I absolutely adore Brandon Mull's previous novels - they are some of my favorite books of all time - and I was anxious to get my hands on the first book of his new series - Beyonders: A World Without Heroes.
This book starts out a little slow before eventually picking up toward the middle. Mull has a knack for writing great puzzles and mysteries, so I was intrigued by the story from the start.
Unfortunately, this book just wasn't quite as engrossing and amazing as Mull's previous work I found the resolution of the story to be surprising but not as meaningful as I would have wished. They story was detailed and different, but so filled with minor characters that I sometimes found it hard to keep them straight.!
Thirteen-year-old Jason is just going about his business one day when he finds himself transported to Lyrian. Eventually he stumbles upon a man who he hopes can give him some answers, but only leaves him with more questions. Through his curiosity he finds himself on an unlikely quest to find a secret word to defeat the emperor.
Jason is actually thrust into Lyrian when he falls into a hippo at the zoo. Immediately after finding himself in this strange place he discovers a troupe of musicians floating down a river on a raft. He learns that they are about to let themselves sail off a waterfall and tries to help. In the end he only succeeds in shooting one of them musicians in the shoulder with an arrow and making the crowd gathered to watch angry with him. He escapes the mob to find himself at the Repository of Learning, where he meets the Loremaster. The Loremaster doesn't explain much to him, except to avoid a certain part of the repository and simultaneously telling a story of how he was told not to do something but he did it anyway. Jason hopes this forbidden section of the library will help him find his way home, so he finds a way in and discovers "the book". Once reading the pages and the first syllable of the word of power, Jason is set against the emperor Maldor and must continue to search for the word to evade capture. The Loremaster sends him to the Blind King, where he gets advice on his quest, and meets his soon-to-be companion, Rachel (also from Jason's world). The pair travel to a sea cave, where they obtain the second syllable and fight off a giant crab. Later they meed the displacer, Ferrin, who wants to help them on their quest. They travel to another town, where Jason challenged the chancellor and wins - thus gaining access to the third syllable. Next they travel to the White Lake, which Rachel travels across to learn the fourth syllable and learning that Ferrin is actually a spy for Maldor, the emperor. They part ways with him and nearly get captured by Maldor's men when they are saved my Jasher, one of the "seed people" who can die, but grow again from the seed on the back of their neck. The new group travels to a swamp to meet the Pythoness, but actually find her daughter, who gives them fifth syllable. They also learn that the sixth syllable can be found tattooed on the back of one of Maldor's men at The Eternal Feast. Jason goes to accept his previous invitation to the feast learns the final syllable. He fights a duel in order to leave the paradise and goes to gain an audience with Maldor by ringing a bell in the center of town. Once he meets the emperor he says the word, feels its power, but is dismayed to see it doesn't effect Maldor. Maldor reveals that the word was a fake to distract his enemies and offers Jason a place with his officers. Jason refuses and gets thrown in the dungeon. Ferrin returns and risks everything to free Jason. However, Ferrin has plans to send him back to his world, while Jason wants to find Rachel and his friends and tell them what happened. The two struggle and Ferrin manages to push Jason through the portal and back to his own world.