Friday, July 26, 2013

Book Review: Alcatraz Versus the Evil Librarians

This book is pure fun and silliness. 

You can tell Brandon Sanderson had a blast writing this book.  He had the chance to tell a fun story, make up mythical powers and abilities, interject with funny insights or lifelong pet-peeves, and keep me laughing the entire time.

I am now reading this book out-loud to my kids and I'm loving it. It's told from the main characters perspective so he gets to explain as he writes the book why he wrote it, what parts of his writing are annoying, when he's foreshadowing, and when he's leaving a hook at the end of a chapter (knowing that this is torture to the reader!)
The plot is fun, and he's thought of some rather ingenious magical powers.  He's also given people magical talents (which most of us would see as faults) - such as the talent of always arriving late, tripping all the time, or breaking everything you touch.
It's fun waiting to see how each character's "talent" will help them or hurt them throughout the book, and how they're talent always presents itself at the wrong time, or in the wrong way.

Here are a few of my favorite little tangents from the book:

"People can do great things. However, there are somethings they just can’t do. I, for instance, have not been able to transform myself into a Popsicle, despite years of effort. I could, however, make myself insane, if I wished. (Though if I achieved the second, I might be able to make myself think I’d achieved the first….)"

"At this rate, it won't be long before this story departs speaking of evil Librarians, and instead turns into a terribly boring tale about a lawyer who defends unjustly accused field hands.
What do mockingbirds have to do with that, anyway?"

At one point there is a character who can only speak gibberish and he says "Churches, lead, very small rocks, and ducks."
 - When I read this I laughed out loud in the middle of a library.  (He's quoting Monty Python and the Holy Grail)

"Some people assume that authors write books because we have vivid imaginations and want to share our vision. Other people think we write because we are bursting with and therefore must scribble those stories down in moments of propondenty. Both groups are completely wrong. Authors write books for one and only one reason. Because we like to torture people. Now actual torture in frowned upon in civilized society, fortunately the authorial community has discovered in story telling an even more powerful and fulfilling means of causing agony. We write stories, and by doing so we engage in a perfectly legal way of doing all sorts of terrible things to our readers. Take for instance, the word I used above, "propondenty", there is no such word. I made it up. Why? Because it amused me to think of thousands of readers looking up a nonsense word in their dictionaries."

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