Monday, February 4, 2013

MMGM: The Beyonders by Brandon Mull

About The Book:  Jason Walker has often wished his life could be a bit less predictable--until a routine day at the zoo ends with Jason suddenly transporting from the hippo tank to a place unlike anything he's ever seen. In the past, the people of Lyrian welcomed visitors from the Beyond, but attitudes have changed since the wizard emperor Maldor rose to power. The brave resistors who opposed the emperor 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. With the help of a few scattered rebels, 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.

First Line: The prince dangled in the darkness, shoulders aching, ancient manacles digging into his wrists as he tried to sleep.

Great Quote: "A hero sacrifices for the greater good. A hero is true to his or her conscience. In short, heroism means doing the right thing regardless of the consequences. Although any person could fit that description, very few do. Choose this day to be one of them."

Illustrator: Antonio J. Capara
Shannon Associates
CG Associates

Who: "I'm an Illustrator, Graphic Designer and Comic Artist. My works has been published in Children books, Young Readers books and magazines in North America, South America and Europe. My clients include Scholastic, Harper Collins, Penguin, Henry Holt, Hyperion Books, EMI Records and many others. I have also worked in the Animation field as a Character Designer and Background Creator." —Antonio J. Capara on Behance

What Others Have Said: "Brandon Mull is a wizard with words. With Beyonders, he has conjured one of the most original fantasies I've read in years—an irresistible mix of adventure, humor, and magic." —Rick Riordan

"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." —Carolyn Phelan on Booklist

What I Thought: For me to become engaged in high fantasy quest I have to be engaged with the characters. World building is fascinating and will hold my interest for awhile but at some point I have to believe in what the character(s) are after. While I think there could have been more depth of character, I don't think 9-12-year-olds are quite so discriminating. The adventure of the quest is fast moving and full of twists and turns. I also enjoyed the humor dispersed throughout the novel. 

About The Author: 
Brandon Mull

Who: "The idea for Beyonders has been cooking in my mind for more than ten years. The desire to create this story is what lured me into writing novels. In Beyonders our main characters leave this world and cross into a fantasy world called Lyrian. To help the new world feel different from our own, I created some original fantasy races. It was important to me that these races weren’t breeds we were familiar with from our own mythologies. One race is called the Amar Kabal. They have seeds at the base of their skulls. If they’re killed and their seeds are planted, their bodies can regrow and live again, with the seeds preserving their memories. That is just one example.

"Beyonders is a story about heroes. The emperor Maldor has systematically been buying off or breaking the heroes of Lyrian, so there are almost none left at the start of the story. Most who remain have given up or are damaged in some way. We have a boy and a girl from our world who are learning to be heroes, and at the same time we have some of these broken heroes coming out of retirement. One of my favorite characters is the Blind King, who used to be the greatest swordsman in Lyrian until the emperor took his sight.

"The three Beyonders books are now written. I think the first tells a fun story and introduces the reader to the world of Lyrian and many of the characters we’ll be following. But readers won’t really know where the story is headed until the second installment. Then I’m confident that the third book is the best I have written so far. I’m very eager to see what readers think!" —Brandon Mull on Website

Thanks for joining me for Marvelous Middle Grade Monday. Be sure to check out the other MMGM listed in my sidebar! 

Up next week: Liar and Spy by Rebecca Stead


  1. I read Fablehaven and loved it! I am currently reading it to my 5th grade students and they can't get enough. I have The Beyonders to read and must get to it soon. Great review!

    I went to school with Brandon Mull for a few years when we were kids and we even rode the same bus. I saw him again at an event where he was speaking a few years ago and he was still just as nice. :)

  2. Yes, this is on my bookshelf. After your review, Pam, I want to read it even more! You do a great job at this blog--I can't wait to hear what you thought about Liar and Spy.

  3. Both of my kids adore this series, as do I, and fantasy isn't my first choice in reading. My daughter and I heard Brandon speak last year, and he just has a way with kids. Not only in writing but in person.

  4. I haven't read this one. I like the opening line.


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