Book review: Brandon Sanderson's long-awaited 'The Dark Talent' is a humorous adventure

Posted August 27

"THE DARK TALENT: Alcatraz vs. The Evil Librarians Book Five," by Brandon Sanderson, Starscape, 299 pages (f) (ages 9-12)

New York Times best-selling author Brandon Sanderson returns with the conclusion of the Alcatraz vs. The Evil Librarians series, "The Dark Talent."

This fifth book has been long-awaited by fans of the series. According to Sanderson's website, the first four books of the series were published by Scholastic from 2007-2010, but the publisher chose not to publish a fifth book and Sanderson purchased the rights back. In 2015, Sanderson announced in another post on his website that Tor (Starscape) would re-release the first four books and fans would finally be able to read this fifth and final book.

“The Dark Talent” does not disappoint. It picks up right where the fourth left off, with Alcatraz defeating the army of Evil Librarians, but his best friend, Bastille, is in a coma. Alcatraz is also left talentless, and his dad has some plans that could ruin the world.

Without his family talent, Alcatraz, 13, doesn’t have the power to manipulate glass as easily as he used to, which was the reason he had been so successful in the past. Now, he needs to get into the Library of Congress, which is the main center for all of the Evil Librarians, to get a cure for his friend, all while figuring out where he stands in his family relationships and trying to put an end to the Evil Librarians for good.

This final installment takes the reader on a wild ride, not only through the characters sneaking around and their interesting discoveries, but through Alcatraz's character growth. The first book in the series sees him starting out in a foster home, and this book will show him accepting his family and learning who he wants to be.

Sanderson’s ever-present humor is better than ever, with a footnotes addition that will keep readers on their toes. Alcatraz's snarky voice leads readers through the amazing world that Sanderson expertly built for a truly immersive read.

The ending may be quite the shocker for some, with a very abrupt resolution, but readers who have read all of the books will understand it better.

“The Dark Talent” has no swearing or sexual content. It does contain mild violence with fighting and weapons used to kill, but no graphic descriptions.

Tara Creel is a Logan-native-turned-California-girl and mother of four boys. Her email is taracreel@gmail.com, and she blogs at taracreelbooks.wordpress.com.


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