Alcatraz Versus the Evil
Librarians: The Knights
Author: Brandon Sanderson
Series: Alcatraz #3
Release Date: April 19, 2016
Publisher: Starscape (Tor Books)
Genre(s): Fantasy, Middle Grade
Review Spoilers: Moderate
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In the latest installment of Alcatraz Smedry’s adventures we finally find ourselves in the Free Kingdoms and readers are not disappointed. One of the best parts of a Brandon Sanderson book is the world building and he doesn’t skimp on it at all even in this middle grade series. The world he’s created is dynamic and quirky. But up until this part we’ve only really see one side of it with a few glimpses at the rest.
The first book in the Alcatraz Versus the Evil Librarians series focused primarily on our own world and learning to see them as the oppressed Hushlands. The second book then took us deep into the lost Library of Alexandria which gave us our first real look at the ‘real world’ according to Alcatraz Smedry. But the Free Kingdoms – as much as we heard of them from Alcatraz’s family members – remained an enigmatic land that readers yearned to see.
Alcatraz finally comes ‘home’ to Nalhalla in The Knights of Crystallia. Of course, it’s not exactly the homecoming he was probably expecting. Shortly after arrival he finds that his cousin Sing and Australia’s home of Mokia is being used as a potential bargaining chip towards peace with the librarians. And Bastille finds herself being punished by the titular Knights of Crystallia for the loss of her sword (way back in the first book). If that’s not crazy enough he finds out the truth about Bastille’s family and finds one of his own cousins dating a ‘reformed’ librarian.
Oh, and he’s famous.
As messed up as it was that his parents left him in the Hushlands, he’s become a sort of hero to the people of the Free Kingdoms and there are books written about his fictional escapades. And it’s not long before he’s called up on to prove himself to be a real hero again. There are Librarians in Nalhalla but they aren’t there to negotiate peace. They have very sinister ulterior motives and only Alcatraz can stop them – and even that’s not a given!
Luckily he’s got a whole new cast of characters along for the ride in this book. Cousin Folsom who is hanging out with ‘reformed’ librarian Himalaya and – SPOILER ALERT! – their romance is absolutely adorable. And then you have Prince Rikers who is a total Alcatraz Smedry fanboy. They are fantastic additions to Team Alcatraz and I loved what they brought to the story.
To be fair, I just loved this book.
It’s easily the best book so far. Granted, it seems like every next book in the series is better than the last. But this book in particular really just hit all the right notes for me. The story was great and it was easily the most even paced book of the three. We got huge revelations regarding both of Alcatraz’s parents and the whole conflict between the Free Kingdoms and the Librarians really seemed to reach new heights. And I really just loved that we were finally in the Free Kingdoms. The whole description of Nalhalla and just the whole explanation of Free Kingdom culture and society was awesome. Every little quirky thing made me smile.
I don’t want to give too much away so I won’t say much more. But I do want to take this time to give Hayley Lazo’s work on the illustrations in this series a shout out. They make this fantastic joyride even more amazing. I can’t even imagine reading a version of the book that didn’t include her artwork.
After how much fun I had reading The Knights of Cyrstallia, I can’t wait for The Shattered Lens to come out. Thankfully it’s a short wait. The fourth book will be out in July!