Book Review: A World Without Heroes by Brandon Mull - Toronto Teacher Mom

Book Review: A World Without Heroes by Brandon Mull

Monday, March 14, 2011


Book Review:
A World Without Heroes
by Brandon Mull

Thank you to Simon & Schuster for the chance to review the ARC. I received the copy for free and was not paid to review the book. (This review was written by Louise Mitchell, a writer and an avid reader, author of Waiting.)

A great book in the fantasy genre will create characters and worlds that continue to live in the reader’s mind for a long time after the last page is read. Brandon Mull’s latest novel A World Without Heroes, the first in the Beyonders Series, will do just that.

When Jason finds himself torn from our world and thrown into a strange land, his only intention is to find a way back home. But like so many of the greatest heroes, Jason realizes the easy choice isn’t always the right choice. This is one of the subtle moral themes that are artfully worked into the fast paced and exciting plot. When Jason meets fellow beyonder Rachel, they team up on an adventure that becomes more than the search for syllables in a word to destroy the evil emperor. It becomes a mission to succeed where others have failed, to become heroes in a world without heroes.

The novel is filled with cool and creative characters that bring Mull’s fantasy world to life. The main characters of Jason and Rachel are well developed and likeable, making us root for them at every obstacle and dangerous situation they encounter. Jason and Rachel embody the kinds of character traits that make them good role models for their readers. Jason has honour and loyalty, and Rachel won’t be outdone by Jason, proving to be a key player in their quest, making this a good book for both girls and boys.

Having said that, the vocabulary and references the characters used were well above the recommended age level of 8-12. Jason didn’t speak or think like the thirteen year old he was supposed to be, making him less real. While I like books that challenge younger readers, the manner of speaking might intimidate or slow down the story for people of its intended age range. The sophistication of the language in the narration as well as the dialogue was even above that which is typical in most young adult fiction.

Another concern I have about the book and the age of its intended audience is the violent situations it describes. The book opens with a prison/torture scene and while this and other violent scenes, like one where Jason is imprisoned in a small box, aren’t necessarily graphic, they can be upsetting to kids as young as 8.

I would recommend this book to teenagers and adults who enjoy adventure, fantasy and mythology. It’s sure to fascinate, intrigue and capture your imagination…it’ll also leave you longing for book two.

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