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The Dark Talent: Alcatraz vs. the Evil Librarians #5    by Brandon Sanderson order for
Dark Talent
by Brandon Sanderson
Order:  USA  Can
Starscape, 2016 (2016)
Hardcover, e-Book
* * *   Reviewed by Hilary Williamson

Fans of this series will already know that Brandon Sanderson is really a pen name for Alcatraz Smedry, whose autobiography is captured in these books. Alcatraz, whose quest has long been to stop the Evil Librarians, always broke everything he touched and finally (after defeating the Librarians' army and saving free Mokia) he broke the Smedry Talents (dark powers trapped inside the bloodline).

Now, as this fifth (and final book), The Dark Talent (illustrated by Hayley Lazo) opens, his friend and knight-protector Bastille is in a coma; his father Attica is determined to carry out a mad plan to give everyone in the world a Smedry talent (a recipe for chaos); and his mother Shasta (now their prisoner) is herself an evil Librarian. They have decided to infiltrate the Highbrary (bastion of Librarian power) in order to save Bastille.

So begins a totally zany, often hilarious adventure. And whatever you do, don't jump to the end (even when Alcatraz tells you to) as that's the very best part. I do recommend that you read all the earlier episodes before this one though (I didn't and it made it harder to figure out who's who and what's what). And there's lots of unusual magic (used to attack and defend), often with most unexpected consequences (hence the hilarity).

But you can read the book yourself to follow the adventure. What I liked even more than Alcatraz's and his entourage's exploits are the writing tips, asides, footnotes and bad puns this young biographer injects into his account of what happened. Tons of fun!

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