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Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Holding Out for a Hero: Joint Review

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

Ruby's Take: Jason Walker lives a very normal life for a 13-year-old boy, but when an event at the hippo exhibit during his volunteer job at the zoo leads him to the land of Lyrian, life is anything but normal. Upon entering this place, he comes across a gathering of people who are watching a suicidal sacrifice of musicians called "The Giddy Nine" on the river and over a very large waterfall. In seeing this, Jason tries to stop it, but may have done more harm than good.
In trying to determine where he is, he stumbles upon the Repository of Learning. He is told by the Loremaster (the librarian) that Jason is a Beyonder. Beyonders are rarely seen in Lyrian, but there still exist portals that connect Jason's world to this one. Hoping for more information, he is forbidden to enter the third floor. Curiosity and the thought that there might be knowledge there that will help him get home leads him to his destiny. In this unused portion of the Repository, he discovers and reads a page, and in particular a syllable that will delay his journey home and set him on another journey. He now has to find all the syllables to a "Word" that will destroy the wizard ruler of Lyrian, Maldor. These syllables are hidden all over Lyrian. With the help of Rachel, a girl from the same place as Jason (although Jason is from California and Rachel is from Washington), they will have to use their wits and each other to piece together the "Word." With Maldor and his minions on their trail, their journey is fraught with peril...from friend and foe alike.
A great new adventure series from the author that gave us Fablehaven. This series has a darker overtone than his previous books, but the adventure is even greater. Jason and Rachel are very likable characters, and I love how stubborn they both are! It will be very hard to wait for Book Two, Seeds of Rebellion, coming out in Spring of 2012, with the final installment in Spring of 2013.


Jenny's Take: I loved this book! I've been a Brandon Mull fan ever since I read the first book in his Fablehaven series--another great adventure series that's good for both boys and girls--and Beyonders exceeded my expectations. Fast-paced and action-packed, Mull creates another world that's full of amazing creatures and sparkling personalities. (And really, any story that starts with a main character getting swallowed by a hippo? Automatically a winner!)

Pulled into Lyrian, a heavy burden falls on both Jason and Rachel as they realize their destinies are tied and they have little hope of survival unless they accept the journey life has thrust upon them. The only surviving wizard, Maldor, rules Lyrian with an iron fist, always increasing his holdings. His only known weakness is a single, six-syllable word, pieces of which are scattered throughout the world in the most dangerous and magical marshes, deserts, and temples. With the support of a fallen royal hero, Galloran, who previously failed the same quest, Jason and Rachel set out to achieve the impossible by piecing together the Word, meeting countless intriguing characters and moral decisions along the way.

If you're looking for strong, stubborn, and interesting characters, look no further. Though their relationship is rocky at first, Jason and Rachel develop a trusting partnership that gets them into trouble and out of it again as they strive to be worthy of the title "hero" in a land not their own.

Full of fun and drama, jokes and tension, Beyonders is a great first-in-series book! I can't recommend it enough to anyone looking for a great read.


Ages 9+
Publisher: Aladdin (March 2011)
ISBN: 9781416997924
Available as an eBook
Image from www.simonandschuster.com

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