Yes this series is Middle Grade and sort of ridiculous but it is awesome. It is like Sanderson’s way to blow off steam, try things that he can’t put into one of his Adult Fantasy’s and stretch that uber creative mind of his.
• All the Smedry’s are named before/after prisons. Hence names like Alcatraz, Lebanon, Attica, Sing and Australia (think about it).
• Every superpower seems totally awful until you learn what you can actually do with them. I mean who wants the talent of breaking things, arriving late, getting lost (I do that quite well on my own), or waking up really ugly in the morning? They seem like silly things that wouldn’t be good for anything until they are proven to be masterfully useful and I wouldn’t mind having a talent or two.
• Then there is Sanderson making fun of himself a little or writers in general.
*** “Writers—particularly storytellers like myself—write about people. That is ironic, since we actually know nothing about them. Think about it. Why does someone become a writer? Is it because they like people? Of course not. Why else would we seek out a job where we get to spend all day, every day, cooped up in our basement with no company besides paper, a pencil, and our imaginary friends? Writers hate people. If you’ve ever met a writer, you know that they’re generally awkward, slovenly individuals who live beneath stairwells, hiss at those who pass, and forget to bathe for weeklong periods. And those are the socially competent ones.” ***
• There is also that special last chapter that I’m pretty sure a lot of writers have at one point in time thought about doing to their readers…Well at least the readers who skip to the last chapter to see if there beloved character made it to the end.
• Sanderson also gets to make fun of the genre a little bit. I mean seriously in most MG and YA books the Adults are either evil or crazily absent.
*** “Adults are not idiots
often in books such as this one, the opposite impression is given. Adults in those stories will either (a) get captured, (b) disappear conspicuously when there is trouble, or (c) refuse to help. ( im not sure what authors have against adults, but everyone seems to hate them to an extent usually reserved for dogs and mothers. Why else make them out to make such idiots? "Ah look, the dark lord of evil has come to attack the castle! Annnd. ther's my lunch break. Have fun saving the word on your own kids")
In the real world adults tend to get involved in everything whether you want them to or not. They won't disappear when the dark lord appears, though they may try to sue them.
This discrepancy is yet another proof that most books are fantasies while this book is utterly true and invaluable. ***
• There is also a construction project in one of the chapters just for giggles and some silly talk about a bunny with a bazooka…probably just because he could.
Sometime while reading this I wondered if this was a like a writing scavenger hunt game to see how many weird and different things you could put in your book. Like Garth Nix gave Sanderson a list of weird things to see how many he could fit in a book just for fun.
The lost Library of Alexandria isn’t really lost but instead is just hidden from the Hushlanders (that’s us). But it isn’t really a safe place either since if you take a book to read you have to give the zombie like librarians there your soul for all eternity….wuwahahahwah.
Seems like a horrible place to go except that is where Alcatraz’s father is most likely and also were Grandpa Smedry has decided to run off to. In order to help them Alcatraz also needs to go to the library and try to rescue his father before he ends up an undead librarian too.
Yes it is middle grade but like a Rick Riordan book it is so much fun and there is something for everyone that it is a great read even for adults…who are not idiots.