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The Dark Talent

(Alcatraz Versus The Evil Librarians #5)

4.10  ·  Rating details ·  5,024 ratings  ·  656 reviews
Alcatraz Smedry has successfully defeated the army of Evil Librarians and saved the kingdom of Mokia. Too bad he managed to break the Smedry Talents in the process. Even worse, his father is trying to enact a scheme that could ruin the world, and his friend, Bastille, is in a coma. To revive her, Alcatraz must infiltrate the Highbrary–known as The Library of Congress to Hu ...more
Hardcover, 281 pages
Published September 6th 2016 by Starscape
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Ariel No. There will be a 6th book, we just don't know when it'll come out…moreNo. There will be a 6th book, we just don't know when it'll come out(less)

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Sep 15, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: fantasy
Right after the events of the previous book Alcatraz is forced to go all-out on the biggest stronghold of the Evil Librarians: the Library of Congress in Washington, DC.
Library of congress
He is accompanied by a ragtag and very small team of his relatives mostly. Including one very evil Librarian. Hilarity ensures?

The first half of the book was better than I expected. It was actually funnier than the whole previous installment, so I had my hope Sanderson found his funny bone again. The second part stopped being fu
Helen 2.0
The tales we tell ourselves these days always seem to need a happy ending... Is it because the Librarians are protecting us from stories with sad endings? Or is it something about who we are, who we have become as a society, that makes us need to see the good guys win?

4.5 stars. A very Sandersonesque (that's a word!) finish to a fun series, complete with twists and crazy action and just the right amount of silliness.

While some of the earlier installments where so packed with dumb humor and
Originally reviewed at Bookwraiths .

My rating is 3.5 stars.

Other reviewers have already voiced it, and I am going to chime in with them: Wow, that got really dark, really quick. By that, I mean, the conclusion of The Dark Talent, the latest volume in the Alcatraz series. What had been a rather silly, fun-filled romp up until this point turned suddenly into a fairly depressing story. I know that sounds improbable, but it is true.

I suppose frequent readers should not have been surprised by this t
Eon ♒Windrunner♒
4.5 Stars

The usual excellent storytelling from Mr. Sanderson – this book was great fun even though it followed on from the darker tone of the previous book. I was thoroughly enjoying it and then came the ending. Gak!

Well he warned us and he warned us and he warned us. We were extremely forewarned. And yet I did not fully believe. He had cried wolf so many times that I ignored it. And then came the wolf. And then there were the acknowledgements and the footnotes and the about the author and I jus
Aug 11, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: middle-grade
Updated Review: So I originally read the arc that was provided to me from the publisher, but then they sent me the final copy which got to me today. I for some reason decided to reread the latter part of the book and have decided to up my rating for reasons. Shocking Sandersons. Yes!!

Original Rating: 4 Stars
And original review:
So until the last three chapters, I absolutely loved it. Incredibly funny and fast-paced. I loved the footnotes and the pop culture references. I don't mind the ending t
Mogsy (MMOGC)
4 of 5 stars at The BiblioSanctum

Edit: Holy crap. HOLEEE CRAP. The following review was based on the ARC, but I just got my finished copy from the publisher, and I just saw the little "note" that was added at the end of the final hardcover. My original rating stands because I still feel the same way for the most part, but I'm not going to lie, this does change things somewhat. I'm feeling a lot more positive about the ending now. Read it, and you will see
Robin (Bridge Four)
The Alcatraz series is what happens when an Author’s inner critic gets to be the voice of the book and make fun of said author.
Brandon Sanderson is the fake author of these books, the name Alcatraz publishes them under to keep the Librarians from realizing that the books are real. Alcatraz has it on good authority that that while there was once a real Brandon Sanderson, he was executed for take too much time to write the 5th book of a series-and then doing something horrible at the endin
TS Chan
Mar 23, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
And Sanderson pulls it off again!
Do not read the link until you have finished this book.


Wow! After being exposed to so many of Brandon Sanderson's books, I didn't expect to be taken so completely by surprise (again). I expect some twists that's for sure but the ending of this book was not anticipated. The ridiculous humour is still there but this book is dark, especially for one targeted at the MG audience.

All I can say is tha
Marnie  (Enchanted Bibliophile)
Alcatraz: "I’ve now figured out how to use footnotes.*"

First Sentence: So there I was, standing in my chambers on the day before the world ended, facing my greatest adversary to date.

I love how these books put a smile on my face every single time I read them!
Alcatraz just lifts my spirit - now matter what! Having a bad few days this was the best medicine I could have ask for.

*I really hope Bastille keeps her promise...
(view spoiler)
Eric Allen
Well... that got dark. Like seriously, disturbingly dark. The Alcatraz series has always been a sort of lighthearted mishmash of writing advice, snark, satire, ridiculousness, genre blending, and genre bending, and genre backflips through double hoops while singing the Star Spangled Banner, that's both somewhat educational and very entertaining. Pretty much good wholesome fun for kids and adults both. But man, this one took a pretty dark turn at the end, and didn't really have the same feel to i ...more
Dec 27, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-in-2018
“This is where the story stops being funny. You’ve been warned.”

Don't take this warning as another one of Alcatraz's funny jokes! I did and didn't even consider it might be the real deal so I wasn't prepared to face it when it hit.

The story turned too dark and too depressing too soon and despite the funny puns, it still managed to leave me with a general feeling of despondency. This is my least favorite of the series so far and I sure as hell hope Brandon (sorry - Alcatraz) will make it right a
A.L. Sowards
My kids don’t have school tomorrow, so I let them stay up a little past bedtime and we finished this book together. Here’s how it went:

Sadness at events in the book.

Some comfort at a few of the twists in the last two pages.

The end.

“Mom, can you order book six?”

“It’s not out yet.”


Yeah, it’s kind of a cliffhangerish ending. Reminds me a little of The Empire Strikes Back in that regard. There are some losses and the bad guys seem to have the upper hand. But there is also a little bit of
Joanne G.
Sep 26, 2016 rated it it was ok
Shelves: fantasy, b-library
I read the first four Alcatraz books and waited patiently for the promised ending. Mr. Sanderson had to get the publishing rights reverted to himself before finishing the series, so readers have had a nearly ten-year wait from the first book to last. Or, at least, I thought it was the last book that would finally give me the conclusion to Alcatraz Smedry's battle against the evil librarians.

The first four books were written for 12-year-old boys and those who love them. They're silly, over the t



But they changed the covers. Not that the covers for the first 4 books were beautiful, but now they won't even match. And this is worse, artistically speaking. Well, maybe not. But I had gotten used to the hideousness of the old covers.

Kira Blake
Sep 16, 2016 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Darci Cole
Oct 18, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition

I feel extremely privileged to have beta-read Alcatraz 5, and may I just say to all you fans, it is WELL worth the wait.

They're going to re-release the first four novels with all new cover art this year, and book 5 will come out in the fall. I really hope the fans can shout about these so they get some attention, because they deserve it. Book 5 made me laugh (of course), and cry, and want to throw my laptop across the room at times. But it was so well done and absolutel
Cori Reed
Sep 26, 2017 rated it really liked it
This is a great series, middle grade or not. I think if you are a fan of Brandon Sanderson's adult fiction, you'll still appreciate this brand of humour. ...more
Sep 22, 2016 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy
Why, oh why Sanderson? Why do you suck so badly in endings? I didn’t like it how Mistborn trilogy came to an end, I also disliked how you finished Steelheart trilogy. Alcatraz pentalogy bears the same flaws. Your journeys are always better than the way they conclude, for some reason.
There were some recognizable things that I loved from before: weird and funny Alcatraz language, cool chapter names ( I love it how he says he lets his chapters name themselves), fast paced action. His experimenting
Rating: I'll-think-about-it stars

Do you want a series conclusion that rounds off the series nicely? One that answers all your lingering questions? One that has a satisfying ending where you can picture how the characters will continue their lives? Well, read literally any other book besides this one. I am not even joking. You could read book nine in Wheel of Time and it would provide you with more catharsis. I don't even know what to think.
C.P. Cabaniss
Nov 29, 2015 rated it it was amazing
This was fantastic. It's been a while since I read the first four, so events were a little fuzzy, but this made me laugh out loud. I love how Sanderson can make fun of himself in these, through Alcatraz who is constantly talking about how pointless fantasy novels are.

That ending. I actually kind of like how it ended. Sure it was darker than the others, but we were warned in the beginning. And that last note at the very end definitely opened up some interesting possibilities.

The characters were
I love this series and I'm really confused as to why it isn't a huge bestseller. I hope that the new editions will get more people swept up in it. I thought the old covers were cute, but the new covers are terrific and I love the addition of Hayley Lazo's interior art, she completely captures the characters and attitude and humor of the series. It was a great decision to include her illustrations and to re-issue the books before they FINALLY published this book. Lazo was discovered because of fa ...more
Tamara Nelson-Fromm
Jan 09, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Sep 23, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2016, fantasy, children-s
The Dark Talent is the fifth and latest book in Brandon Sanderson’s Alcatraz vs the Evil Librarians series. It comes after a gap of six years between book four and book five, but combined with the new editions of the first four books, it’s a perfect time to allow new readers to discover the series. The book delivers on the opening scene of the first book and, as such, closes off the arc in this quintet, but hopefully doesn’t signal the ending of Alcatraz’s story.

With each book the stakes were ra
Blamp Head
At one point or another, a rather old Greek man (who was very keen on imagining conversations but not nearly so keen on ever actually providing any answers) somehow managed to say something very relevant: “The price good men pay for indifference to public affairs is to be ruled by evil men.” Then again, this is the same man who gave us such gold as “I'm trying to think, don't confuse me with facts,” and “You smell funny and your face looks like a rutabaga**!” Okay, so I made up that last one.

Mar 10, 2018 rated it really liked it
not because of the ending, I just don't feel the book is impactful as the previous series. I long for the moral values of Alcatraz, and here, I don't get it (I think) besides he dwells in his parents relationship and roles. well, then, what will you do, Al, with that? what? I need more explanation, self-thought, self-deprecation, self-kookiness, or even footnotes.
nevertheless, the humour is always there and always precious for me. yeay for the independent chapter name, lol. the plot twists are
Aug 18, 2020 rated it it was amazing
That. Was. An. EPIC. Move.

I was warned by my cousin and aunt that they hated Sanderson after reading this novel. Perhaps it was the fact that I knew there would be sixth novel, but it is my favorite of them all. It's not very often that a novel has the guts and follow-through to actually live up to its promises. It's not very often that, in little under fifteen minutes, I sit back with my mouth wide open, looking fondly at my life before this book changed everything.

(Also, the author bio of thi
Jonathan Rader
May 16, 2018 rated it really liked it
This was a fun and intense entry to the Alcatraz series! I listened to the audio version over the past few months with my children on the days I took them to school. They loved it and I really enjoyed it. Looking forward to the next one!
Elin (Tickmicks bokblogg)
Jul 15, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
What the hell Sanderson???! You can't end a book like thaaaat!! How am I supposed to wait until December 31st??? 😭😭😭 ...more
Dahlia Quijano
Sep 20, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
My favorite part was when I found out who was back again...
Taylor Ramirez
Reread Review (Spoilers for the ~Entire~ Series):

Well, that was fucked up.


This first part of the book was fun and light hearted and then…sadness ensues…

*Long, drawn out sigh* Okay, why are the chapters numbers replaced with names?

“*People who use footnotes in boos are very smart, and you can trust what they say.”—Page 17

I’m sure.

NOW the Monarchs of various kingdoms are sending support. Wait, Grandpa Smedry is complaining about someone being too
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Fantasy Buddy Reads: Dark Talent [Dec 10, 2018] 6 31 Dec 12, 2018 11:17PM  
Alcatraz 5 Release Date 2 31 Sep 19, 2015 05:18PM  

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Brandon’s major books for the second half of 2016 are The Dark Talent, the final volume in Alcatraz Smedry’s autobiographical account of his battle against the Evil Librarians who secretly rule our world, and Arcanum Unbounded, the collection of short fiction in the Cosmere universe that includes the Mistborn series and the Stormlight
Archive, among others. This collection features The Emperor’s S

Other books in the series

Alcatraz Versus The Evil Librarians (6 books)
  • Alcatraz Versus the Evil Librarians (Alcatraz, #1)
  • Alcatraz Versus the Scrivener's Bones (Alcatraz, #2)
  • Alcatraz Versus the Knights of Crystallia (Alcatraz, #3)
  • Alcatraz Versus the Shattered Lens (Alcatraz, #4)
  • Bastille vs. the Evil Librarians: The Worldspire (Alcatraz, #6)

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