Alcatraz Versus the Evil Librarians

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Alcatraz Versus the Evil Librarians
Alcatraz vs evil librarians book cover.jpg
Cover of Alcatraz Versus the Evil Librarians, Brandon Sanderson's first juvenile fiction novel.
AuthorBrandon Sanderson
Cover artistMarc Tauss
CountryUnited States
SeriesAlcatraz Versus
GenreFantasy novel
PublisherScholastic Press
Publication date
October 1, 2007 (first edition, hardback)
Media typePrint (Hardback)
Pages320 (first edition, hardback)
ISBN0-439-92550-9 (first edition, hardback)
LC ClassPZ7.S19797 Alc 2007
Followed byAlcatraz Versus the Scrivener's Bones 

Alcatraz Versus the Evil Librarians is a juvenile novel written by American author Brandon Sanderson, published in October 2007 by Scholastic Press. The book is named after its main character, Alcatraz Smedry.

Plot summary[edit]

Alcatraz Versus the Evil Librarians is a young adult novel about Alcatraz Smedry, a young teen who is always breaking things. After receiving a bag of sand for his thirteenth birthday, he is involved in a strange set of events which begins with a group of librarians stealing his bag of sand, which turns out to have rather unusual properties.

The book starts with Alcatraz setting fire to his foster parents' kitchen. It is revealed that he has been in countless foster homes, always ending up with Alcatraz "destroying" things precious to the people taking care of him. Ms. Fletcher, Alcatraz's personal caseworker, arrives and scolds him for destroying his foster parents' kitchen.

The next day an old man arrives at the house and claims to be his grandfather, telling Alcatraz that he has a special, powerful talent for breaking things. He later finds out that there is a secret society called the Librarians, whose purpose is to conquer the remaining Free Kingdomers and rule the world.


The plot evolves around the title character and a small group of freedom fighters operating against the cult of evil librarians that secretly rule the world. These freedom fighters include Alcatraz's grandfather, Leavenworth, usually just referred to as "Grandpa Smedry"; Bastille, Grandpa's bodyguard and a Crystin Knight; Sing Sing - Sing for short - Alcatraz's Polynesian cousin; and Quentin, another cousin. The Librarians include Shasta / Ms. Fletcher, Alcatraz's case worker and Radrian Blackburn, a Dark Oculator.

Smedry Talents[edit]

In the course of the book, it is revealed that Alcatraz's biological family, the Smedrys, all are born with amazing talents that they use to combat the evil cult of librarians.

Alcatraz has the talent of breaking things.

Grandpa Smedry, Alcatraz's grandfather, has the power to arrive late. As such, he is always running behind the clock. But his power also allows him to arrive late to other things, like bullets, which always miss him, and his blood can arrive late to wounds so that he doesn't bleed to death. In his own words "I've been arriving late to my own death for years now."

Sing, Alcatraz's cousin's talent is the ability to trip and fall to the ground. This helps when this is a sign of danger.

Quentin, another cousin, has the talent to speak gibberish or nonsensical phrases. His talent proves beneficial when he is captured by the librarians, as they cannot understand him and thus cannot gain important information from him, even through torture. It is through some of Quentin's supposed gibberish that Alcatraz is prompted to know what to do in future events.

Smedrys from ancient days had grand talents, though relatively unexplained. One could get unbelievable amounts of water on the ground when she did the dishes, which allowed her to end a drought. Another could make rude noises at inappropriate moments, breaking enemies' concentration so they could not use weapons.

If someone not related to the Smedrys marries a Smedry, the person marrying into the family gets their spouse's Talent.


Alcatraz Versus the Scrivener's Bones was released in the United States November 1, 2008. A third Alcatraz book, called Alcatraz Versus the Knights of Crystallia, was released on October 1, 2009. The fourth book, Alcatraz Versus the Shattered Lens, and was released on December 1, 2010.[1] In early 2013, because Scholastic only commissioned the first four books, and was unwilling to publish the fifth book, Sanderson bought back the rights to the series.[2] He later sold the series to Tor Books who will republish the series. The fifth book of the series, entitled Alcatraz Versus the Dark Talent, was released September 6, 2016. No release date has been confirmed[citation needed] for the sixth, newly announced book, (Bastille Versus The Worldspire) because it is not written yet.

Film adaptations[edit]

DreamWorks Animation acquired the film rights to Alcatraz Versus the Evil Librarians in June 2008.[3] On January 3, 2011, Brandon Sanderson, the author of the novel, tweeted that DreamWorks did not renew the rights.[4]


  1. ^ ""Chapters page for Alcatraz Versus the Shattered Lens"". Archived from the original on 2014-05-25. Retrieved 2010-12-08.
  2. ^
  3. ^ Sanderson, Brandon (June 2, 2008). "Two Super Huge Announcements!". Brandon Sanderson. Retrieved November 16, 2012. The book I mentioned last week is ALCATRAZ VERSUS THE EVIL LIBRARIANS. It has been optioned by Dreamworks Animation, though I can't go into details about who is working on the project at the moment, I've been very impressed with the work of the director and producer involved.
  4. ^ Sanderson, Brandon (January 3, 2011). "Alacatraz movie has seen better days. (Dreamworks did not renew.) Mistborn movie is still about the same". Twitter. Retrieved November 16, 2012.