Wednesday, July 16, 2014

The Beyonders: A World Without Heroes by Brandon Mull

Brandon Mull is a very successful children's author who is from Utah.  He has done several of his book launches here at the library.  I tried to read The Candyshop War and couldn't get through it, so I hadn't even tried "Fablehaven" or "The Beyonders".  Then I read his volume of Spirit Animals, and it wasn't so bad. When I saw the recorded book of the first book of "The Beyonders" I decided to give it a try.  
Cover image for A world without heroes
The book starts out with two kids getting sucked into another world.  They meet up at a library and are sent on a quest to collect the syllables of a magic word that will destroy the evil emperor.  The syllables are guarded by people hiding in the most outrageous places and are protected by magical spells so the emperor will not get them.  As the two teens go in search of the word, they meet a variety of colorful characters, both friends and foes.  I won't say how the book ends, but I will warn that it was never meant to be a stand alone.

I have to admit that the book was a bit of a slog.  I almost quit after CD #6.  I actually had it out of the player and into the case, ready to return to the library.  My main problem is that I didn't care about the main characters enough, and I never thought they had enough personal motivation to do what they were doing.  Why should they believe what people were telling them?  Why should they jump into one amazingly dangerous situation after another just on the word of a stranger?  Also, with every syllable, they were told how impossible their next task was, but then they accomplished it with very little problem.  Oh well. I think that children are not bothered as much by these kind of complaints.  They just like the adventure and interesting fantastical world Mull has created.  (454 p)

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