Monday, February 28, 2011

Beyonders: A World Without Heroes by Brandon Mull

Jason Walker's life as a normal American boy get turned upside down when he accidentally falls into the hippopotamus tank at the local zoo. Instead of being eaten though, he finds himself in a completely new world. Thus begins his journey through Lyria, a land run by the evil King Maldor. He joins up with Rachel, a girl who also accidentally found herself transported to the strange kingdom, and together the two of them meet many others on their quest for a magic word. The trick will not only be to survive the enemies and treacherous landscapes, but also to find their way home.

I have to say, Brandon Mull's Fablehaven series is one of my FAVORITES of all times. I've recommended it to more people than I can keep track of. I was sad to see it end but was thrilled how the final book wrapped up so nicely. I've had Fablehaven-inspired dreams and fantasies. So Mr. Mull had some pretty large expectations to meet with this new series of his. And meet them he does, mostly. A World Without Heroes did not strike my fancy as much as I had hoped it would, but it was still a fantastic adventure and reading experience. I thought the premise of finding the pieces of a magic word was fun and clever. As with Fablehaven, there is a fun boy/girl duo pulling the story along. Rachel and Jason both brought their own skills and weaknesses to the team, but the two of them together provides all readers with something with which to identify. The story was stuffed so full of exposition, people, and places that it sometimes felt as though I would never be able to keep it all straight. But Mull is no stranger to creating complex worlds and so I found that I was never completely lost. I definitely think this series is aimed at a much older audience than his Fablehaven books were. There are some very dark moments in the plot, as well as a slew of slightly more difficult words and concepts. I loved how witty and intelligent Jason was. Plus there were so many other interesting and unique characters introduced in this first book that readers are bound to be rewarded with seeing more of their favorites in future installments. Fans of Cornelia Funke's Inkheart series will love jumping into the world of Lyria as well. Book two, Seeds of Rebellion, is due to arrive next year!

Overall Rating: 4 Stars

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