Friday, May 15, 2015

Review: Beyonders: A World Without Heroes by Brandon Mull

Title: Beyonders: A World Without Heroes
Author: Brandon Mull
Publication Date: February 14, 2012
Target Age Group: Middle Grade
My Rating: 4 1/2 out of 5

Book Description (from Amazon)

Jason Walker has only 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 welcomed 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.

My Review

This is a book I received from the author at Book Expo America 2013, so thank you, thank you, to BEA and the author.

First of all, I loved this book. For starters, it has to have one of the most unique ways a character has ever been transported to another world in all the books I've ever read. That gets bonus points from me.

Second, this book is an epic quest, which is also high on my list of favorite types of books to read. Jason and Rachel enter this strange world of Lyrian unwillingly, and are only interested in returning home. However, they are drawn into a quest to find a magic word that will destroy Maldor, an evil wizard who rules over this broken land. At first, they both embark on the quest in order for it to lead to their way back to our world, but the more people they meet who are dedicate to the cause of destroying the evil wizard, the more involved they become. In contrast, coming across the many un-hero-like people in Lyrian also cause them to strengthen their resolve. Lyrian needs heroes, and Jason and Rachel step up nicely as the story progresses.

Third, keeping with the epic theme for a moment, the scope of the world of Lyrian is epic as well. Reading this book reminded me of playing a computer game called Myst. For those who have never seen this game, it's an amazingly detailed game where you navigate a fantasy world, solving puzzles along the way. I felt this book was very similar in that Jason and Rachel had to solve puzzles in order to find the pieces of the magic word that would destroy Maldor. Plus, Brandon Mull's skills at world-building made this book as vivid as that game was. 

Fourth... twist ending! Which I won't give away.

Fifth, there is lots of action, and many supporting characters whose alliances are always in question, which makes for interesting reading.

I could go on.

Why didn't I rate this a 5? I was very close. There was one thing that kept nagging at me, so I had to dock a few decimal points. I did notice there was some filler in this book, much of which involved either traveling from place to place, eating, or going to sleep or waking from sleep. Some of that probably could've been trimmed. 

Other than that, a very satisfying read, and one I recommend to everyone who likes fantasy, adventure, and mystery. This book is part of a series, so I can't wait read more! The copy I have has a small section of book two, which definitely piqued my interest.

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