“Alcatraz Versus the Shattered Lens” by Brandon Sanderson

Alcatraz Smedry, the boy with the incredible Talent for breaking things, has a lot to prove and little time in which to do it. In this final adventure, Alcatraz faces an army of librarians–and their giant robots–as they battle to win the kingdom of Mokia. If the librarians win the war, everything that Alcatraz has fought so hard for could end in disaster. Alcatraz must face the robots, the evil librarians, and even his own manipulative mother! But will he be able to save the kingdom of Mokia and the Free Kingdoms from the wrath of the librarians before everything comes crashing down?

shattered-lensI’ve been enjoying these middle grade books by Brandon Sanderson quite a bit over the past few weeks and I’m glad I finally made it to the last installment (at least to this point). In Alcatraz Versus the Shattered Lens the Librarian invasion comes to its climax as Alcatraz, Bastille, and their various cohorts try one last time to thwart their efforts.

The relationship between Alcatraz and Bastille takes a long-awaited, very exciting turn when they finally have a moment where they break down and honestly admit their interest in each other. Bastille makes it perfectly clear that the reason she is so hard on Alcatraz is because of her interest in him and Alcatraz takes this news as the motivation to reciprocate to a certain extent, but more importantly as a motivation for actions that will turn him into a true leader in this conflict.

Even more shocking and mystifying is the sharp turn in the relationship between Alcatraz and his mother. There are some reveals near the end of the book that turn everything Alcatraz thought about his parents on its head, toss it through a blender, and spit it back out a million times sideways. I wasn’t expecting it, I don’t think very many who read the book will be expecting it. As one would expect, this revelation has a very significant impact on Alcatraz emotionally. It causes a lot of conflict in his mind as well as his heart.

Brandon Sanderson has said before that this series has always been intended to be five books in length. This is book four. According to the most recent statements that I’ve personally seen, the final book is “indefinitely postponed” for reasons that haven’t been revealed to the general public as of yet. My guess is that it has something to do with publishing rights, interest by Scholastic, or some other such red tape silliness.

Regardless, it is clear Sanderson knew that the fifth book might be a long time coming, if it came at all, and he set up the conclusion of Alcatraz Versus the Shattered Lens in a way that satisfies the reader, but leaves himself open to completing the series as he originally intended at some point if he is able.

Length: 304 pages
Grade: B

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