A World Without Heroes
A World Without Heroes was a good book. Two teens from Earth, Jason and Rachel, enter the world of Lyrian and are thrust into a quest to find six syllables of an ancient word of the language of creation. When this word is spoken in the presence of the dark wizard Maldor, who rules much of Lyrian, it will destroy him and end his evil reign.
Jason was an excellent main character. He’s a typical high schooler who likes baseball and anatomy. (Maybe that last part isn’t so typical, but hey.) Though a bit confused by his entrance into Lyrian, Jason adapts to the new world well. The part which demonstrates this best (and my personal favourite part of the book) was when he enters Lyrian high society and pulls it off. The character arc was one of reinforcement rather than redemption, and I enjoyed seeing Jason strengthen as a heroic character over the course of this book—even when he faced the consequences of his heroic choices.
Rachel was a strong supporting character, brave and assertive. A note of warning: The way Rachel has been homeschooled is by no means the typical homeschooling experience. I myself am a homeschooler, and although I smirked at some of the descriptions of her life, no homeschooler I know goes on field trips around the world.
The villain, Maldor, was one unlike I’ve ever seen before. Sure, he’s a dark wizard and a dark lord, but not the typical cackling, evil tyrant. An evil tyrant, yes, but not a cackling one. What I found most compelling about Maldor was the way he controls the world of Lyrian—by withholding knowledge. Maps are forbidden, travel is discouraged, punishment is quick and ruthless. Yet he respects his enemies and, instead of destroying them, offers them pleasure and neutrality in the Eternal Feast. And, of course, a certain revelation Maldor brought up close to the end—perhaps The Plot Twist of the book—is another example of the complex character he is.
We saw several supporting characters come and go. Ferrin and his abilities as a displacer—being able to detach his body parts—were hilarious, and I truly enjoyed every scene of his. (I’ve imagined such abilities before, but I’ve seen very few stories which utilise displacing abilities.) I also enjoyed Jasher, Drake and the Blind King.
The lack of profanity and sexual content was refreshing. In addition, the main theme—the true nature of heroes—was one I enjoyed reading very much. Mull could improve in some areas on wordsmithing, foreshadowing and connectivity—the subtleties of writing, basically—but he is by no means a bad author, and I look forward to reading the rest of the Beyonders series and Mull’s other books.
Other books I’ve read or want to read:
Have you read any of these books? What else have you been reading lately?
(For those interested, there are no news on Number 11. Mum and Dad have been in and out of the city—they’re out there now for an appointment—but the baby hasn’t started coming yet.)