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
exciting, original, well-written
Jason, Rachel and Ferrin ...really!
his voices are wide-ranging and excellent!
travel to a world you would never imagine.
I can't wait for the third book (on tape)!!!!
I love that the twist and turn in the plots
The tempo of this book was awesome everytime i thought ok its safe to take a short break it sucked me in even further.
The authors loyalty to his characters was FANTASTIC
I got this book thinking it might be a great book to listen to with my children (10-13) and i am sure it will be when we take our next trip. I was more then pleasntly shocked when i realized it was 4am and i was still sucked into the story. Though the story cover some more advanced social topics, the story never suffers in the least. i hope you enjoy the twists and turns as much as I did.
BEWARE the HIPPO
I bought both the hard copy and the audiobook, and the audiobook kept putting me to sleep. The reading is just sluggish. The reader zaps the energy and momentum out of the book. I abandoned the audiobook, and simply read the last half on my own - I enjoyed it much more. I plan to read the next installment of the series, but I hope it will be an improvement on the first.
I loved the story. It is one of the most creative stories I have read. I read the books and loved them so much I got the audio books to listen on my commute. The performance is good, the story is the best. Have I mentioned I love this story.
This is probably the fifth or sixth time I've read this book. My kids have read it, my wife has read it, even my friends have read it. For fantasy it doesn't get better than this.
Beyonders is the best series I've ever read.
This is an amazing tale of two "normal" teenagers who get transported to a magical land, and who embark on a perilous quest to save this land from an evil emperor. The general plot might sound cliche - but the book isn't at all! There are so many amazing, imaginative characters in a well developed, unique world!
I'd compare it to Harry Potter - which was my all time favorite series - until I finished this Beyonders series.
In both series, the protagonist enters a new world, and through that protagonist's experiences we learn about this new world - which is a great way to introduce a new world!
Both series also feature a memorable and amazing cast of characters, a fantastic storyline, and a beautifully detailed new world.
I have listened to Jeremy Bobb's performances in the second book of this series as well - and I find both of these performances to be exemplary.
He does such a good job portraying all the different characters with unique voices, and his inflections and performance is just phenomenal.
The protagonist engages in a battle of wits with a nobleman who has been undefeated for decades - yet the protagonist wins, not due to an unthinkable riddle or complex question - but by a simple question that he had discussed with his friends before being transported to this new world. In general, the protagonist is not extraordinary - but by simple, out of the box thinking, performs some remarkable feats.
The beginning of the book was so interesting that I found the next few chapters rather slow but by the time I reached the Blind King I couldn't get enough of the story!
probably the worst audio I have listened to so far
The Story was creative and intriguing. I am curious to see how the fall of the wizard actually happens.
I did not Like Jeremy Bobbs performance here. I like him in Money:Master the Game by Toni Robins but not this. Too many characters for him and he doesn't connect emotionally to the writing. When an emphatic NO!! should be used, he casually says no. Its that way through the whole book and there is no distinction really between characters personalities. Hard to know whos talking because every character except Theron is exactly the same.
Sometimes the simplest heroes are the ones who don't think they are.
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