getting a movie deal. However, the b ...more
Kevin Xu
I found the narration a little slow because the main character, who was narrating the book always had to go back and correct himself. But the biggest problem that I have is that there is only two locations in the book, the main character's house and the library, which the fact of getting from point A to point B felt like seconds. Overall this book is like a Disney Channel original movie.

The only reason that I read this book and rated it four stars was because it was written by Brandon Sanderson,
Hilarious! Don't be discouraged by the horrendous cover art, it's okay. You should really pick this up.
Wouldn't it be fun if I gave my review entirely by way of comparison to Harry Potter? I thought so too! Here we go.

Category 1 - comedy
This book is much funnier than Harry Potter. The constant editorial interruptions are sometimes exasperating but always funny, and I laughed out-loud several times. Very funny.

Category 2 - characterization
All but the main character in this book are mostly quirky caricatures rather than fully-realized people. Even the main character only sort-of comes into focus
The Gwinnette County Public library's copy of "Alcatraz Versus the Evil Librarians" mysteriously showed up in my mailbox a few days ago. I hadn't ordered it, nor had my husband or anyone else I asked. I started listening as soon as I could (around eruptions of child care) and, by the end of the first disk I was beginning to wonder if I was in store for a visit from Grandpa Smedry.

Turns out a dear friend sent me a copy and didn't let me know it was coming. Still, of any book that could come unex
Dec 18, 2008 Ann rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Ann by: Katie and Tyler
What an incredibly delightful book!
A fast-paced, easy-to-read, first person account of Alcatraz Smedry, a foster kid who has a knack for breaking things. But we soon learn that this "knack" is really a Talent - a Smedry Talent - and powerful one at that!
Alcatraz's world is turned upside down (or maybe right-side up) when he learns that the world we live in (the world of the Hushlanders) is actually run by evil librarians from the Free Kingdoms (where they know the truth...). Alcatraz must help
Book Concierge
From the book jacket - Alcatraz Smedry has an incredible talent for breaking things; he’s hardly a hero. But he receives a bag of sand on his thirteenth birthday, and his life takes a bizarre turn. This is no ordinary bag of sand, and it is quickly stolen by the cult of evil Librarians who are taking over the world by spreading misinformation and suppressing truth. Alcatraz must stop them! … by infiltrating the local library, armed with nothing but eyeglasses and a talent for klutziness.

My react
Sarah BT
I don't normally do full reviews for Tween Tuesday, but I loved this book and I have to tell everyone about it! I'm so glad I picked this one up for my children's lit class-it's been one of my favorite reads all semester.

Brandon Sanderson fills his book with lots of action, lots of humor and lots of snark, which makes this a perfect read for all ages. It's action-packed with the story really taking off in the first couple of chapters. None of that spending pages and pages setting up the story-
Pixie Dust
This is a children’s novel, written by one of my favourite fantasy writers. If there were more children’s books like this, I think more kids would be interested in reading.

Deliriously wacky, yet entirely internally consistent (as Sanderson’s magic systems always are), the novel is both entertaining and educational at the same time. Entertaining because of the humour on every page, educational because the book – although targeted at children – is surprisingly self-reflexive about the writing proc
One of the chapters in this book (I believe it was chapter ten) began with the question, "Are you annoyed yet?" I had to sigh. Sometimes authors should not ask questions like this of their readers.

Yes, I was annoyed with the book. I found the first person narrative annoying, especially when Alcatraz would talk to the reader. I thought it interrupted the flow of the story and detracted rather than added anything to it. It was annoying that he continually told the reader what a bad person he was.
Just to add to my review below...I just finished this today and I loved it. What a great book for middle-grade boys but also for any one who loves a really creative read. Honestly. I thoroughly enjoyed it. The narrator Alcatraz is just so off the wall. It reminded me a bit of Artemis Fowl, but even more so. Very unique. I can't wait for the sequal!

This author was at the conference I attended also - he usually writes epic fantasies (He was chosen to finish Robert Jordan's Wheel of Time series), b
Alcatraz Versus the Evil Librarians (Alcatraz, #1) by Brandon Sanderson (2007)
Genre: Fiction
Format: Audiobook
Plot summary: On his thirteenth birthday, foster child Alcatraz Smedry receives a bag of sand which is immediately stolen by the evil Librarians who are trying to take over the world, and Alcatraz is introduced to his grandfather and his own special talent, and told that he must use it to save civilization.
Considerations or precautions for readers advisory (strong language, sex, death, re
To rate or not rate this book. By doing so I can only assume that I am alerting the librarians to my knowledge of their conspiracy and evil plans. Since you are reading this you can assume I chose to chance it, even though I may now end up on an alter of books, surrounded by water filled with sharks with razor sharp teeth awaiting to be sacrificed.

I think the best way to describe this memoir is delightfully ridiculous. It has fantastic writing that is fun not only for children, but for adults as
I really liked this book. I usually don't like the writing style of addressing the reader with comments, but most the time it was so humorous I didn't mind. It reminds me of the style used in writing The Princess Bride. The basic story is very typical (orphan boy learns he can do magic, is practically royalty or both) but it has a couple of twists. The "magic" in the book is so creative and different it made me laugh all throughout. Its light-hearted, quick read, and looks like the first in a se ...more
Mark Baker
On his thirteenth birthday, Alcatraz gets a package from his long dead parents - sand. But that's not the strangest thing as his life takes some wild and crazy turns in this alternative reality book for kids. And it's a wild ride of laughs and adventure. I loved every minute of it and can't wait to read more.

Read my full review at Carstairs Considers.
This for sure is one of the funniest books I've read this year, seriously.
I kept myself laughing out loud so much, specially at the beginning of each chapter.
Brandon Sanderson is just a genius, there is no thing written by him this far that I don't love!
Michael Ramm
This is the first book in a young adult series by the great Brandon Sanderson. I read my first Sanderson book last year [[book:Mistborn: The Final Empire|68428] if you must know!] and I absolutely fell in love with it. Then I found out that Sanderson wrote a YA series, and I got this at our library for me and my 8YO son to read.

Alcatraz versus the Evil Librarians has many similarities to The Matrix. It is about a person who is just living his life not knowing that the life he is living has a sec
Nov 16, 2007 Susan rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: librarians! fans of funny fantasy
Shelves: booktalkers
Librarians rule the world 'cause they control the knowledge! What a concept. So far, this one has me laughing out loud!

Alcatraz suffers from terminal klutziness--little does he know that his clumsiness is really a "talent" characteristic of his family. On his 13th birthday he receives a mysterious package from his parents (he always assumed his parents were dead, since he has spent his life in foster homes--until he breaks something, anyway). The package contains a bag of sand (which gets stole
Ok, I will admit to this: I laughed at the Star Wars joke on the last page, I liked the trick used to defeat the bad guy, and I was intrigued by how the author moved away from the 'dead mother' cliche. And yes, dinasours instantly become more interesting with British accents.

Other than those four points, I think the book was awful. Bad writing. Clunky narration. Annoying characterization. Cliche after horrible pun after bad joke after mockery of all things literary. The author smugly and condesc
Dec 24, 2007 Trina rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: everyone interested in knowing about the evil plot by librarians to rule the world
I now understand: Alkatraz Smedry is trying to save us all from a plot by the Evil Librarians to rule the world and keep all the magic in it for themselves.

Alkatraz is a great hero with a wonderful talent for breaking things, but he has been brought up by foster families in Inner Libraria who are unable to appreciate him.

When he receives his inheritance (a bag of sand), his life begins to get more exciting. An evil case worker steals the sand, Grandpa Smedry arrives (late, as usual) and off th
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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 that you should check out, with a corresponding sampler audiobook on Audible. The Firefight book tour in the US lasts throughout January.

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More about Brandon Sanderson...

Other Books in the Series

Alcatraz (5 books)
  • Alcatraz Versus the Scrivener's Bones (Alcatraz, #2)
  • Alcatraz Versus the Knights of Crystallia (Alcatraz, #3)
  • Alcatraz Versus the Shattered Lens (Alcatraz, #4)
  • The Dark Talent (Alcatraz, #5)
The Final Empire (Mistborn, #1) The Way of Kings (The Stormlight Archive, #1) The Well of Ascension (Mistborn, #2) The Hero of Ages (Mistborn, #3) Elantris (Elantris, #1)

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“You see, that is the sad, sorry, terrible thing about sarcasm.

It's really funny.”
“By now, it is probably very late at night, and you have stayed up to read this book when you should have gone to sleep. If this is the case, then I commend you for falling into my trap. It is a writer's greatest pleasure to hear that someone was kept up until the unholy hours of the morning reading one of his books. It goes back to authors being terrible people who delight in the suffering of others. Plus, we get a kickback from the caffeine industry...” 1146 likes
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