Sanderson, Brandon. 2008. Alcatraz Versus The Scrivener's Bones. Scholastic. 322 pages.
Sequel to Alcatraz Versus The Evil Librarians. Here's how it starts off,
"So, there I was, slumped in my chair, waiting in a drab airport terminal, munching absently on a bag of stale potato chips. Not the beginning you expected, is it? You likely thought that I would start this book with something exciting. A scene involving evil Librarians, perhaps -- something with altars, Alivened, or at least some machine guns. I'm sorry to disappoint you. It won't be the first time I do that. However, it's for your own good."Alcatraz Smedry is back for his second adventure. And oh how he loves to manipulate his readers, tease them, taunt them. It's mean and I love it. If you haven't read the first book, you should. Trust me on that. It's funny and clever. And the best entertainment to be had between the covers of a book.
I'd like to make something clear. I have been unfair to you. That is to be expected, liar that I am.
In the first book of this series, I made some sweeping generalizations about librarians, many of which are completely true.
I need to come clean. There are several kinds of librarians. There are the ones I talked about in my last book -- the Librarians, with a capital L. We also call them the Librarians of Biblioden, or the Scrivener's Librarians. Most of what I said about that particular group is, indeed, factual.
However, I didn't take the time to explain that they're not the only kind of librarians. You may, therefore, have assumed that all librarians are evil cultists who want to take over the world, enslave humanity, and sacrifice people on their altars.
This is completely untrue. Not all librarians are evil cultists. Some librarians are instead vengeful undead who want to suck your soul.
I'm glad we cleared that up. (44-45)
In this second adventure, we have Alcatraz and Bastille teaming up with others--new characters, new talents--on a quest trying to track down Grandpa Smedry and Attica Smedry. (Attica being the long-lost-and-often-presumed-dead father of our hero, Alcatraz.) Alcatraz believes that both can be found in the Library of Alexandria. It is here in this ancient library, that they come across the worst sort of librarian: the kind that can take your soul if you take a book. (If you sign a contract to lose your soul, you have ten hours before the dreaded soul-taking takes place. If you don't sign a contract but happen to pick up a book, then you've got ten seconds.) These librarians taunt and tease. Urging you to read this and that. Good news if you give in: You get to read all the books in the library. And we're not just talking ancient scrolls and the like. New books--American books--are being sent over all the time. (Every book ever written.) Bad news: You're doomed to spend eternity there with no hope of ever leaving. And as a curator, you yourself will join their numbers trying to steal other people's souls.
Can Alcatraz find his father and grandfather and escape this threatening-but-oh-so-tempting library with his soul intact? Will his friends? There's danger. There's threats--new and old. There are traps, traps, and more traps. There are daring rescues (or rescue attempts I should say). There are more than a few surprises. It's great fun. You should try it.
© Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews