If you thought the "Fablehaven" series was good, the "Beyonders" series will blow you away!
In book one, "World Without Heroes," Jason finds himself at a zoo in which he falls into a portal between two worlds in a most entertaining way. Sometime during Jason's adventures in this new world, he meets Rachel, who is also from his world. Although they have very little in common, they become friends as they try to make their way home through this confusing realm. Jason and Rachel become embroiled with rebels who are trying to defeat the tyrant wizard who controls this land. Jason eventually makes it back to his own world, but Rachel does not.
This leads us to the second installment of this series: "Beyonders: Seeds of Rebellion" was just released in March. This series is a little darker than the "Fablehaven" tales and adds a layer of complexity to plot and character development.
Author Brandon Mull has evolved in his writing and continually comes up with new and creative human and nonhuman characters. His fast-paced "Seeds of Rebellion" (Aladdin, $19.99) fantasy requires a review of the first book before diving in because this story has a larger cast of characters. The book has lots of information for the reader to digest. Rachel and Jason are still the main characters and their relationship can be defined as friends/possible romantic interest. In this new book, they are trying to garner support for the rebels' cause.
The possible reasons for the darker tone in "Beyonders" compared to the "Fablehaven" series are due to the fact that in "Fablehaven," there is a sense of security. The main characters in that series are brother and sister, have family help and have places they can go to be safe and protected. But that does not happen for Jason and Rachel. They are cut off from all family relations, and they are in an entirely new world, relying on strangers for help. "Beyonders" also features more perilous life-and-death situations.
Brandon Mull has created fantasy worlds that are full of interesting characters and places. His real strength is evident in the creatures he produces. In his book "Candy Shop Wars," for instance, he comes up with the most amazing candy with interesting side effects that do not include obesity. As a side note, Mull has a second "Candy Shop Wars" book called "The Arcade Catastrophe" coming out in October.
Not only is Mull, who lives in Utah, an amazing author, he also gives the most interesting presentations. He is a cool guy. He seems interested in people; he honestly cares about his fans. If you ever get the chance, you need to go to one of his presentations. I love the fact that he is from Utah; it makes this author seem more approachable.
"The Seeds of Rebellion" is well worth the time it takes to read it. My favorite part of this book is the creatures Mull has created. In this second installment, Brandon Mull provides a wonderful platform for the third book to be built upon.
The only thing that I hate about following a new book series is that it's extremely difficult to wait to read the final book! And it will be a long wait for "Beyonders," since the anticipated due date for the last book in the series is not until sometime in 2013.
Karissa Strate is a junior at Bonneville High School. Email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.