Monday, September 12, 2016

Review: The Shattered Lens [Alcatraz vs. the Evil Librarians #4] (Brandon Sanderson)

The Shattered Lens (Alcatraz, #4)
Title: The Shattered Lens
Series: Alcatraz vs. the Evil Librarians, Book 4
Author: Brandon Sanderson (site)
Publisher: Starscape (Tor)
Release Date: July 19, 2016
Genre: Middle Grade Contemporary Fantasy Adventure
Told: First Person (Alcatraz), Past Tense
Content Rating: Teen (fighting/violence/minor war, streaking)
Format Read: Hardcover (publisher)
Find OnGoodreads
Purchase OnAmazon | B&N | Book Depository

Can Alcatraz save a city under siege?

If the island of Mokia falls, so could the rest of the Free Kingdoms--and then the entire world would fall under the sway of the Evil Librarians. Can Alcatraz save the day once more?

Armed only with a few pairs of glasses, a small supply of exploding teddy bears, and his incredible Talent for breaking things, Alcatraz is determined to try. All he has to do is defeat an army of giant Librarian robots, a force of regular-sized but extremely evil Librarians, and worst of all: his own mother!

*          *          *

Review copy provided by publisher for an honest review. Thank you, Tor!

Series: This is Book 4 in the Alcatraz Series. For reviews of the previous books, see Book 1: Alcatraz vs. the Evil Librarians, and Book 3: The Knights of Crystallia. (Book 2: The Scrivener's Bones, pending.)

In a Sentence: An off-the-wall yet introspective sequel about responsibility and exploding teddy bears.

Determined to save Mokia from falling into Librarian hands, Alcatraz eludes Knight protection and heads for the island, hoping the protection will follow and aid in the fight. But after convincing the capital city of Tuki Tuki not to surrender, Alcatraz suddenly finds himself in charge and out of his depth as their failing defenses and dwindling numbers struggle to hold out for the coming cavalry. When Alcatraz's mother suddenly appears and reveals that all he's previously learned and assumed about the world may not all be as it seems, he must face some unsettling truths about his family and his Talent as it begins to take on a life of its own.

This was by far the most oddball installment in the series yet, raising the bar quite a few notches with its erratic chapter numbers and introductions, random tangents, and almost complete elimination of the fourth wall as characters constantly commented on being in a book and did things like quoting Hamlet for an entire chapter with almost complete indifference. Unlike previous books though, the off-the-wall antics here felt somewhat exaggerated, more of a gimmick to balance out all the serious elements of the story, and while I could understand and even embrace the serious elements given the series progression from comical ignorance to sober responsibility for both the plot and Alcatraz's character arc, this book sadly lacked the playfulness of the previous books for me.

Also sadly disappointing was the story. The first two-thirds lacked the brilliant spark of the previous books, and while the last third was quite thrilling with lots of excitement and a few interesting twists, as a whole the story was rather unremarkable. Likewise, compared to previous series settings I found Tuki Tuki a bit bland as Mokians are a less-is-more kind of people, although they did have some intriguing eccentricities and made a nice contrast to their the-more-the-better Librarian adversaries.

As expected with this series the writing was smooth and engaging, and although the wit did take a bit of a hit from all the seriousness, even at partial strength the wit was still strong and there was some unique and amusing action to compliment it. Bastille continued to be the capable warrior female that I've loved throughout the series, and even as the "romance" between her and Alcatraz finally began to be realized she remained true to her character about it (as did Alcatraz by being completely clueless about his and her feelings). Only one new Smedry was introduced this book but she was a delightful one, and her Talent, as with all Smedry Talents, really added something special to the story.

Conclusion: While sadly my least favorite of the series so far, The Shattered Lens was still a somewhat fun and adventurous read with eccentric characters and a few laugh out loud moments. If you enjoyed the previous books, this is definitely a must-read.

For Fans Of: Harry Potter

Scribble Rating
3.5 of 5 Scribbles

No comments:

Post a Comment