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Bastille Full Book Reactions Thread

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It's past midnight GMT, so full book discussion is allowed! Post your full book reactions for the sixth Alcatraz book, Bastille vs. The Evil Librarians here! Obviously, there will be spoilers here.

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I was able to get the book a tad earlier than I probably was supposed to, but I asked and received! Overall, I liked this book! It made me genuinely laugh at times. It also felt incredibly short compared to the other Alcatraz books*, which made me feel like something was missing.** But the change of pace and quick pacing were appreciated, and I'm happy that we got to see the ending from Bastille's point of view. I will say that the "skip to the end of the book" gag was not as well placed this time around. I tried it and slightly spoiled myself instead of receiving the punchline of a funny joke. Overall, this was a quick and breezy read, worth the time, but not one I'll probably go back to visit a lot. I do think that this book laid the groundwork for Janci and Brandon's Skyward stuff, and I'm excited to see where their collaborations go in the future. 

 

*That being said, I read 2-3 Alcatraz books a day when I first read them, so who am I to judge?

**I think this was Alcatraz himself, and this was intentional. That doesn't fix the feeling, but it does explain it to me. 

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I also got the book a couple days early, so here were my thoughts:

  • After being disappointed with some of Sanderson's other collaborations, I was pleasantly surprised that this still felt like a "vs The Evil Librarians" book.  Meaning that it didn't feel out of place in the series.  Sure the narrator was different, the humor was different, etc, but a lot of the same tone was still there.  Self-aware poking fun at the writing process, plenty of humor, etc.
  • The plot was a bit short, with more of a focus on characters and relationships.
  • I know this was intentional, but the repeated focus on super-depressed Alcatraz at the beginning got old really fast.
  • The talents sometimes still working even while broken kind of lost me.  I didn't understand how that was happening.
  • I really liked the end.  I appreciated that plot threads were wrapped up, but it wasn't a sickly-sweet "everything is happy now" ending.  I'm glad that Attica is stuck in the lens for good, that the Librarians are still around, etc.  But the world-ending threat is over, and our characters are doing well.
  • Revisiting humor, I really enjoyed the literary license and money words jokes.
  • It was fun getting more info on Gaks.
  • I really enjoyed Bastille's narrative voice.  The whole denying her feelings for Alcatraz was pretty great, especially coming off of another Brandon collaboration that focused too much on ridiculous romance stuff for my taste.

Overall I really enjoyed it!  Happy to finally have a conclusion.

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10 hours ago, Jozomby said:

It was fun getting more info on Gaks.

You have no idea

Also, I finished reading it about 40 minutes ago and I am still randomly shouting yes while doing a weird awkward jump in the air and occasionally dancing.

Edited by Gak
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I have to vent about this book somewhere, so I guess it's going to be here. I feel awkward doing it on the Discord channel with the author right there. Janci, if you're looking at this forum too, I guess this is your warning :lol:

I know finishing a series is hard. Every once in a while an author manages to write a decent series ending, but more often it's a disaster in different forms. Some authors just leave their series hanging (we all know who I'm talking about). Some write an ending but it's REALLY bad. And some... bring in someone else to help. I don't know if this strategy has ever ended well, but this time, in my unsolicited opinion, it hasn't.

Things that were huge deals in the previous books were tossed about casually. After the Talents were broken, Leavenworth's Talent came to him to prevent his DEATH in book 5. That's a very extreme circumstance, and was believable in context. Why was Alcatraz able to break the course of their flight in book 6? If he can still use his Talent sometimes, then the Talents being gone/broken becomes meaningless.

When the librarians got Talents, how was Alcatraz able to break their Talents by merely concentrating? And why was this not a bigger deal? When he broke the Talents in book 4, it was a huge deal, and he had to use a lens and trick his Talent to pull it off. I know in book 4 he broke ALL the talents while in book 6 he only broke the talents of the gathered librarians, but there still should have been some comment about it.

It was not clear / never explained how Biblioden gave the librarians Talents.

It was not clear / never explained why Bastille temporarily became an Oculator.

In book 4, it is explained that the Talents have limitations. It is mentioned that Aydee can only create so many teddy bears with her Talent. Yet in book 6 Alcatraz breaks gravity for the ENTIRE WORLD. I know he had a lot of power stored in him because the Talents were broken, but there should have at least been some sort of comment about what a big deal this was. Everyone just kept taking everything in this book at face value, and I know these books are silly, but in the other books some matters were taken with a certain amount of seriousness which was what made the books so good. There was a consistency to the world building that made me want to read on, made me care about the characters because I knew a solution wouldn't be pulled out of nowhere and the characters would experience growth with their skills. I did not feel that in book 6.

The slantviewers lens gives the ability to see things from a different physical angle at the beginning of the book, to replicate another Oculator's attack at the middle of the book, and to see the emotional perspective of another person at the end of the book. I mean, it's fine if it has more than one ability, but this was never mentioned. Did the user have to do different things to trigger the different uses? The lack of explanation just makes it feel like an inconsistency.

The foreshadowing in book 5 led me to believe we'd learn the Worldspire's secrets in this book. We didn't.

The acknowledgements list a ton of beta and gamma readers. I'm confused how the book went through so many readers yet no one caught the problems I listed above. Next time you guys should make me a beta reader.

Okay, rant done.

The truth is, this was one of my favorite book series, and reading this book made me sad. I'm sure Brandon and Janci did their best, and I'm glad Brandon found a way to end the series rather than leaving us hanging.

Oh, and my favorite part was Alcatraz making up with this Talent. The Breaking Talent is my favorite character.

Edited by Amira
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On 9/28/2022 at 6:56 PM, Amira said:

I have to vent about this book somewhere, so I guess it's going to be here. I feel awkward doing it on the Discord channel with the author right there. Janci, if you're looking at this forum too, I guess this is your warning :lol:

I know finishing a series is hard. Every once in a while an author manages to write a decent series ending, but more often it's a disaster in different forms. Some authors just leave their series hanging (we all know who I'm talking about). Some write an ending but it's REALLY bad. And some... bring in someone else to help. I don't know if this strategy has ever ended well, but this time, in my unsolicited opinion, it hasn't.

Things that were huge deals in the previous books were tossed about casually. After the Talents were broken, Leavenworth's Talent came to him to prevent his DEATH in book 5. That's a very extreme circumstance, and was believable in context. Why was Alcatraz able to break the course of their flight in book 6? If he can still use his Talent sometimes, then the Talents being gone/broken becomes meaningless.

When the librarians got Talents, how was Alcatraz able to break their Talents by merely concentrating? And why was this not a bigger deal? When he broke the Talents in book 4, it was a huge deal, and he had to use a lens and trick his Talent to pull it off. I know in book 4 he broke ALL the talents while in book 6 he only broke the talents of the gathered librarians, but there still should have been some comment about it.

It was not clear / never explained how Biblioden gave the librarians Talents.

It was not clear / never explained why Bastille temporarily became an Oculator.

In book 4, it is explained that the Talents have limitations. It is mentioned that Aydee can only create so many teddy bears with her Talent. Yet in book 6 Alcatraz breaks gravity for the ENTIRE WORLD. I know he had a lot of power stored in him because the Talents were broken, but there should have at least been some sort of comment about what a big deal this was. Everyone just kept taking everything in this book at face value, and I know these books are silly, but in the other books some matters were taken with a certain amount of seriousness which was what made the books so good. There was a consistency to the world building that made me want to read on, made me care about the characters because I knew a solution wouldn't be pulled out of nowhere and the characters would experience growth with their skills. I did not feel that in book 6.

The slantviewers lens gives the ability to see things from a different physical angle at the beginning of the book, to replicate another Oculator's attack at the middle of the book, and to see the emotional perspective of another person at the end of the book. I mean, it's fine if it has more than one ability, but this was never mentioned. Did the user have to do different things to trigger the different uses? The lack of explanation just makes it feel like an inconsistency.

The foreshadowing in book 5 led me to believe we'd learn the Worldspire's secrets in this book. We didn't.

The acknowledgements list a ton of beta and gamma readers. I'm confused how the book went through so many readers yet no one caught the problems I listed above. Next time you guys should make me a beta reader.

Okay, rant done.

The truth is, this was one of my favorite book series, and reading this book made me sad. I'm sure Brandon and Janci did their best, and I'm glad Brandon found a way to end the series rather than leaving us hanging.

Oh, and my favorite part was Alcatraz making up with this Talent. The Breaking Talent is my favorite character.

I hope you don't mind if I piggyback off of your rant a little, because I agree with you wholeheartedly. This book wasn't a disaster... but it was the closest to a disaster I've ever seen a Brandon Sanderson book get. I second everything you said in your rant, but I noticed some other problems that annoyed me.

1st) The Worldspire is supposed to be huge. Like actually, it goes from the core of the earth to the atmosphere. Yet in BvtEL they literally walk to the top. On a spiral staircase. Then they can still breathe and everything, and it's never even a thing. (I know, I know. The air doesn't get thinner as the atmosphere goes up, that's a librarian lie. I actually have a response to this. Shut up. Oh come on, if JRR Tolkien can give it as his response to people who ask why the eagles didn't take the ring to mount doom, I can use it here. So there. Seriously though, this felt like a bad way of explaining anything, and even if air isn't the problem, I never got the sense of SCALE that we are supposed to get from the worldspire.)

2nd) The ending undid everything I loved about book five. Literally. Now I don't love watching people suffer, but I LOVED the ending of the dark talent. I loved it because it made me cry, and it made me understand exactly WHO Alcatraz was. beneath his hilarious exterior, he was one of the most well-developed characters I've ever seen. He really believed himself to be a failure. And Attica scarified himself for the greater good, even though he was also kind of a messed up guy. Bastile undid that, by making Attica's s sacrifice worth nothing. They just made him "live on through the lens" and whatnot. It made me so sad. (With Grampa Smedry I was okay having him live, but Attica's death is what made the whole series feel real to me.) 

3rd) This is a continuation of the previous issue. The foreshadowing in the previous books all amounted to nothing. For example: I LOVED the moment when we realize that Alcatraz's talent is alive. It tells him how unfair it is to be blamed for everything wrong with Alcatraz's life, how unfair it is to be made a thing to be CONTROLLED instead of listened to. Then BvtEL undoes that by passing the whole thing off as a joke. (When Bastile is like "did you try apologizing to your talent?" and then he's just like, oh let me try that, and it works. As if that undoes the anger that the talent should have at him, after being used, even ABUSED because of what it is.) The other bit of foreshadowing that I loved was when we see Kaz's talent BREAK space is book 4. It implied that every talent was a variation of the breaking talent, and I wanted that to be explored, because it was surprising and AWESOME! (I'm sure there's more stuff in this category, so let me know if you guys remember anything.)

I will note here that Bastile temporarily became an Oculator because of the Smedry energy being transmitted into every human being to make them be reduced to nothing. But I agree that that wasn't as clear as it needed to be. I'm sure I made mistakes in my criticism too though, so please let me know if any of my issues with the book are invalid or wrong for whatever reason.

 

Anyway, I'm a bit heartbroken that BvtEL wasn't better, but whatever. The series as a whole is still great. And if anyone loved it, please don't let me issues with that book ruin it for you, I hope you'll continue to enjoy the book.

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To get this out of the way, I liked the book. There were some pacing issues, but on the whole it makes this book feel kinda like a part 2 to Alcatraz 5, which is fine. The ending was great, all in all just a good book. Not the best in the series, but a good book, and a solid ending.

On 9/28/2022 at 8:56 PM, Amira said:

When the librarians got Talents, how was Alcatraz able to break their Talents by merely concentrating? And why was this not a bigger deal? When he broke the Talents in book 4, it was a huge deal, and he had to use a lens and trick his Talent to pull it off. I know in book 4 he broke ALL the talents while in book 6 he only broke the talents of the gathered librarians, but there still should have been some comment about it.

he broke Folsom's talent temporarily, without really concentrating that hard, having way too much power from having his talent turned off, or having his talent completely on his side. I get the feeling that when he 'broke' the talents in book 4, that was more due to the breaking talent getting tired of being hated and abandoning him, leading to all the other talents, which stem from the breaking talent, leaving as well.

On 9/28/2022 at 8:56 PM, Amira said:

It was not clear / never explained why Bastille temporarily became an Oculator.

Biblioden was channeling the power of the Arcana through all the Free Kingdomers, only without giving them talents to siphon it off. This led to Bastille having similar issues to what the Smedry family had when their talents were turned off, overcharging any glass she touched.

On 9/28/2022 at 8:56 PM, Amira said:

In book 4, it is explained that the Talents have limitations. It is mentioned that Aydee can only create so many teddy bears with her Talent. Yet in book 6 Alcatraz breaks gravity for the ENTIRE WORLD. I know he had a lot of power stored in him because the Talents were broken, but there should have at least been some sort of comment about what a big deal this was. Everyone just kept taking everything in this book at face value, and I know these books are silly, but in the other books some matters were taken with a certain amount of seriousness which was what made the books so good. There was a consistency to the world building that made me want to read on, made me care about the characters because I knew a solution wouldn't be pulled out of nowhere and the characters would experience growth with their skills. I did not feel that in book 6.

Well, Alcatraz had access to the Worldspire, and the Breaking talent is the strongest of all the talents. Plus it had been foreshadowed since book three and we'd seen the breaking talent do similar things when not powered up (breaking the language of the Arcana, breaking every librarian weapon in the entire Free Kingdoms). Didn't really feel like too much of a stretch to me.

On 9/28/2022 at 8:56 PM, Amira said:

The slantviewers lens gives the ability to see things from a different physical angle at the beginning of the book, to replicate another Oculator's attack at the middle of the book, and to see the emotional perspective of another person at the end of the book. I mean, it's fine if it has more than one ability, but this was never mentioned. Did the user have to do different things to trigger the different uses? The lack of explanation just makes it feel like an inconsistency.

We've seen lenses have a variety of uses before. Shapers lenses stated ability was to let the user see the deepest desire of whoever it was used on, yet when Alcatraz used it on his mother it showed him how she viewed herself, and there's always Bestowers lenses.

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I enjoyed it, it was an excellent end to an excellent series, and was one of those few where I am not angry at how it ended.

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