My rating: 4 of 5 stars
The second book in Brandon Sanderson’s “Alcatraz” series proved to be so much fun, probably not with as much apparent zaniness as the first book, but I enjoyed it immensely. Yes, Alcatraz is still the lovable unreliable narrator that he was in the first book, but this book has him undertaking a different venture as he searches for his grandfather and father in an adventure that takes him to a library in Alexandria, Egypt. He joins up with his cousin Australia, his friend Bastille (who’s awesome as always), as well as his uncle Kaz to undertake the task and makes a great deal of discoveries along the way. Usually if a book can make me laugh, it’s a good sign of how much it makes an impression on me, and this book had me grinning from ear to ear. (I still can’t believe Sanderson took that aim at Garth Nix, wasn’t expecting that, among other things. :P)
I think Sanderson uses the unreliable narration rather well in both the previous book and this one, and they’re among my favorite books that use that device. It’s a method that’s usually hit or miss and difficult to do, but as with the previous book he uses it to not only define the character voice and narrative but make the read entertaining. I think this is a great book for its respective audience (middle grade primarily, though young adults could also enjoy this very much). It’s a fantasy series that flows very well in the narrative, the action is on point, the humor well delivered and even absurd (yeah, Sanderson tells you to turn the book upside down and tells you that you look silly reading it that way – I’m not kidding. There are other things but I won’t spoil the experience).
I’m definitely looking forward to the next book in this series and would recommend it for middle grade/YA fantasy fans who like humor/parody mixed with a good blend of action and adventure.