Thursday, December 1, 2011

Review: The Alcatraz Series by Brandon Sanderon

Author: Brandon Sanderson
Publisher: Scholastic
First Book Published: October 2007

Many people know Brandon Sanderson as the author that's finishing Robert Jordan's Wheel of Time series. Others know him as the author of the Mistborn books, or Elantris, or Warbreaker. But my favorite way to think of him is as the goofball that writes the Alcatraz series.

The Alcatraz books are written for a younger audience, and it shows. Sanderson is downright goofy at times, while still managing to get a solid story out. Older readers will notice a lot of jokes that will most likely fly right over the heads of the younger readers, so there's fun to be had for all ages.

Alcatraz is a young boy who breaks things. Radios. Televisions. Chickens. He can’t seem to touch anything without it breaking. He’s an orphan, who upon his 13th birthday receives his inheritance in the mail from his father…a bag of sand. Oh, and did I mention that there are evil librarians seeking to conquer the world and spread their lies about its history?

There are four books out at this point, and the author is hoping that he'll get around to a fifth one at some point. The first book is titled Alcatraz Vs. The Evil Librarians, just so you can get started.

What I loved

  • The Smedry Talents. Each person in that family has a very peculiar Super Power, and Sanderson really plays with these and makes them into something great throughout the story.
  • The humor: It's over the top, it's downright cringe-inducing for adults in parts, but it's there in spades, and it's plain old fun.
  • It's nice to get a glimpse inside the mind of one of the top fantasy writers of this decade, and see that there's some pretty goofy stuff in that noggin of his.
What I hated

  • A lot of the humor in the books isn't for the children that will be reading them. Some people might hate that, some might not. The kids won't likely notice either way.
The Alcatraz series gets 8.75/ 10, and would be an excellent addition to any twelve or thirteen year old's book collection.