Enter the Hippo

A World Without Heroes, the first book in a highly anticipated new series by Brandon Mull, came out this spring, but I wasn’t able to get to it until the end of the year. Which puts me that much closer to Seeds of Rebellion, the next book in the Beyonders series, I suppose! This series is more like The Chronicles of Narnia than the Fablehaven series, but that shouldn’t be a deterrent for fans of Mull’s fanciful imagination. Taking two regular kids into an irregular world opens all kinds of new doors to explore – the doors alone are unusual – as Jason arrives in Lyrian by way of falling into a hippo’s gaping maw. Once there he meets Rachel, a Beyonder like himself, who traveled a different route to the same destination. When they are unable to reverse course and return home, the only path left is to seek out the word of power that will undo Maldor, the evil emperor. Maldor has crippled or corrupted any would-be-hero who opposed him, but Jason and Rachel don’t want to be heroes; they just want to get home. The setting and abilities may be fantastic, but the characters are driven by realistic goals, and that is what gives Mull’s words power over his readers.

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