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.
My take: The ARC arrived two weeks ago. The moment it dropped out of the envelope it disappeared into the dark abyss of a certain teenage daughter's room. I had to go dig it up. She was enjoying it immensely.
This is an action packed book that keeps the reader turning pages as fast as she can. I loved that the protagonist is a 13 year old boy with a 13 year old girl sidekick. She is none too happy to play second fiddle but that is her role in this world.
Jason is a normal boy who loves baseball, animals, books, and yes, he likes girls. One day he slips into the hippo's tank and the hippo eats him. No, really. Except rather than being in the hippo's innards, he goes down a slide and lands in a tree. It sounds bizarre but it works. But it gets much more bizarre. And disturbing.
Jason arrives in this world just as a musical group is playing their own dirge for their suicide over the waterfall. And the disturbing images continue with Jason's adventures including a displacer (a person who can pull off his head or arm then reattach it), cutting someone's Achilles tendon, shooting an arrow into a citizen, the demise of a boarhound, and the list goes on. You may be asking, "Why would you continue reading it, Nancy?" The answer is simple. I don't know. I just couldn't stop. It was riveting.
Bottom line is that Brandon Mull is clearly in close contact with his inner child. This book will absolutely delight a latency age boy. This is the boy who thrills when he farts, burps, or creates arm farts. He talks about disgusting things and laughs with his friends while his mother cringes. But deep down in his mother's superego, her own ID is making a resurgence. She is stifling her own laugh and she wants to tell her own gross stories.
This is why the book appeals to the inner child of mothers.
Since I received an advanced reader's copy, it would be inappropriate to quote Galloran's thoughts on heroism. But if I lacked scruples, I might say that he said something like this:
"So many misconceptions surround the notion of heroism. Far too many categorize a hero as a champion on the battlefield, a commander of legions, a master of rare talent or ability. Granted, there have been heroes who fit those descriptions. But many men of great evil as well. Heed me. 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, few do. Choose this day to be one of them."
Thanks to Dawn at Simon & Schuster, I have two copies to offer. Details below.