The Scrivener's Bones: Alcatraz vs. the Evil Librarians (Alcatraz Versus the Evil Librarians Book 2)

The Scrivener's Bones: Alcatraz vs. the Evil Librarians (Alcatraz Versus the Evil Librarians Book 2)
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Release Date
February 16, 2016
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The Scrivener’s Bones is the second action-packed fantasy adventure in the Alcatraz vs. the Evil Librarians series for young readers by the #1 New York Times bestselling author Brandon Sanderson. These fast-paced and funny novels are now available in deluxe hardcover editions illustrated by Hayley Lazo.

In his second skirmish against the Evil Librarians who rule the world, Alcatraz and his ragtag crew of freedom fighters track Grandpa Smedry to the ancient and mysterious Library of Alexandria. Hushlanders―people who live in the Librarian-controlled lands of Canada, Europe, and the Americas―believe the Library was destroyed long ago. Free Kingdomers know the truth: the Library of Alexandria is still around, and it’s one of the most dangerous places on the planet. For it is the home of the scariest Librarians of them all: a secret sect of soul-stealing Scriveners. Can Alcatraz and his friends rescue Grandpa Smedry and make it out of there alive?

"In this original, hysterical homage to fantasy literature, Sanderson's first novel for youth recalls the best in Artemis Fowl and A Series of Unfortunate Events." ―VOYA

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Love this Topsy Turvy Action and Adventure Series
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What I Liked: There are two different components to the Alcatraz Vs. The Evil Librarian series that make the book so delightful: first is the adventure story taking place and second is the commentary that Brandon Sanderson gives from a writer’s perspective in the guise of the narrator, Alcatraz.

In the adventure portion, Alcatraz has been evading the librarians and their agents for months now and is on his way to finally visit the free lands when they get sidetracked to save his grandfather from the most dangerous library of all, the Library of Alexandria. Alcatraz meets two more Smedry relatives and their talents. His Uncle Kaz can get lost, and his cousin Australia can wake up ugly in the mornings. It took me a minute to connect that her name is Australia because the continent was originally founded as a British penal colony. We get to meet Bastille’s mother, who is not the easiest person to like, and see Bastille’s interactions with her. This allows Bastille to show a different side then the uber-confident Knight of Crystallia that we met in book one. Once again, these quirky talents are just what is needed to face this latest challenge in the most unexpected ways.

Brandon Sanderson’s breakaway commentary on the structure of writing seems stronger in this latest addition to the series. There is a reading and activity guide included with the common core standards addressed making this series an easy win for teachers and their students who won’t be able to stop laughing at this tale. He is not afraid to get weird and silly to grab your attention and keep you turning pages through the cliff hangers that he will apologize for. (Although I get the sense that he really isn’t sorry to sidetrack the story with militarized farm animals.)

What Left Me Wanting More: The original premise of the series is that the evil librarians control information and that Alcatraz is writing his autobiography by calling it fiction so that he can sneak it to the Hushlanders without the Librarians knowing. I am all down for the silliness and the topsy turvy reasoning. I think it has been funny to learn that swords and stairs are higher technology than guns and elevators in the Free Lands. That is clearly all in fun. However, I felt like it pushed things a little bit in this book when he was saying what we learned in school is what is really fiction and that many things we know all about never happened. With so much gaslighting and censorship of curriculum and agendas being pushed in some US schools right now, this was a bit uncomfortable instead of funny to me. I would hope the readers of this book are old enough to understand the humor.

Final Verdict: I enjoyed this second book. The first book turned everything upside down to create the world that Alcatraz found himself a part of, and he was understandably shocked and disbelieving. Now that some things have been established Alcatraz is navigating this world better and learning the history of the Smedry talents that make this magically funny read more stable with rules it is operating under. Bastille and Alcatraz’s characters gain some depth as they take time to converse from a hole thirty feet down inside the Library of Alexandria. This has been a fun read for the whole family!

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