Alcatraz versus the Shattered Lens (republished title The Shattered Lens), by Brandon Sanderson, was published in 2010 by Scholastic. It is the sequel to Alcatraz versus the Knights of Crystallia.
Alcatraz Smedry is on a mission to save the day! The boy with all the wrong Talents has a lot to prove and, as always, little time in which to do it. Ib this final adventure, Alcatraz faces an army of librarians—and their giant librarian 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. With his incredibly Talent for breaking things, some explosive teddy bears, and the help of his friends, Alcatraz must face the glass-shattering gigantic robots, an entire arm of evil librarians, and even his ow 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?
Alcatraz versus the Shattered Lens is a step-up from the too-short-yet-too-long Knights of Crystallia. The conflict is decently long, important things happen throughout the book, and the ending is suitably intriguing.
I like the deeper look at the Talents that Sanderson gives us in this book, starting with Aydee’s math Talent and ending with Alcatraz manipulating the Smedry Talents to fit his plan. It also makes one of the main events at the end that much more important. The Talents are the most interesting thing about the Alcatraz series, in my opinion, so I’m glad we got to explore more of their mechanics in this one.
Something I found interesting about the background of this book is that you can sense Sanderson’s rift with Scholastic coming. Not only does the blurb say that this is Alcatraz’s final adventure, even though the series has stated that there will be five, but the fifth book is published by a different publisher. Not to mention Sanderson’s dig at the ridiculous cover art of the series (probably my favorite joke besides the Wheel of Time inside joke). (By the way, I’m displaying the republished art in these posts since it’s so much better). I’m not sure of the details behind Sanderson’s break with Scholastic, but I know that at least the cover art issue is fixed with the fifth book (thank goodness), so the change is likely a good one.
I still wouldn’t say this series is my favorite of Sanderson’s; it’s funny, but lacking in depth, with shaky plot mechanics at times. However, I’m looking forward to seeing how Alcatraz manages in the next book, given the revelation at the end of this book, and Sanderson has never yet disappointed me in the long haul (perhaps in the short, but never the long).
Recommended Age Range: 12+
Genre: Fantasy, Middle Grade
A clanking sound came from behind us. I glanced over my shoulder.
No fewer than fifty Knights of Crystallia were rushing down the hallway in our direction.
“Gak!” I cried.
“Alcatraz, would you stop saying—” Bastille looked over her shoulder. “GAK!”