Monday, May 9, 2011

Beyonders, A World Without Hereos, by Brandon Mull- Review

I am a HUGE Fablehaven fan.   The hubby introduced me to the series by buying the box set of the first four books for me one Christmas or birthday or some such, and they launched a bit of a mania, to say the least.  This was compounded by the non-release of the concluding part- Keys to the Demon Prison, in Canada, which meant I had to wait an extra month before sinking my teeth into it.  So it goes without saying I was going to read The Beyonders series with bells on.

It took me awhile to get to it (so many books! only one set of eyes!), and the hubby beat me to the draw and then mocked me for it, but last week I finally started it. 

During an average day of volunteering at the Zoo, Jason takes a strange fall and ends up in another world.  While wandering around lost, he rapidly gets himself into a boatload of trouble and voila!, he's arch enemy #1 to the evil emperor Maldor.  Turns out bad luck, and fate are a mean combination.  Soon Jason must chose if he will be Lyrian's unlikely Hero, or if he just wants to pack up and go home.

I love Brandon Mulls books, I really do, but beginnings are not his forte. Although the story takes off rapidly and there's no lack of action and adventure it always takes a bit to warm up to his characters.  For whatever reason they tend to come off a bit flat to begin with.  About a third of the way in his characters seem to blossom and from there on are great (keep in mind this is only the case with a new series and not at all the case after the first book). 

Like in Fablehaven, Lyrian is populated with wonderful fantasy.  Giant killer frogs bigger than men, deadly but deliciously addictive pies, unusual races who grow from seeds or can remove body parts at will, and of course a truly intriguing bad guy.  Part way into the book, Mulls trademark humor started to appear, and if I hadn't already been totally won over, I was then.  I was in tears over an attempted torture scene where Jason was fed truth serum only to befuddle his captors by babbling on about how cute a girl was and how much he liked her.

One of the signs of a really great middle school authors, is someone who can write a book as appealing to girls as it is to boys, and Mull easily does this with A World Without Heroes.  Although Jason is the main character, he does have an awesome tough girl sidekick named Rachel who holds her own throughout. 

A fun read with a great cliff hanger ending, I can't wait to get into Seeds of Rebellion next winter!

Beyonders, A World Without Heroes, by Brandon Mull
Published by Alladin, March 2011
Buy Beyonders on Amazon

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