Friday, April 10, 2015

The Evil Librarians

I am a huge Brandon Sanderson fan and have been deeply impressed with all of his fantasy books that I have read to date. He is a skilled writer with a talent for building worlds and systems of magic while developing characters that have flesh on their literary bones. In working my way through Sanderson's oeuvre, I decided that I would not pass over his young adult series regarding one Alcatraz Smedry. In the story of Alcatraz Versus the Evil Librarians we come to find out that evil librarians are the true rulers of the world. This dark sect moves with single-minded purpose to keep mankind ignorant of the truths that might set them free. Battling against the heartless enemy are a brave group of men and women who are trying to bring the truth to light and to end the longstanding oppression of the cursed librarians.

Alcatraz is a 13 year old boy who has been shuffled from foster home to foster home. In very short order, he wears out his welcome and the agency woman comes out to take him to his next family. Alcatraz is not necessarily a bad person, he just has an uncanny ability to sow destruction and to bring about carnage with everything he touches. However, his world turns absolutely upside down on his 13th birthday when he receives a package from his father, who he believed to have died some long time ago. Shortly after he receives this mystery package, someone attempts to kill him and an eccentric old man shows up claiming to be his grandfather and telling Alcatraz that he is an oculator, a powerful member of the resistance. Leavenworth Smedry, also an oculator, has the great talent of being late. He clues Smedry into what an oculator is and how his talent for breaking things is actually more blessing than curse. Slowly, Alcatraz comes to learn a bit more about who he really is and what he was born to do to help save the world, and all of this happens while he and Leavenworth work to infiltrate the local library, the bastion and center of power of the librarians.

This story is written as a memoir of Alcatraz in the first person and is absolutely chock full of whimsy, inanity, belly laughs, and just a great old fun ride. Some might see the "young adult" stamp and keep walking. I say a great story with original and compelling characters should not be bypassed so quickly. In fact, I loved this story so much I immediately dove into the next book in the series, Alcatraz Versus the Scrivener's Bones.