Friday, January 16, 2009

Alcatraz Vs. The Scrivener's Bones

Brandon Sanderson
Scholastic Press 2008
I have waited all my life for someone to write books like these, books that defy the Law of Conservation of Awesomeness. This law states, basically, that fiction with really awesome and exciting action scenes must have stupid plots, flat characters, and nothing important to say.

Brandon Sanderson's "Alcatraz" series shatters this principle. Sanderson's genius is his ability to draw tension out of thin air. Combine this with the dizzying sophistication of multiple systems of magic use, an evil librarian conspiracy that covers up true world history and geography, quirky characters, and a fresh voice that breaks all the rules of traditional story narration, and you get a book that my husband, three children, and I all fought to be the first one to finish reading. All week you could hear someone snickering at the jokes or moaning at the suspense, with shouts in the background of, "DON'T TELL ME I HAVEN'T READ THAT PART YET!!!"

Alcatraz Smedry, the true author of the book (he publishes under Brandon Sanderson's name to avoid detection by the cult of evil librarians), intermixes his edge-of-your-seat narrative with snarky personal insights into subjects like literary fiction, philosophy, real adults vs. fictional adults, truth in storytelling, and perception vs. reality. This book defies gravity as a light, funny, fast paced, and thought-provoking read.

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