Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Book Review: Alcatraz Versus the Knights of Crystallia by Brandon Sanderson

Alcatraz Versus The Knights Of Crystallia by Brandon Sanderson
Publisher: Scholastic Press
Publication date: October 2009
ISBN: 9780439925556
Source: Library

Alcatraz Versus The Knights Of Crystallia

This book continues the adventures of Alcatraz Smedry.  Alcatraz is making his way to the Nalhalla, a free kingdom and his home city, with his father and grandfather when they run into a little bit of an accident.  They finally make it there, only to discover a plot by librarians to get the free kingdom of Mokia in exchange for peace.  But, do they really mean to keep that bargain?  Alcatraz must try to discover their true purpose in Nalhalla and protect the kingdoms from evil librarians.  Again.

Things I Liked:
I love the snarky, sarcastic, talking straight to the reader tone of the book.  I love also how Sanderson isn't afraid to make fun of himself and other tropes of literature today.  Each chapter seems to start with a very random bit of information, and yet is humorous enough that you keep reading anyway.  The story is funny and adventurous and you want to know what happens, even if he drops a hundred foreshadowing comments throughout the book.  And, of course, I love the evil librarian aspect.  I kept trying to limit myself from marking every page I thought was funny, so that I didn't have this whole post filled with a bunch of favorite quotes.  Here are a few I finally settled on.

Definition of "crapaflapnasti": "Adj. Used to describe an item that is as disgusting as fish sticks." (Note: This word can only be used to describe fish sticks themselves, as nothing has yet been found that is equally crapaflapnasti.  Though the unclean, moldy, cluttered space under Brandon Sanderson's bed comes close.) p 14
Of all the things in the world that come close to being crapaflapnastic, responsibility is the most terrible.  It makes people eat salads instead of candy bars, and makes them go to bed early of their own free choice.  When you're about to launch yourself into the air strapped to the back of a rocket-propelled penguin, it's that blasted responsibility that warns you that the flight might not be good for your insurance premiums. p 30-31
Fame is like a cheeseburger.  It might not be the best or most healthy thing to have, but it will still fill you up.  You don't really care how healthy something is when you've been without it for so long.  Like a cheeseburger, fame fills a need, and it tastes so good going down.  It isn't until years later that you realized what it has done to your heart. p 73-74
Summarizing is when you take a story that is complicated and interesting, then stick it in the microwave until it shrivels up into a tiny piece of black crunchy tarlike stuff.  A wise man once said, "Any story, no matter how good, will sound really, really dumb when you shorten it to a few sentences." p 107
Now, you may have gotten the impression that there are absolutely no uses for Librarians.  I'm sorry if I implied that.  Librarians are very useful.  For instance, they are useful if you are fishing for sharks and need some bait.  They're also useful for throwing out windows to test the effects of concrete impact on horn-rimmed glasses. p 187
Things I Didn't Like:
I think reading more than one of these books in a row might make the humor and the talking to the reader aspect get old.  I thought the book was just the right length to not make me annoyed, but others might disagree.  One at a time is best for full enjoyment, although I had forgotten what happened in the previous books.  Apparently it didn't matter too much. Tween boys (and girls) will love this series!

The Secret series by Pseudonymous Bosch 

A little like the Series of Unfortunate Events by Lemony Snicket
Read the first two books in the Alcatraz series

s-factor: none

mrg-factor: none

v-factor: ->
a little bit, very mild

Overall rating: ****

How do you like humor in books - subtle or snarky or outright funny?

Posted as part of Tween Tuesday, hosted by GreenBeanTeenQueen.
If you buy through my Amazon linkage, I will get a very small percentage


  1. I didn't read your review because I have yet to read the rest of this series! But I love Alcatraz and can't wait to read the rest of the books!

  2. Alcatraz is one of my favorite fictional funny characters. Can't wait for more of him.


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