Lyrian is full of dangers and challenges unlike any place Jason has ever known. The people live in fear of their malicious wizard emperor, Maldor. The brave resistors who once opposed Maldor 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. 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.”
A World Without Heroes is the first book of the Beyonders series, written by Fablehaven author Brandon Mull. I mention Fablehaven, but don’t ask me about that series of books as I’ve yet to start reading it. If the first Beyonders book is anything to go by though, I think I will highly enjoy that series as well.
I don’t think it’s a secret that I’m a big fan of fantasy novels; it is, after all, my favorite genre to escape to. And I really don’t have high expectations when it comes to things like these. I don’t know why. I have enjoyed all of the fantasy books I’ve read.
Beyonders: A World Without Heroes is not an exception.
To be quite honest with you, I only picked the book up because I was looking for a new fantasy book to read—and I didn’t know this was the first book of a new series. Had I known this, I might have gone for Fablehaven instead—at least that had all the books out already. But what’s done is done, and I think that maybe it was destined that I read this first.
Yes, I said destined. That’s the main thing I noticed about A World Without Heroes: our two protagonists were chosen, predetermined—destined to be the heroes that the world of Lyrian is looking for. Except, throughout the whole story, they are always given the choice to take the easy way out. And this is what I liked most about the first Beyonders book—the theme of choice.
Books about heroes are always better when the hero chooses to be who he is. One of the things Beyonders seems to be getting at is that no matter who you were before, it is your choices in the present that determine who you become in the eyes of people.
Jason and Rachel, our Beyonders protagonists, join the ranks of Frodo Baggins, the Pevensie children, and Richard Mayhew (Neverwhere) to name a few. These were ordinary people (and hobbit) who were thrust upon this position of great responsibility—and chose to do the right thing regardless of what it might cost.
I’m a fan of destiny buffered by choice. It sends a nice message to readers that anyone can be a hero—all you have to do is step up, and actually do something good. So I’m a fan of Beyonders—and I’m looking forward to reading the next book in the series.