Sunday, March 6, 2011

Beyonders: A World Without Heroes: By Brandon Mull



Jason Walker has often wished his life could be a bit less predictable--until a routine day at the zoo ends with Jason suddenly transporting from the hippo tank to a place unlike anything he's ever seen. In the past, the people of Lyrian welcmoed visitors from the Beyond, but attitudes have changed since the wizard emperor Maldor rose to power. The brave resistors who opposed the emperor have been bought off or broken, leaving a realm where fear and suspicion prevail.

In his search for a way home, Jason meets Rachel, who was also mysteriously drawn to Lyrian from our world. With the help of a few scattered rebels, Jason and Rachel become entangled in a quest to piece together the word of power that can destroy the emperor, and learn that their best hope to find a way home will be to save this world without heroes.


I hadn’t read any of Brandon Mull’s previous books when I picked this up. Someone recommended it to me and asked if I would review it, and so I said sure I’d be happy to take a look at it. From the first page I was riveted by the dark and powerful opening that propels the reader into the world of the Lyrian.

Of course the book seemed to change from the type of storytelling seen in the introduction to the first few chapters. Characters are given quests, they must overtake a sitting evil ruler, and they are the only hope as this is a land ruled by fear and corruption. This whole setup seemed a little simplistic and the quest reminded me very much of an old math adventure computer game from JumpStart that you travel around and solve riddles and math puzzles to help beat the game.

Of course there is a reason that those games were as popular as they were, and everyone my age played them at some point in time. Because they were incredibly well targeted for that age group. This is exactly what Mull has done with the Beyonders series, by targeting a specific age group that will be sure to respond to his writing.

What Mull really adds to the story is his ability to create inventive and interesting magics and creatures. My personal favorites were the characters/creatures Jasher, a seed person, and Ferrin, a displacer. I found both of these wizardborn (I assume the seed people of Amar Kabal were wizardborn because of there rebirth through seeds but I don’t believe it was actually stated that they were so I might be wrong) characters fascinating. The ability to detach one’s body and survive is a fascinating (and useful) ability that I felt was both unique and interesting to read about. These characters were also complex and really helped bring a higher level of action and adventure to the story.

Yet, while the quest seemed simplistic the twists that Mull introduces and especially at the end of the book make for an exhilarating spin on the story. Because of this shocking revelation at the end which promises to bring an excellent sequel in Seeds of Rebellion, the interesting wizardborn characters, and the quest, this book is perfect for it’s recommended age group. It will engross both boys and girls between 3rd to 8th grade, and after the revelations at the end, even a much older reader such as myself can’t wait for the next book in this exciting series.

9 out of 10


Publisher: Aladdin

Published: March 15, 2011

Price: $19.99

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