Brandon Mull, best known for his Fablehaven fantasy series, is back with A World Without Heroes, the first in a three-book series called The Beyonders. Mull creates an alternate world, Lyrian, which needs a hero to overturn an evil emperor. Enter Jason, an average 12-year-old Colorado kid, who falls through a hippo’s mouth and ends up in Lyrian and quickly becomes entangled in its intrigue and adventure. Rachel, a gutsy and clever homeschooler, who also unwittingly ends up in Lyrian, joins him in the quest. These two Beyonders (what Lyrians call people from Earth) attempt to find and piece together the syllables that form a secret word that can destroy the evil emperor when uttered in his presence.
Broadway actor and new narrator Jeremy Bobb shines with the varied and numerous characters. He seamlessly switches among the dozens of characters while keeping them distinct and recognizable in the dialogue-heavy scenes. However, Bobb’s performance is too low energy for the material. This flatness emphasizes some stilted writing and undermines the exciting action sequences.
In A World Without Heroes, Mull successfully creates a full, rich fantastical world. In keeping with the fantasy genre, he includes wizards and invents fun creatures, such as displacers, who can remove and reattach body parts. Though the writing is somewhat mediocre and his protagonists not fully developed, the novel is still entertaining. There are several interesting and shocking plot twists and turns that make this better than the average fantasy. Mull knows his audience and the action, humor, and fast pace are perfect for his readership. The content is age-appropriate and, with both male and female protagonists, adults can enjoy listening with their sons and daughters.
A World Without Heroes is a nice addition to the middle school fantasy genre. Mull fans and fantasy fans will love this new series. Listeners who latch onto Bobb’s character interpretation will anxiously await the next Beyonders installment. Julie MacDonald
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 welcmoed 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.
©2011 Brandon Mull (P)2011 Simon & Schuster
I loved this authors series "Fablehaven," and I am so happy that he has started another series "Beyonders!" This book was very fun, full of excitement and characters that are humorous and courageous! I can't wait for the next one!
Two great passions - dogs and books! Sci-fi/fantasy novels are my go-to favorites, but I love good writing across all genres.
A World Without Heroes is one of those rather rare books that can be enjoyed by both kids and adults. I finished the whole series before writing this review and each of the books is fun and all are mostly G-rated.
This is a fast paced quest type fantasy and unlike many in this vein it is never tedious and includes little graphic violence, no sexual content, and no foul language. The two Beyonders are a little bland as characters, but the inhabitants of Lyrian are universally imaginative and interesting. This would be a great adventure story to share with a child because it is humorous and entertaining enough to engage both kids and adults. The plot is not terribly sophisticated (politics, culture, etc. in Lyrian is fairly minimal) so a child of 8 or 9 is probably old enough to follow the storyline and there are enough twists to keep an older listener engaged as well. Two minor caveats: 1. There are a lot of characters to keep track of and I never found a complete list online like you can for most fantasy novels; 2. A lot of the "good guys" die in the course of completing the quest so this may not be a good choice if you have a very sensitive child.
Jeremy Bobb has a very nicely modulated voice so he is easy to listen to over a series like this. He is a little rough in the first book, but gets better in the 2nd and 3rd. His character voices get better through the series, but much more character differentiation would have been useful with this series that has a huge cast.
This is my first Brandon Mull book, but now that I have listened to The Beyonders series, I hope Audible will make his other books available soon. Even if you don't have a kid to share this with, The Beyonders series is a lot of fun.
I enjoyed this book a lot more than I thought I would - the writing is a little on the flat side and the narrator is pretty affect-less, however, some of the scenes of danger were well done and there is a lot of imagination and originality. The ending of the book has a good twist and of course, ends with a good cliff-hanger! It does make you want more.
a World without Heroes is fantastic! Brandon Mull goes to the same trouble as JK Rowling in creating this special world. It is well thought out and delivered. The idea of
The narrator is fairly average. It isn't difficult to listen to him but it isn't a joy either. He didn't take very much trouble to give different characters their own voice which is something I value.
oh yes! And I can't wait until the others are published. I've heard he's got the series written already--- waiting is a torture!
I would recommend this book to young adult and adult readers.
I've been a fan of Brandon Mull's Fablehaven series and after reading his first book of the Beyonders series I'm hooked again. If you are looking for a family friendly fantacy tale to get lost in, then you've found the perfect author. Audible- please add Fablehaven to your repertoire-your listeners won't regret it and neither will you.
Tangential, eclectic, avid listener... favorite book is the one currently in ear.
This one book broken into three parts... so if you purchase the first you will need to purchase the next two to complete the story. I listened to the beginning a few times without getting hooked (a little too YA)... but when I finally got into it... found it an enjoyable world he had created, with interesting rules and peoples. It is written for YA and because of the extensive violence during wars and battles it would not be a good read for younger children. The last book is darker than the end of Harry Potter series. Many of the main characters die in some pretty icky ways in the overcoming of evil. Although the plot had a predictable ending, getting there had some interesting turns and twists along the way. I agree the narrator improves with each book, but wasn't bad with the first.
I recommend Brandon Mull to everyone I see. The writing is vivid and keeps the reader guessing from beginning to end.
I will never forget the ending to this book. It provides the perfect platform for the sequels, but without feeling forced. As I re-read and re-listen to this book, I find the story is even more alive from knowing all the secrets revealed in the ending.
The characters feel real, and the performance is spectacular throughout.
Lyrian needed a hero. He needed a purpose.
Brandon Mull is worth reading over and over again. Check out his other series, Fablehaven and Candy Shop War, both spectacular reads!
This was an okay Narnia-type trope - a moderate fantasy tale with nothing explicit that would make it inappropriate for kids. Imminently forgettable, but not bad.
I'd recommend it for children listeners. For their adult parents, I'd say give it a listen if you've got nothing else on the ipod and there's a 14 hour road trip in your future.
This is a very entertaining series. You will want to continue on to the next book as soon as this one is over.
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