Monday, May 31, 2010

Alcatraz Versus the Knights of Chrystallia (MG/YA)

Alcatraz Versus the Knights of Chrystallia. Brandon Sanderson. 2009. October 2009. Scholastic. 336 pages.

So there I was, hanging upside down underneath a gigantic glass bird, speeding along at a hundred miles an hour above the ocean, in no danger whatsoever.
That's right. I wasn't in any danger. I was more safe at that moment than I'd ever been in my entire life, despite a plummet of several hundred feet looming below me. (Or, well, above me, since I was upside down.)

Alcatraz Versus the Knights of Chrystallia is the third in the Alcatraz series by Brandon Sanderson. The first two are Alcatraz Versus the Evil Librarians and Alcatraz Versus the Scrivener's Bones. If you're familiar with the first two books, then you know what to expect from this third installment--more of this "true" story of Alcatraz Smedry. If you haven't read the first two, then Alcatraz will tease you and tease you until you do. He's just like that, you know.

This book sees Alcatraz (and friends) returning to Chrystallia, one of the Free Kingdoms. Well, it's a return for everyone else. For Alcatraz who was raised in the Hushlands, everything is brand new. But the city--the kingdom--is in danger. And it may be up to Alcatraz (if he can keep himself from getting a big head) to save the day. You see, Alcatraz never knew he was famous (in the Free Kingdoms), that he was the star of a series of books. (I love that the books play a theme song when you open them!) Of course, those adventures of Alcatraz were pure fiction. But it doesn't seem to keep Alcatraz from losing focus--at least not in the very beginning. Can Alcatraz remember what is most important in time? (What's most important? Remembering that librarians are evil and out to rule the world, of course. And the librarian threat is much closer than they know!)

I enjoyed this one. I didn't love, love, love it like I did the first book in the series. But I still found it to be great fun. I still love the humor. I still love the narrator.

Summarizing is when you take a story that is complicated and interesting, then stick it in a 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."
For example, take this story: "Once there was a furry-footed British guy who has to go throw his uncle's ring into a hole in the ground." Sounds dumb, doesn't it?
I don't intend to do that. I intend to make you experience each and every painful moment of my life. I intend to prove how dreadful I am by talking about how awesome I am. I intend to make you read through a whole series before explaining the scene in which I started the first book.
You remember that one, right? The one where I lay tied to an altar made from encyclopedias, about to get sacrificed by the Librarians? That's when my betrayal happened. You may be wondering when I'm finally going to get to that most important point in my life.
Book five. So there. (107-108)
Characters in books, you may have noticed, rarely have to go potty. There are several reasons for this. Many books--unlike this one--simply aren't real, and everyone knows fictional characters can "hold it" as long as they need to. They just wait until the end of the book before using the restroom.
In books like this one, which are real, we have more problems. After all, we're not fictional characters, so we have to wait until chapter breaks, when nobody is looking. It can get hard for longer chapters, but we're quite self-sacrificing. (I really feel sorry for the people in Terry Pratchett's novels, though.) (118-119)
I would definitely recommend this series.

© Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews


Unknown 1:11 PM  

There's a new Alcatraz?! What would I do without you to tell me these sorts of things? :-)

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I am interested in reviewing books and audio books. This blog focuses on books written for middle grade on up (essentially 10 to a 110). I review middle grade fiction and young adult fiction (aka tween and teen).

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