Alcatraz Versus the Evil Librarians

After torturing myself reading Pygmy over the past few days, I decided that I needed to read something a lot lighter before getting into a serious book again.  Hence, I read Alcatraz Versus the Evil Librarians by Brandon Sanderson.  If the title of the book doesn’t immediately make you realize that it’s a sarcastic book, the first sentence will: “So there I was, tied to an altar made from outdated encyclopedias, about to get sacrificed to the dark powers by a cult of evil Librarians.”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’m a huge fan of Sanderson’s adult fantasy novels, and listening to the Writing Excuses podcast I’ve heard about this series as well, it was a fun book that only took a few hours to read but I enjoyed it.

Book Stats

308 pages

First book in the Alcatraz series

Fantasy

Characters

The main character in this book is Alcatraz Smedry, a young man who has an enormous Talent (with a capital T) for breaking things.  He has been passed around from one foster family to another throughout his whole life because he constantly breaks things that are important to them and gets shipped to the next family.  The book is written as though Alcatraz is looking back on his life reviewing everything that happened from his 13th birthday on.  He is a strange person with a very snarky attitude and constantly talks about books while in the book, it’s a weird kind of humor, but it works well.

Setting

A random city that is never named.  The setting for the world is that Evil Librarians secretly control all of the world that we know and a group of people from the free kingdoms are fighting against them.

Plot

For his 13th birthday Alcatraz receives a gift from his father, a bag of sand.  The sand ends up being part of an artifact that could help the Librarians take over the rest of the free kingdoms, so naturally Alcatraz has to go with his Grandfather to stop the Librarians and get his gift back.

Enjoyment

This book is weird, and the humor in it could very easily throw a lot of people out of the story.  I knew what to expect for most of it because I’ve listened to the Writing Excuses podcast with Sanderson and they talk about this book on several occasions.  While the humor may not work for everyone, I enjoyed it and thought it was a nice lighter read (it’s a middle grade novel, meaning it’s meant for people who are roughly 9-14 years old).

Overall Grade

A very quick, very fun read, I’ll check out the rest of the Alcatraz books eventually.

8/10

Pygmy

If you’ve been following my blog, or even just looking through it recently, you can see that I’ve been reading quite a few books by Chuck Palahniuk.  Pygmy is the latest book of his that I’ve read, and I’m going to say this is the worst of his books that I’ve read.

Book Stats

241 pages

Stand Alone

Drama (as with most of Palahniuk’s books)

Characters

The main character of this book is Pygmy, an exchange student from a foreign country living with a family in a small suburban midwestern town that is never named.  Along with being an exchange student, he is also a well trained operative planning to execute Operation Havoc.  He is greatly confused by most of what he sees of American Culture.

Setting

Like every Palahniuk book, a random town somewhere.

Plot

Pygmy is one of several operatives from his country sent to this town with the goal of bringing down the U.S. through Operation Havoc.  Pygmy also has to deal with his very strange exchange family.  Dealing with his mother who is obsessed with sex toys and his foster siblings who constantly drug their parents so they can sneak around without them knowing, Pygmy finds himself in some very strange situations throughout the book.

Enjoyment

The plot was interesting, but it was a very hard read because the book is written in a dialect.  While the dialect is consistent, it’s irritating as all hell to read.  I tend to read books fairly quickly, it’s nothing for me to sit down and read a couple hundred pages in one sitting.  With this book I could only read 20-30 pages at a time because of the dialog.  This was yet another book with a fascinating idea from Palahniuk, but it was just too annoying to read.

Overall Grade

Reading the dialect in this book gave me a headache, seriously.  I can’t recommend this book to anyone.

2/10