Review: The Dark Talent
Monday, March 2, 2020

The Dark Talent (Alcatraz, #5)The Dark Talent by Brandon Sanderson
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Overview: Huh. Well, that happened. Sanderson's writing continues to entertain and engage, but if you're looking for a satisfying ending to the series . . . this isn't it. That said, it seems there will, at some point, be another more final finale.

World building: Hot on the heels of his "save" of Mokia, Alcatraz returns to the Hushlands in an all-out frontal assault on the most protected librarian base, the Highbrary, located under Washington D.C. Other than the vast underground structure of the librarian stronghold, most of the world building comes in the form of an increased understanding about the Smedry talents, how they were made, and what they were for.

Character & Voice:
Alcatraz continues as the narrator and protagonist, alternating between being deeply engrossed in the events of the story and interjecting from his comfortable seat in the future. Sanderson pulls off a very authentic middle grade voice that my daughter really responds to and engages with.

Language & Mechanics:
As a trademark of this series, each chapter is kicked off with an interjection from Alcatraz of the future, usually about a seemingly random topic. Other than these rather jolting breaks, the story flows swiftly with relatively clean prose. I say relatively because Sanderson incorporated a staggering number of footnotes in the book.

Parting thoughts: Upon finishing this book, my daughter (7 years old) was devastated that Bastille's promised conclusion is not yet available. If you have a particularly sensitive kid, you may want to hold off reading this until you can provide a more satisfying ending. Or at least be prepared to offer some kind of distraction.

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