Reading level: Young Adult
Size: 464 pages
Release Date: March 15, 2011
Stand Alone or Series: 1st book in the Beyonders Trilogy
Source: Borrowed from library
Rating: 5/5 stars
I really enjoyed Mull’s Fablehaven series and was very excited to see what he would come up with next. This series is definitely different than his Fablehaven series and is more of a classic fantasy adventure type of book. I really enjoyed it and am excited to see where this story goes.
Jason is just trying to live out his normal life when he falls into a hippopotamus and ends up in a different world. There he meets up with another Beyonder like himself named Rachel and they are both drawn into a quest to find a mysterious word that is capable of defeating the evil overlord of the realm.
Jason and Rachel are pretty good characters; although I didn’t think characterization was the strong point of this novel. The strong points were the interesting world, the intriguing quest for syllables in a word, and the absolutely bizarre characters that Mull has thought up. I think Jason and Rachel were the weakest characters in the book, but some of the characters surrounding them are very engaging. For example the Seed person, Jasher, is really awesome and really added alot of action to the story.
There is humor throughout the book which keeps things light and funny. I love adventure-quest type of books and that is very much what this book is. The characters are given clues, have to find parts of the Word, and then get more clues to the next part. I thought the plot was well woven and there were a number of twists and turns to keep the book surprising. The characters grow throughout the story and you can see that they are developing into forces to be reckoned with.
Another thing about this book I absolutely loved were some of the bizarre character races and crazy obstacles. For example a lake you can run across but if you stop moving you sink (can we say non-newtonian fluid??) I also loved the displacers which could remove parts of their body and send them places. Another wonderful race were the Seed people who can live many lives as long as the seed in the back of their head is replanted. These things were creative, super interesting, and a lot of fun to read about. The way these interesting characteristics integrated into the story were wonderful.
The book touches on interesting issues versus what is right and wrong. Questions such as should you endure hardship for the greater good are asked and issues around personal responsibility for the whole of a race are dealt with.
Overall I really, really enjoyed this book. There is humor and adventure here, an interesting world, very creative races, and a lot of questing going on. I am super curious to see where this story goes and eager to read the next book in the series. This book is not another Fablehaven, it is more of a classic fantasy adventure quest. For some reason all the bizarre creatures and the crazy questing put me a bit in the mind of the Labyrinth movie. Those of you who like fantasy adventures with quirky characters will really love this book. I also recommend The Emerald Atlas by John Stephens, The Kane Chronicles by Rick Riorden, The Bartimaes Trilogy by Jonathan Stroud and The Ranger’s Apprentice series by John Flanagan.