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Alcatraz Versus The Knights Of Crystallia by Brandon Sanderson
Review by Beth Slater
Scholastic Press Hardcover  ISBN/ITEM#: 9780439925556
Date: 01 October 2009 List Price $16.99 Amazon US / Amazon UK / Show Official Info /

After two books, Alcatraz is finally on his way home. Home a place he's never been. Home for Alcatraz is the Free Kingdom city of Nalhalla where his father and grandfather grew up, and near where is best friend Bastille, one of the Knights of Crystallia, also was raised. Of course, right now Bastille has been stripped of her armor because she lost her sword actually, Alcatraz broke it although no one believes THAT because their swords are unbreakable. But the Smedry talents are indisputable, and historical. Either way, Bastille must prove herself to win back her armor and her position. But Alcatraz is in for more than one surprise, and that's before his flying crystal bird, Hawkwind, explodes mid-air.

His first inkling that things were different was when he saw that all the buildings were castles. A little unusual, but okay. When he found out that one of the three largest: A the king's castle, B the Knights of Crystallia, C ?? what do you mean, Smedry's?

OK. So, his family is a little more important than he figured. And everyone knew who he Alacatraz was. They knew his mother The Evil Librarian married his father to get his Smedry talent, and then stole Alcatraz after he was born. Having strangers waving to him on the street has him disconcerted, but he's adaptable. When the dragon appears to taxi them, Alcatraz decides adaptable is a good thing. But being transported to another building in under a second WOW. That's just cool. Finding out your father, estranged father, despite finding him and traveling with him discovered how to do this really cool. Discovering your father won't give you the time of day? Absolutely uncool.

Grandpa Smedry takes Alcatraz to the King's Counsel meeting late, of course, and disrupts it with their return. Everyone wants to greet all the newly returned. Alcatraz gets to meet a lot of new family and faces, as is becoming the norm.

But in the new town, he's discovering new clues to strange happenings, and is unsure how to follow them out or see what is supposed to happen against what would normally happen. And he's not getting any help from his father, who has undertaken a new research project. Bastille is busy with her knights and her judgment. How will Alcatraz save his city this time?

Despite traveling home to settle things, Alcatraz Smedry has not lost his touch on living an exciting life. There is always something new to learn and it can't not help. The friendships developed are true and loyal, despite the tests they are given. And the characters are not always seen in black and white, despite what the storyline might depict. I truly enjoy these books, despite my despised Librarian status...and I do recommend them for active readers to enjoy.

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