Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Alcatraz Versus the Shattered Lens (MG/YA)

Alcatraz Versus The Shattered Lens. Brandon Sanderson. 2010. Scholastic. 304 pages.
So there I was, holding a pink teddy bear in my hand. It had a red bow and an inviting, cute, bearlike smile. Also, it was ticking.
"Now what?" I asked.
"Now you throw it, idiot!" Bastille said urgently.

Alcatraz Smedry is back for his fourth adventure. (Alcatraz would want me to tell you it is yet another volume in his biography--not a fantasy novel at all.) The first three volumes are Alcatraz Versus the Evil Librarians, Alcatraz Versus the Scrivener's Bones, and Alcatraz Versus the Knights of Chrystallia. While we still don't know how Alcatraz ends up tied to an altar of outdated encyclopedias, readers do finally see how Alcatraz ended up a hero in the Free Kingdoms. For in this fourth adventure story, it is up to Alcatraz and his friends (and family) to save the kingdom of Mokia from the invading army of Evil Librarians. Can Alcatraz make the most of his talents? Can he lead a country--a kingdom--into battle? Can he handle the responsibility?

I love Alcatraz Smedry. I do. He is a great narrator!
If you've ever thought that books are boring, it's because you don't know how to read them correctly. From now on, when you read a book, I want you to scream the words of the novel out loud while reading them, then do exactly what the characters are doing in the story.
Trust me, it will make books way more exciting. Even dictionaries. Particularly dictionaries. So go ahead and try it out with this next part of this book. If you do it right, you'll win the bonus prize. (37)

Change. It's important to change. I, for instance, change my underwear every day. Hopefully you do too. If you don't, please stay downwind.
Change is frightening. Few of us ever want things to change. (Well, things other than underwear.) But change is also fascinating--in fact, it's necessary. Just ask Heraclitus. (56)

In the year 1288, if you were to pass by an old acquaintance on the way to Ye Old Chain Mail Shoppe and call him "nice," you'd actually be calling him an idiot.
If it were the year 1322 instead -- and you were on your way to the bookshop to pick up the new wacky comedy by a guy named Dante -- when you call someone "nice" you would be saying that they were timid.
In 1380, if you called someone "nice," you'd be saying they were fussy.
In 1405, you'd be calling them dainty.
In 1500, you'd be calling them careful.
By the 1700s -- when you were off to do some crowd surfing at the new Mozart concert -- you'd be using the word nice to mean "agreeable."
Sometimes, it's difficult to understand how much change there is all around us. Even language changes, and the same word can mean different things depending on how, where, and when it was said. The word awful used to mean "deserving of awe" -- full of awe. The same as awesome. Once, the word brave meant "cowardly." The word girl meant a child of either gender.
(So next time you're with a mixed group of friends, you should call them "girls" instead of "guys." Assuming you're not too brave, nice, nice, nice, or nice.)
People change too. In fact, they're always changing. We like to pretend that the people we know stay the same, but they change moment by moment as they come to new conclusions, experience new things, think new thoughts. Perhaps, as Heraclitus said, you can never step in the same river twice...but I think a more powerful metaphor would have been this: You can never meet the same person twice. (224-5)
I loved this one. I thought it was a great addition to a fun series of fantasy novels. If you're looking for action, adventure, fantasy, and humor...then consider reading the Alcatraz books! They're great fun!!!

© Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews


Post a Comment

I'm always happy to hear from you! To help fight spam, comment moderation has been set up for posts older than two days. Feel free to ask me questions or ask for recommendations!

Review Policy

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).

I also review adult books.

I read in a variety of genres including realistic fiction, historical fiction, mystery, romance, science fiction, fantasy, literary fiction, and chick lit. (I've read one western to date.)

I read a few poetry books, a few short story collections, a few graphic novels, a few nonfiction books.

I am especially fond of:

  • Regency romances (including Austen prequels/sequels)
  • Historical fiction set in the Tudor dynasty
  • Historical fiction and nonfiction set during World War II
  • Jewish fiction/nonfiction
  • dystopias
  • apocalyptic fiction
  • science fiction (especially if it involves time travel and alternate realities)
  • fantasy
  • multicultural books and international books

I am not a fan of:

  • sports books
  • horse books
  • dog books if the dog dies (same goes with most pets actually except maybe fish)
  • westerns (if it's a pioneer story with women and children, then maybe)
  • extremely violent books with blood, blood, and more blood

I am more interested in strong characters, well-written, fleshed-out, human characters. Plot is secondary to me in a way. I have to care about the characters in order to care about the plot. That being said, compelling storytelling is something that I love. I love to become absorbed in what I'm reading.

If you're interested in sending me a review copy of your book, I'm happy to hear from you. Email me at laney_po AT yahoo DOT com.

You should know several things before you contact me:

1) I do not guarantee a review of your book. I am just agreeing to consider it for review.
2) I give all books at least fifty pages.
3) I am not promising anyone (author or publisher) a positive review in exchange for a review copy. That's not how I work.
4) In all of my reviews I strive for honesty. My reviews are my opinions--so yes, they are subjective--you should know my blog will feature both negative and positive reviews.
5) I do not guarantee that I will get to your book immediately. I've got so many books I'm trying to read and review, I can't promise to get to any one book in a given time frame.
6) Emailing me every other week to see if I've read your book won't help me get to it any faster. Though if you want to email me to check and see if it arrived safely, then that's fine!

Authors, publishers. I am interested in interviewing authors and participating in blog tours. (All I ask is that I receive a review copy of the author's latest book beforehand so the interview will be productive. If the book is part of a series, I'd like to review the whole series.) Contact me if you're interested.

Unique Visitors and Google PR Rank

Free PageRank Checker

2018 Kitty Lit Challenge

2018 Kitty Lit Challenge
Link to sign-up page

Join the Victorian Reading Challenge

Join the Victorian Reading Challenge
Linked to sign up page

Family Tree Reading Challenge

Family Tree Reading Challenge
Link to sign-up page

2018 Share-a-Tea Challenge

2018 Share-a-Tea Challenge
Linked To Sign Up Page

2018 Charity Challenge (Sign Up)

2018 Good Rule Reading Challenge

2018 Good Rule Reading Challenge
Link to sign up page

2018 Picture Book Challenge

2018 Picture Book Challenge
Link to sign-up page

Join the 2018 Middle Grade Reading Challenge

Join the 2018 Middle Grade Reading Challenge
click image to go to sign up post

Good Rules Cheat List

Board books and picture books = new is anything published after 2013
Early readers and chapter books = new is anything published after 2013
Contemporary (general/realistic) = new is anything published after 2007
Speculative fiction (sci-fi/fantasy = new is anything published after 2007
Classics = anything published before 1968
Historical fiction = new is anything published after 2007
Mysteries = new is anything published after 1988
Nonfiction = new is anything published after 2007
Christian books = new is anything published after 2000
Bibles = new is anything published after 1989

My Blog List

(Old) Challenge Participants

Becky's Hosting These Challenges

100 Books Project: Fill in the Gaps

Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews

  © Blogger template Newspaper III by Ourblogtemplates.com 2008

Back to TOP