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Alcatraz Versus the Evil Librarians

(Alcatraz Versus The Evil Librarians #1)

3.90  ·  Rating details ·  22,927 ratings  ·  3,454 reviews
Alcatraz Versus the Evil Librarians is the first adventure in a fantasy series for young readers by the #1 New York Times bestselling author Brandon Sanderson. The fast-paced and funny series is now available in deluxe hardcover editions illustrated by Hayley Lazo.

On his thirteenth birthday, foster child Alcatraz Smedry gets a bag of sand in the mail-his only inheritance f
Hardcover, 308 pages
Published October 1st 2007 by Scholastic Press
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J Tohabath This entire series is mainly about questioning author/reader conventions in the format of a children's book. It's underrated, as far as I'm concerned,…moreThis entire series is mainly about questioning author/reader conventions in the format of a children's book. It's underrated, as far as I'm concerned, but understandably it isn't for everyone. Essentially, just give it a go. It's mostly harmless, and it has my recommendation.(less)
Silver - Have a great day, you're loved This book is about a boy names Alcatraz Smedry who breaks almost anything he touches. He's a foster child who's never known his parents, and all he ge…moreThis book is about a boy names Alcatraz Smedry who breaks almost anything he touches. He's a foster child who's never known his parents, and all he gets from them is his name and a bag of sand on his 13th birthday. This bag of sand leads to talking dinosaurs, a fighting friend with a deadly handbag, a crazy grandpa, and evil librarians who want to rule the world. It sounds ridiculous, and it is, and that's why it's such a great book! I can't ever stop laughing when I read it.(less)

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Average rating 3.90  · 
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 ·  22,927 ratings  ·  3,454 reviews

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Jan 11, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: audiobooks
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
Sep 07, 2016 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: fans of Artemis Fowl, Lemony Snicket
Also known as The Official Author's Notes for The Way of Kings.

Stay with me.

The first clue is in Chapter 2. "I've been many things in my life. Student. Spy. Sacrifice. Potted plant. However, at this point, I'm something completely different from all of those--something more frightening than any of them. I'm a writer."

He gives structural tips (and a hint as to his personality):
"You may have noticed that I began my story with a quick, snappy scene of danger and tension--but then quickly moved on t
Nov 11, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fantasy
Meet MC; his name is Al short for Alcatraz (it is not his fault the evil librarians use the most famous names of his dynasty for the most notorious prisons). The book starts with poor guy being tied to a bunch of outdated encyclopedias and is about to be sacrificed (Indiana Jones and the Tempe of Doom way) – say what you want about the evil librarians, but they sure got style.
Temple of Doom

Chronologically it all started innocently enough. Alcatraz was an orphan who was changing foster parents faster than yo
Mar 28, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Fans of Rick Riordan and Eoin Colfer

Heads up! Goodreads librarian agents might try to get this review taken down at any moment! They definitely don’t want me exposing all their secretly nefarious ways, but at long last, I give to you the truth:

Fact #1: This book is NOT written by Brandon Sanderson.

This is NOT “fantasy”. Don’t be fooled. It is written by Alcatraz Smedry—grandson of Oculator Dramatus, Leavenworth Smedry. His editor only made him use Sanderson’s name to keep away librarian attention. This is Alcat
TS Chan
Brandon Sanderson can write an instruction manual for a lawnmower and I’ll read it. (I actually have no reason at all to know how to use a lawnmower since I live in a high-rise condominium).

I only started reading the Alcatraz series after I’ve run out of Sanderson's adult and YA fantasy books to read, and these books quickly became bite-sized guilty pleasures on account of how hilarious and ridiculous they are.

In the Hushlands—those Librarian-controlled nations such as the United State
*** 4 ***

A buddy read with the young at heart folks at BBB!

This sucks!!! I had written a review, I had made it funny and adorable, as well as recommended this book not only to the middle graders for whom it was written, but also to all those who enjoy a fantastical adventure written with such wonderful flare and wit, that you have no choice but fall in love with it and wonder why the heck did you wait so long to get to this brilliant series!!!! I had written it, but somehow it has gotten lost i
Robin (Bridge Four)
Jul 12, 2016 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: of Rick Riordan and J.K. Rowling
On sale Sept 7 2016 on Amazon for $2.99

Buddy Read with Buddies Books and Baubles and the Sandersonitus gang.

Did you know that Librarians were evil??? I’ve always suspected but didn’t know just how deep the conspiracy went until I read this book.

What does a writer do when he needs to get the creative juices going and take a break from one of the many serious tombs he is writing? Well if he is Brandon Sanderson he writes something completely and utterly different and a bit silly and makes fun of
Jan 04, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition

Think Harry Potter only with evil Librarians but a lot better.

Although it’s obviously written for young readers, it was still entertaining for adults. The story was fast paced and very humorous. The characters are fun and relatable as far possible in this type of story. It’s a quick read and well worth it.

Perfect for kids. I think it would be a great bedtime story that parents could read with their kids. If anyone still does that.

J.L.   Sutton
Dec 30, 2017 rated it really liked it
Big fan of Brandon Sanderson. It's always interesting to think about the magic system Sanderson uses in whatever work you're reading. He always changes things up. Alcatraz Versus the Evil Librarians is no exception. In this fun read, Alcatraz's talent is his uncanny ability to break things. While this might not seem like part of a magical system at first, keep reading! I enjoyed the book and plan to get back to this series. But maybe after I read Oathbringer! ...more
Dana Ilie
Oct 15, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fantasy
Sanderson never disapoint, not even with a book for kids.
Mogsy (MMOGC)
5 of 5 stars at the BiblioSanctum

I’ve been a terrible Brandon Sanderson fan! Seriously, how else to explain for the many years it took me to finally read his Alcatraz series? Mea culpa, it was complete negligence on my part, and I am sorry. But in my own defense, these books do fall a little outside my purview. After all, very rarely do I dip my toes into the Children’s/Middle Grade category, and they did seem far removed from the author’s other work. By
Originally reviewed at Bookwraiths

The first adventure in the young adult fantasy series Alcatraz The Evil Librarians was one which I and my youngest son read as a bedtime story. As a fan of Rick Riordan’s Percy Jackson series and Mac Barnett’s Brixton Brothers mysteries, I knew the novel was a can’t miss with the little Bookwraith, and I wasn’t wrong. This fast-paced, funny tale by Brandon Sanderson bringing more than a few smiles to my face and eliciting many a hysterical giggle from my son, w
Marnie  (Enchanted Bibliophile)
Only Alcatraz Sanderson can take something as mundane as sand and an orphan klutz and turn it into this amazing piece of work!


First Sentence: 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 really enjoyed this, the humor is spot on, the sarcasm and quips make you laugh out loud.
The plot is lively, entertaining and full of twists and turns that you might - or might not have predicted. And of course one

Sep 28, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
So, when people try to give you some book with a shiny round award on the cover, be kind and gracious, but tell them you don't read "fantasy," because you prefer stories that are real. Then come back here and continue your research on the cult of evil Librarians who secretly rule the world.

Will it ever come a day when I'll give Brandon Sanderson less than 5 stars? I don't think so.

Alcatraz Versus the Evil Librarians was so much fun to read. I think the humor was my favorite part of this book. Th
Helen 2.0
Aug 07, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Recommended to Helen 2.0 by: Robin (Bridge Four)
5 stars for pure entertainment value. I laughed my ass off reading this book.

Alcatraz Versus the Evil Librarians is about Alcatraz Smedry, an orphan whose neglectful grandfather lets him wither away in foster homes for the first 13 years of his life (Dumbledore much?). The Smedry family is infamous for the talents that grace each individual member; Alcatraz has an extraordinary talent for breaking things. Because of this talent foster families are quick to give him up, resulting in Alcatraz bei
Sep 03, 2016 rated it liked it
Probably a bit more like 3.5 or 3.75 stars because I'm intrigued enough to read the next one.
This was definitely a fun read and journey, and the narration was hilarious (that Harry Potter shade at the end tho
Eon ♒Windrunner♒
Aug 10, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: only those who breath oxygen.

I’ve said it once before and I’ll say it again. That is all you need to know.

PS: I once read that this was written for middle grade and then forgot about it because middle grade. Recently I saw it again and realised that I just had to give it a chance because how can you not read everything your favorite author has ever written?

200 odd pages later followed by the sound of a mic drop.

*takes a humble bow


Dec 03, 2020 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Brandon Sanderson fans and young action lovers
Brandon is writing his action packed middle grade fantasy series here and this is the introduction into the world of the evil librarians. Brandon turns the literary world upside down and he makes libraries and books sort of evil. They are part of a massive cover up to keep our world stupid. It's rather funny, but I love libraries so much that it also sort of hurts. He turns all of it upside down. There are land masses in the Atlantic, Pacific and Indian Oceans that aren't on our maps and this is ...more
Apr 25, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
You can find this review and more at Novel Notions.

Is anyone else hesitant to read a favorite author’s work outside of their usual genre? I’ve loved Brandon Sanderson for years, but I’ve been extremely reluctant to try his young adult or middle grade offerings. I know that he writes addictive, immersive adult fantasy and was afraid to find out if that carried over into other genres intended for radically different audiences. I shouldn’t have doubted him. Alcatraz Versus the Evil Librarians was
Hannah Greendale
When Alcatraz received his inheritance on this thirteenth birthday, he never expected it to be a bag of sand. But then again, his parents named him Alcatraz, so it's no wonder they left him something bizarre. Turns out, it's no ordinary bag of sand, and Alcatraz is no ordinary orphan boy. He's about to embark on an adventure where a cult of evil Librarians rule the world, and the only way he can stop them is to venture into the depths of a labyrinthine library armed with a pair of eyeglasses and ...more
Bonnie Shores
Jun 14, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: middle-school
This book reads like the author is super successful and doesn't ever need to write again, but he lost a bet or something and is forced to churn out a book. It comes across to me as smug. To illustrate, here are some of the author's own words (strewn throughout the story)...

"Are you annoyed with me yet? Good. I've worked very hard. Honestly, authors can be so self-indulgent."

"Authors write books for one, and only one, reason. Because we like to torture people."

"Now, if you're ever writ
Kells Next Read
Laugh out Loud entertaining. Must Read!!!
Jul 09, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy, childrns
If I was a middle grader, this would definitely be a 5 star read! What a funny, surreal and original story! It really is very charming. Evil baddies ( Librarians) and a hilarious cast of heros who have talents that you have never seen before, battle it out in (and I hope this isn't a spoiler!) a library..

Alcatraz the hero of our story talks directly to the reader in a way which is very funny and engaging. As a teacher myself, I also approve entirely of the way in which Sanderson almost tutors th
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
Sep 23, 2008 rated it really liked it
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
Tessy Ijachi
Apr 24, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: ya, urban-fantasy
”In the Hushlands – those Librarian-controlled nations such as the United States, Canada, and England – this book will be published as a work of fantasy. Do not be fooled! This is no work of fiction, nor is my name really Brandon Sanderson. Both are guises to hide the book from Librarian agents.”

You have been warned, this is not really a book by Brandon Sanderson but rather by Alcatraz Smedry. I know right? I almost fell for those librarian tricks, it's a good thing I know the truth.

All joke
Jenny (Reading Envy)
One of the books on my 2009 TBR list, I finally read Alcatraz versus the Evil Librarians as part of my TBR Explode project. It's a middle reader title and I'm not sure how I would have felt about it as a kid but as an adult I don't care much for hokey humor. The narrator is also constantly pausing to make asides to the reader, to point things out or to say things like "ha fooled you" which this adult reader found obnoxious. But you know, how many books have unique magic systems fighting against ...more
***Wanda's Summer Carnival of Children's Literature***

Cute, funny, and smart. Add in a coterie of Evil Librarians, plus magical skills acquired through the wearing of lenses (i.e. glasses). Also very meta, in that the author talks directly to the reader. A lot.

Of course, working in libraries, I was predisposed to love this. (Although I shouldn’t—I should be suppressing this work, like a good Evil Librarian).

I would recommend it for children who are dismayed about needing glasses. I think it woul
Oct 26, 2014 rated it it was amazing
[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! ...more
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
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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 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)
  • Bastille vs. the Evil Librarians: The Worldspire (Alcatraz, #6)

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