Reviews for World Without Heroes

Booklist Reviews 2011 February #2
Best known as the author of the popular Fablehaven series, Mull offers a new fantasy adventure, in which Jason and Rachel, two American kids, are separately drawn into an alternate world called Lyrian. They want to return home, but they don't know how. Aided by Rachel, the Blind King, and other allies, 13-year-old Jason undertakes a quest to discover the magical word needed to overthrow Maldor, Lyrian's evil emperor. The two teens set out to find the word's closely guarded syllables while thwarting the maneuvers of Maldor's crafty, vicious minions. Headlong adventure scenes, inventively conceived creatures, and surprising plot twists all figure into the mix as Jason and Rachel make their way through this treacherous world. The book's conclusion is not so much an ending as a respite before the beginning of the sequel. Readers seeking character-driven fiction should look elsewhere, but those drawn to long, action-filled fantasies may want to try Mull's latest. Copyright 2011 Booklist Reviews.

Horn Book Guide Reviews 2011 Fall
Ordinary thirteen-year-olds Jason and Rachel stumble into the magical world of Lyrian, where an evil despot wizard's favorite entertainment is playing mind games to break the spirits of would-be heroes. Many elements remain underdeveloped in this series starter. However, Mull's strengths--action-packed fighting sequences, fantastically imagined magical races and situations, and cunning plot twists--leave readers eager for more. Copyright 2011 Horn Book Guide Reviews.

Kirkus Reviews 2011 January #2

Inventive trials and supporting characters boost this otherwise standard-issue quest fantasy. Middle-schooler Jason falls through a zoo hippo's mouth into Lyrian, a land ruled by a wizard named Maldor, whose only weakness is a magical Word that will unmake him. Each of that Word's six syllables are hidden behind different defenses, and Jason and sidekick Rachel—a lost Beyonder like him, who proves to be just as intrepid and at least as pig-stubborn—face a series of trials. There is a lake in which anything that stops moving for even an instant gets sucked down, a tree (in the middle of a swamp well-stocked with giant carnivorous toads) that robs interlopers of their short-term memories, a deadly political battle waged with riddles and other tests. Along with such allies as a gent who can detach and reattach any of his body parts (including his head) at will and a warrior who gets to start over as a 20-year-old any time he's killed, Mull provides his young protagonists with a foe as genuinely clever as he is powerful and rescues an ambling plot with a devastating climactic twist. Readers fond of fantasies that don't take themselves too seriously will enjoy this trilogy opener. (Fantasy. 10-13)

Copyright Kirkus 2011 Kirkus/BPI Communications.All rights reserved.

Publishers Weekly Reviews 2011 January #5

Mull (the Fablehaven series) launches the Beyonders trilogy with a dark tale that updates classic tropes with solid contemporary characters. Thirteen-year-old Jason is transported (via hippopotamus gullet, no less) from Colorado to Lyrian, a magical world ruled by the despotic sorcerer Maldor. After witnessing some horrific deaths and learning the history of Lyrian, Jason discovers that his quest to return home might be impossible without defeating Maldor, which can only be done by finding the syllables of a long-lost magic word that erases itself from the memory of those who utter it. He's given this task by the Blind King, the last man to discover the word, who also introduces him to Rachel, another refugee from Earth. Mull throws some magical creatures--including a race that can be dismembered and still live--and plenty of challenges at Jason and Rachel, who must use their wits to survive. Death and betrayal often dominate the plot, but Mull moves his story at a brisk pace, preventing the tragedies from overwhelming the adventure, while offering ample action and feisty dialogue to keep fantasy lovers entertained. Ages 8-12. (Mar.)

[Page ]. Copyright 2010 PWxyz LLC

School Library Journal Reviews 2011 March

Gr 5-8--Jason Walker is a typical 13-year-old, doing his best to fit in with friends in Vista, CO. His internship at a local zoo puts him in close contact with wild animals. Unbeknownst to him, the zoo contains a portal in the hippopotamus tank. One day, the portal, exuding whimsical music, lures him in, and Jason is immediately transported to a new world called Lyrian. In this epic tale that's filled with adventure on every page turn, Jason initially tries desperately to discover a way to get home to his parents and his previous life, but as his journey continues, he finds himself drawn into the political unrest of an empire ruled by a powerful and sinister wizard. Tortured and neglected members of society hope Jason will be their hero and save them from Maldor. The teen befriends the desperate citizens of Lyrian and commits to taking down the evil emperor. Jason's journey will require readers to think hard about life's unpredictable nature and the difficult decisions that must be made. It also touches on finding trust in others and the importance of asking for help. While there are a few places where readers need a little more detail between one scene and the next, this book is highly recommended for those fantasy-hungry readers who frequent the stacks.--Kathryn Kennedy, Georgia Southern University, Statesboro, GA

[Page 166]. (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

VOYA Reviews 2011 August
Trying to discover the source of music coming from the hippo tank at the zoo where he volunteers, thirteen-year-old Jason falls in and is swallowed by the hippo. He emerges in Lyrian, a strange world both like and unlike his own, and soon becomes the key figure in a quest to rid the land of its evil and controlling wizard emperor, Maldor. Along the way, he meets Rachel, another Beyonder (earthlings who have found their way to Lyrian), and a cast of human and wizard characters working with and against him This first book in a new trilogy by Mull, author of the Fablehaven series, is an enjoyable fantasy with many science fiction elements. Jason is a likeable protagonist, an average teen from Colorado who finds himself capable of great things while trying to save the people of Lyrian from Maldor's tyrannical rule. The story is told almost exclusively from Jason's point of view; the abrupt switch to Rachel's perspective in a chapter where she is separated from Jason is jarring. Mull's writing is packed with vivid description and detail, although the sheer number of support characters makes keeping everyone straight a bit of a challenge. There is a Harry Potter feel to Jason's plight, which will charm younger teens; the combination of fantasy and science fiction elements will also broaden the novel's appeal. The cliff-hanger ending will have readers eagerly awaiting the next installment, planned for 2012.--Vikki Terrile 4Q 4P M J Copyright 2011 Voya Reviews.