I am a sucker for a geographical journey in a book, especially a fantasy book. Meeting new characters, facing challenges and developing as a person are all part of geographical journeys. I was delighted to find that this was a huge part of the plot in this first book in the Beyonders series, A World Without Heroes. Thirteen-year-old Jason finds himself in a whole new world when he is lured into a hippo’s mouth (weird, I know) and is sent down a mysterious tunnel. There he first meets the loremaster, protector of knowledge, and mistakenly opens a book that sends him on a dangerous and necessary journey to being a hero.
I do not normally read fantasy novels, and am not familiar with the staple characteristics of this genre, but I will say that I enjoyed this book. While the teenage characters fell flat for me in some places, the characters they meet along their journey just came to life before my eyes. Even if the character was only around for 20 to 30 pages, I was fascinated with their place in the world of Lyrian and how they would contribute to Jason and Rachel’s journey. The history and connections among the characters that are pieced together throughout the book are fascinating.
The world of Lyrian seemed a bit mysterious at times, which very well could be part of the set-up of the book series. I didn’t have any specific questions that went unanswered, but I felt like there were some gaps in the history and in some of the characters. The author did a great job of world-building and introducing us to this fantasy place, all while maintaining a tremendous amount of characters and the plot itself. Brandon Mull’s novels are must-reads for the middle grade fantasy lover. Thanks to Simon & Schuster for the advanced copy of this novel.
BEYONDERS: A WORLD WITHOUT HEROES
by Brandon Mull
Published by Aladdin Books