Friday, April 22, 2011

Review: A World Without Heroes (Beyonders #1) by Brandon Mull

A World Without Heroes (Beyonders, #1)Title: A World Without Heroe's
Author: Brandon Mull
Series: 1st in Triology
Pages: 464
Published: Available now from Alladin
ISBN: 9781416997924
Source: Galley Grab

Description: 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 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.

I Give This ...

At first glance, I passed on this novel.  I was guilty of judging a book by it's cover.  But then I noticed it was by Brandon Mull who is also the author of The Fablehaven series, which is a favorite of mine.  Then it became a must read.

It's a little slow to start, but Mull has to create the background.  Which I know from his previous books, he's marvelous at.   I really enjoyed this world that he has created.  I felt the tension between the people.  Everyone is afraid to draw the emperor's wrath, and those who have his favor bask in the glory.  Everyone who would challenge him is dead.  Or if they've presented a serious threat, they've been given life long immunity at the ultimate palace that they can never leave.   Hidden along the way are those who secretly oppose the emperor.  They are just waiting for the right hero to come along with the courage to follow through and bring him down.

Enter in Jason and Rachel.  Jason was brought into this world by musicians trying to summon a hero. While he doesn't believe he is this person, he will do anything to find away back home.  Even if it means taking up this impossible quest.  Rachel's true roll I think is yet to be fully revealed.  She provides some key support, and some of the adventures could not have been completed without her. 

It's an epic middle grade fantasy with everything you could hope for in the genre.  There's a giant killer crab, frog's with teeth, mushrooms that make you forget, and berries that give you extra energy.  Along they way Jason and Rachel must outwit a chancellor, run on water, escape the palace that no
 one is allowed to leave, and gain an audience with the emperor.  It's really a fantastic novel from beginning to end.  It's not as great as the later books in the Fablehaven series.  But as the first in a new series, it has the makings to be great!

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