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Alcatraz Versus the Knights of Crystallia

Alcatraz Versus the Knights of Crystallia - Brandon Sanderson

Alcatraz finally got to visit his mysterious native land. What was supposed to be a time of quiet and peace turned exciting deadly even before the poor guy stepped on the said land: his air vehicle was blown from the sky. Excitement followed the hero even when he met his (unfailingly very quirky) relatives and meddled in local politics. At least with the latter case everybody knows politics is supposed to be deadly, mystical land or not. Horror of horrors, Alcatraz might have to ask a librarian for help – this is a guy who fought them through the whole series.




Before I say anything else I would like the say the following. This is a good book. I rated it with 3 stars, but I gave the same rating to much weaker ones. I laughed while reading it at least once and I did have a few chuckles. So why such a low rating? There are several reasons.


I began to feel pity for Alcatraz: a big no-no when you read a humorous book – in my opinion. Poor guy was hoping to find his parents for as long as he could remember. There is a saying, be careful what you wish for as you might get your wish fulfilled. In Alcatraz case it is very much true. His mother is evil – there is an indication in this book that she might not quite be Sauron-level evil, but still. His father is a jerk. How big is a jerk he is? Let me just say that had I been this kind of father I would have kicked myself hard between the legs. Repeatedly. While wearing steel toe boots.

Steel Toed Boots

I believe this method is the only hope of curing this kind of jerkiness.


My perpetual complaint about this series – breaking of the fourth wall – applies here as well. I mentioned in the last book these breaks were localized to the beginning of chapters. Here they are much shorter in the beginnings (thank God!), but also scattered all over (oh no!). I really hated most of them; they were out of place, they broke the flow of the story, and they were not amusing – most of them. “Kill them with fire!” I say.


In the previous installments Alcatraz infiltrated a Downtown Library and the Library of Alexandria: both are fun and evil places. His native mysterious land is kind of boring. At least I was not that impressed with it. On the positive side his newfound relatives are at least amusing. Of a special notice is his aunt whose talent is to say the most inappropriate at the moment things. Imagine her mentioning to a young woman that her fiancé (who had a misfortune of being Alcatraz aunt’s son) that the guy just recently stopped wetting his bed. No wonder Alcatraz and other people related to her try to keep the distance from their “talented” relative.


As I already mentioned it is a better book than my rating of it might indicate. It did not diminish (much) my wish to continue reading the series. Join the fight against evil librarians!


P.S. Why do knights of Crystallia strongly remind me Redshirts from Star Trek? Not as fast to be killed, but equally useless.