313 pgs (Alcatraz vs. the Evil Librarians series #1)
Alcatraz Smedry is a 13-year old foster child, who has a propensity for breaking things. As a result, the families he’s living with often don’t know how to deal with him and his case worker has to find him a new set of foster parents for him to go live with.
But all that changes on the day he accidentally set his current foster parents’ kitchen on fire. It happened to be on his birthday and he had just received a strange package with a note attached. The package contained a bag of sand, and the note said it was his inheritance and came from his mom and dad—his real ones. As he’s getting ready to be taken away once again, a man he’s never met before shows up, claims to be his grandpa, wishes him a happy birthday, and explains to him that he needs to come with him, and to make sure to bring the sand.
And so begins an adventure which opens Alcatraz’s eyes to a whole new world he had no idea existed: the Free Kingdoms. He learns that the world he’s been living in (the one we also live in) is controlled by librarians. They control the books, and therefore information, and they’re able to keep the existence of the Free Kingdoms a secret.
Alcatraz learns that his propensity to break things is actually a magical talent he was born with, and one that will save his life numerous times throughout the book. He also learns that he has an important role to play in stopping the evil librarians from conquering the remaining Free Kingdoms.
Alcatraz vs the Evil Librarians is written for a younger audience, and as such, my 9-year-old son and I read it together. He loved it. Each night he’d grab the book off the shelf and let me know it was time to read. He’s usually not a big fan of reading, so this was exactly what I was hoping for when I bought the series. I’m a huge Sanderson fan, and I thought, if he could direct his skills at building worlds with unique and engaging systems of magic to a younger audience, and if he could do it with the same sense of humor he often inserts into his adult books, then there would be a pretty good chance my son would get hooked. When we finished this one, my son took it back to the bookshelf and grabbed book II, which made me happy.
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