Thursday, March 30, 2017

Alcatraz versus the Knights of Crystallia

Alcatraz versus the Knights of Crystallia
By Brandon Sanderson
Scholastic Press, 2009. 299 pages. Young Adult

After an extended detour to the Library of Alexandria, Alcatraz finally makes it to the Free Kingdoms. Turns out the librarians haven’t been idle in the meantime. They’ve sent ambassadors to Nalhalla with a treaty that could end the war… as long as the Free Kingdomers are willing to give up Mokia. Though some people think it might be worth it, Alcatraz knows there’s something suspicious going on. After all, you should never trust a librarian.

Sanderson really hits his stride with this third installment in the series. Not only is the plot an interesting change of pace with a bit of political intrigue, but Alcatraz’s comedic asides really come into their own. Each interjection actually enhances rather than detracting from the narrative, and there’s plenty of new material rather than tired tropes. My particular favorite is the way he undercuts the formulaic moral lessons learned throughout the story. Alcatraz is surprised to find that he is a celebrity in Nalhalla, for example, and lets the fame go to his head. Instead of turning this into an unbearable teaching moment, however, Alcatraz’s snarky interjections keep things real. Overall an improvement on #2 and a strong installment in a funny series.


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