Wednesday, May 17, 2017

The Dark Talent

The Dark Talent
By Brandon Sanderson
Starscape, 2016. 300 pages. Young Adult

It’s finally here! It took almost seven years, but Alcatraz #5 is out and the series is finished. And yes, there is an altar of outdated encyclopedias. It took him long enough.

Book #4 (Alcatraz versus the Shattered Lens) ended on a definite cliffhanger. Alcatraz had somehow managed to break the Smedry Talents, Bastille was in a coma, and the Free Kingdoms were in eminent danger. #5 picks up right in the middle of that mess. After fighting on Librarian terms for so long, Alcatraz is angry and ready to take the fight to the Librarian capital, aka the Highbray in Washington D.C. His Grandfather is, of course, up for anything that audacious, and Kaz and a new Smedry cousin named Dif join in. Oh, and Alcatraz’s mother. THAT isn’t awkward at all.

A few things have changed in the past six years. First of all, it seems that “Alcatraz versus” is no longer a part of the title; it’s just the series name. Also, the Alcatraz series now has an illustrator! Though sparse, the drawings by Hayley Lazo were excellent and I found them a welcome addition to the Alcatraz universe. As far as the actual content goes, The Dark Talent fulfills all the promises of the previous Alcatraz books. It continues the same humor, the same exciting storylines, and the same (mostly) loveable characters. But it also delivers something the rest of the series has been none too subtly hinting at the whole time: the reason that Alcatraz isn’t the hero everyone thinks he is. This series-ender is dark and may leave many readers dissatisfied, but you can’t deny that Alcatraz warned us. Many plot points are left hanging, but the final pages also include the hint of a sequel series, so it seems the story WILL continue eventually. All in all, though The Dark Talent doesn’t knock it out of the park the way Shattered Lens did, the book is definitely worth reading and the (kind-of) surprise ending will make you excited for whatever Sanderson comes out with next.


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