Sunday, February 12, 2023

Book Review: Bastille Vs. the Evil Librarians by Brandon Sanderson and Janci Patterson (Alcatraz Vs. the Evil Librarians #6)

Stars: 5 out of 5
Pros: Laughs and thrills as a story finally reaches its conclusion
Cons: The librarians are censoring the cons
The Bottom Line:
A story concludes
With plenty of action, laughs
Finally, we have it

Fanciful and Funny Finale.  Finally.

It’s been a long five years since we got the previous book in the Alcatraz Vs. the Evil Librarians series, and considering the dark cliffhanger we were left with, it felt even longer.  I’d kept an eye out, so I was thrilled to see that we were finally getting the true final volume, Bastille Vs. the Evil Librarians.  I was hoping it would redeem the ending of the previous book, and it did.

If you aren’t familiar with this series, I definitely don’t recommend you start here.  This is a fantasy series with its own unique world, and it’s best to learn about it as Alcatraz does.  Plus, this is the climax of the story, and you don’t want to jump in at the climax, right?  Not to mention we pick up right at cliffhanger from the previous book.  Honestly, I was a little worried that I should be going back to the previous books to refresh my memory before picking this book up.  I am glad to say that enough of the story came back to me to enjoy what happened here.

But if you are new, here’s a crash course.  We live in the Hushlands and are ruled over by evil librarians who control all knowledge in order to keep us subject to them.  Alcatraz is a Smedry, who have been fighting the librarians for a long time.  They have talents that help them.  You know, things like getting lost, breaking things, or arriving late.  And Bastille?  She’s a member of the Knights of Crystallia who have sworn to protect the Smedrys at all costs.

As I said, this book opens right where the previous one ended.  That means Alcatraz is dressed in a tux tied to an altar of outdated encyclopedias in the Highbrary having just experienced two horrific personal losses.  That’s when Bastille finally wakes up from her coma and comes rushing in to try to save the day.  But with the leader of the librarians on his way to enact his evil plan half way around the world, can anyone stop him?  Especially since Alcatraz doesn’t seem to have it in him to fight any more.

Despite the dark ending of the previous book, this book once again has plenty of fun.  There’s word play, impossible situations, and scenes involving the talents that will absolutely make you laugh.  Not to mention the continued tradition of commenting on the action or elements of writing or storytelling in general at the start of each chapter.  I’ve laughed my way through the series and this book was no exception.

I’ve talked about the dark ending of the previous book a couple of times now.  First, you should know that this book doesn’t include anything nearly as dark despite the fact that we are facing the true climax to the story.  Alcatraz does have to deal with the consequences of what happened, and I felt that was handled in a realistic manner.  There are some deeper things to chew on, especially for a comedic children’s book, and both Alcatraz and Bastille grow as a result.

The rest of the characters?  There isn’t too much depth to them, but they work for the story and they are a delight, so it’s not an issue.  And this is a kid’s book, where characters often aren’t fully developed anyway.

At the risk of wading into spoiler territory, I will say that not everything at the end of the last book was as it appeared.  It’s not negated, but it is lessened, and I found that made me look at the previous book in a better light.

And there’s the action.  The story moves quickly from one death defying situation to another.  You won’t want to put it down once you start.

As with the others, I listened to this book on audio.  Suzy Jackson takes over as narrator here since Bastille is writing in first person, and she does a great job.  Ramon de Ocampo, who narrated the previous books, does pop in for one brief part, which was fun.

Bastille Vs. the Evil Librarians is everything I wanted from the conclusion of this story.  If you are a fan of the series, you will definitely enjoy what happens here.  If you are new, prepare for a wild and funny ride.  And, now that the story is completed, you can enjoy without worrying about cliffhangers.

Here are the rest of the Alcatraz Vs. the Evil Librarian books.

This review is part of this week’s Marvelous Middle Grade Monday round up.


  1. I’m glad that you enjoyed this book Mark. Enjoy the rest of your weekend.

  2. Lots of laughs is always good in a book for me. Nice review, Mark.

  3. Sadly, I've only read the first book. It has one of my favorite lines.
    "Great success often depends upon being able to distinguish between the impossible and the improbable. Or, in easier terms, distinguishing between popsicles and insanity." Glad you enjoyed this one as well. Happy MMGM

  4. I have not read any of the books in the series but your enticing review has them high on my future read list. Thanks for the heads up and Happy MMGM!

  5. I haven't heard about this series. I don't read much fantasy, but I have family who will love this. Good to know about. Thanks for the heads up.


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