~by Brandon Sanderson
It wasn't too long ago that I read Alcatraz versus the Evil Librarians, the first installment of the planned five-book autobiography of Alcatraz Smedry. Of course, you won't find these book in the non-fiction section of the library, but this is all a part of the Librarians' plot to discredit them. The books have even been published under the name of fantasy author Brandon Sanderson to add to the confusion. I enjoyed Alcatraz versus the Evil Librarians immensely and knew that I would need to read the next book, Alcatraz versus the Scrivener's Bones. (Just, please don't tell anyone--as an evil librarian, I could probably get in a lot of trouble for this.)
Alcatraz versus the Scrivener's Bones picks up shortly after the first book in the series. Alcatraz is trying to meet up with his grandfather in order to leave the Hushlands and finally visit the Free Kingdoms himself. But, as usual when Smedrys are involved, things don't quite go as planned. The Librarians are still after Alcatraz--in particular his pair of rare and powerful Translator's lenses--and are beginning to become so desperate that they will even work with another, darker Librarian sect, the Scrivener's Bones. It's not too surprising then that the meet-up doesn't happen--especially considering Grandpa Smedry's Talent for arriving late. Alcatraz's exceptional Talent for breaking things doesn't always help, either. Soon it turns into a rescue mission. Joining forces with his newly discovered uncle and cousin (both with their own unique Talents), and aided by the Crystin Knights, Alcatraz journeys to the very dangerous Great Library of Alexandria in search of his grandfather and Attica Smedry--the father who he's never met.
If you didn't enjoy Alcatraz versus the Evil Librarians you probably won't enjoy Alcatraz versus the Scrivener's Bones as it continues in very much the same vein. The humor is just as snarky, the storytelling just as random, and the plot just as wild. I absolutely loved it, but it is definitely not for everyone. A few of the tangents in Alcatraz versus the Scrivener's Bones didn't seem to work as well, but overall the book is a strong follow-up to Alcatraz versus the Evil Librarians and perhaps slightly less goofy and more mature while still being a load of fun. And the continued world-building is fantastic.
Since the Alcatraz books are aimed at a younger audience (well, ages 9-99 according to Sanderson's website), the writing style isn't terribly complex and they're not incredibly long, either. Understandably, they make for pretty quick reads. Some references are probably more likely to be picked up on by older readers, but there is still plenty of material for everyone to enjoy. I'm definitely looking forward to the next installment of the series. I know that these will be books that I return to again when I need a fun, quick, pick-me-up sort of read. And since the second book was as good as the first (which can be tricky), I expect and hope that the rest of the series continues the trend. The only problem now is that I'll have to wait for the rest of the books to be published.