Author: Brandon Mull
Brandon Mull is kind of a big deal here in Utah, but up until last month I hadn’t yet read any of his books. They are always well stocked at the bookstores, and his books are even advertised on billboards here. He is most known for his Fablehaven series, which contains 5 books and features a variety of legendary creatures. The first book in that series has been sitting on my shelf–unread–for months. After reading the first book in his new series, which is called A World Without Heroes, I think I will finally be starting on Fablehaven.
Beyonders: A World Without Heroes is a thick book at nearly almost 500 pages, and is the beginning of an exciting adventure series that may appeal to fans of Percy Jackson and Harry Potter. Jason Walker is a 13-year-old boy who feels somewhat unloved by his parents and wishes that his life were more interesting. One day he gets his wish when he accidentally stumbles into Lyrian after getting swallowed by a hippo at the zoo where he volunteers. The citizens of Lyrian are mistrusting of visitors from the Beyond, so Jason must keep his identity a secret. An evil wizard named Maldor rules over the land, and the people have given up fighting for their freedom. They need a hero to overthrow Maldor, but those who would have fought for their land have switched to Maldor’s side or been thwarted.
Instead of searching for a way back to his home, Jason takes up the hero mantle. If he can learn all the syllables of one magical world, Maldor will cease to be ruler. The fate of Lyrian rests in Jason’s hands, and with the help of another Beyonder, a girl named Rachel, they must embark on an epic journey to save this otherworldly realm and find a way back home.
I really love Brandon Mull’s writing style. He doesn’t dumb his words down to be more accessible to a younger audience, so this book will also appeal to adult fantasy readers as well. I was a little bit disappointed, however, that this adventure story more prominently features a male protagonist. Rachel does very little–if anything–to further the plot. She desperately wants to prove herself, but I felt that Mull is holding her back. I have a sneaking suspicion that this might be because she will have a bigger role in the future books, but if I’m wrong then I don’t like the message this sends to female readers.
A World Without Heroes left me hanging at the very end, and I am eager to find out what will happen next. Seeds of Rebellion will be hitting the shelves in the spring of 2012, and has definitely made it onto my Must Read list.
*I received a copy of this book to review but I was not financially compensated in any way. The opinions expressed are my own and are based on my observations while reading this novel.*