As I may have mentioned before, Brandon Sanderson is my favorite Fantasy author (and there is really no author of any genre I like more, just a few I like equally). So although I am never much interested in reading Young Adult fiction, it’s no surprise that I’m willing to try some out when Sanderson writes it.
Alcatraz Smedry has just turned 13 and found out that he comes from a long line of Oculators (people who can use magical lenses to produce all sorts of effects) with odd Talents (his is breaking things). The world as we know it is really controlled by Librarians who want to keep us in the dark about all the advancements that have been happening on the continents we’re not supposed to know about. The Librarians have stolen Alcatraz’s birthright and a cast of characters have just shown up to rescue him and help retrieve it.
This is a fun, quirky adventure story with a whole lot of teenage attitude. Sanderson’s penchant for creating unique magical systems and surprise endings is fully in tact.
There is unfortunately a lot of snarky commentary in every chapter by Alcatraz the narrator. I think it’s supposed to be funny, and perhaps it is at times, but it heavily breaks up the flow of the story at the beginning of every chapter (except one, which he very quickly points out a page later), which got old very quickly.
Since I don’t read YA novels as a rule, I don’t know how well this book compares to others in its genre. I’m certainly not its target audience. But despite my complaints, the resolution of the story was good enough that I would consider picking up the next in the four book series.
Rating: 2.5 out of 5