A World Without Heroes — Brandon Mull
To be honest, I haven’t read anything from Brandon Mull yet, notwithstanding his well-known children’s series Fablehaven (which I certainly would like to check out some time), not until Beyonders: A World Without Heroes. I’ve been seeing this on GR for a while now, so imagine my exhilaration as soon as I found this on Booksale’s crammed shelves; thus, I momentarily purchased it without any second thoughts.
The story kicks off when a 13-year old middle-grader, Jason, heard an unusual sound coming from a hippo tank. He eventually realized that the strange sound was taking place inside the hippo’s mouth. And as curiosity killed the cat, Jason probed the tank and accidentally plunged straight into the hippo’s mouth, finding himself in a peculiar world very different from our own. Not a very appealing magical portal, eh? In this foreign world, which native folks call Lyrian, he also met a Beyonder named Rachel. Together, with the aid of helpful friends and allies, these Beyonders embarked on a perilous quest to recover the syllables for the solitary word that could defeat the evil emperor Maldor.
The hippo thingy as an enchanted aperture from our world to Lyrian is quite an ingenious device of fascinating readers—if not disgusting to some extent. Haha. Brandon Mull certainly established an interesting introduction to the world of Lyrian that greeted readers with a widening awe. Add to that the imaginative fabrication of characters that will amazingly capture every reader’s curiosity such as the displacers who can detach their body parts to function single-handedly then mend themselves back again, the Amar Kabal or People of the Seed who can live numerous of lives by replanting their seeds on the ground, carnivorous toads, constriptors, a blood-thirsty crab, and a whole lot more. Mull isn’t likewise afraid of killing off a few characters that had slightly impinged upon every reader’s heart and unpredictable character twists that I didn’t really see coming; or perhaps I’m just seriously slow-witted. LOL. Every chapter is chock-full of action and unnecessarily repetitive to the previous chapters; hence, readers get to taste a manifold of page-turning scenes without getting any familiarity.
I do not have a problem with the length whatsoever but some scenes just dragged on too long—I think the story would’ve been polished more without them. In the case of middle-graders, to whom this book was really intended for, I believe the length would be a challenge to them but think of the fulfillment you’ll earn otherwise; that would be quite worthwhile.
Gory scenes weren’t spared in here which would not be very welcoming for kids but they weren’t graphic enough to be that horribly gruesome. But still, recommended to older ones.
And because Rick Riordan gave a review on this book, I cannot refrain myself from comparing this to his Percy Jackson books. I don’t know why, but seeing his name on the cover gave me an idea. Haha. The main protagonists in here reminds me of the two main protagonists in the PJ books—Percy and Annabeth. Both Percy and Jason were geek kids who suddenly turned out to be heroes, while Annabeth and Rachel encompass the all-knowing female characters. There is also an oracle here and the quest reminded me much of Percy’s quests. Coincidences or not, my mind is certainly tainted with much PJ stuff.
I’ve seen a lot of lucky chances that befell on the protagonists all throughout the book. At times, it was considerably fine but a myriad of these can be quite irritating, too. They were totally doomed in a moment, but then a new character emerges and rescues them. And what with all of the things that they had encountered and lost already, Rachel still has her camera? Ugh.
My worst complain so far is the anti-climactic denouement. I’ve been placidly bearing to finally finish this 450-page book and then I get that? Screw you. (I didn’t really mean that last part.)
Overall, it was still a nice read despite some of my horrible remarks. If you’re a fantasy buff, you might as well try this one.