Monday, April 11, 2011

Book Review: Beyonders by Brandon Mull

It's another Marvelous Middle Grade Monday and I'm pleased to offer up a guest review from one of the toughest book critics you'll ever hear from: my 11-year-old son. A huge Brandon Mull fan, he insisted that we pre-order Beyonders as soon as he heard about it. Then he spent the 24 hours after it arrived, reading it from cover to cover.

I haven't had a chance to read this book yet, but based on his review, I think I'll be sneaking into his room after he goes to school to check it out for myself :-)

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Being eaten by a hippo is both a good start for a book and something funny that you would never want to happen to you.

I've read all of Brandon Mull’s books and this is one of his best. It starts off with Jason, a 13-year-old who works at the zoo, getting swallowed by a hippopotamus and traveling to an alternate dimension called Lyrian. He meets another Beyonder (what the Lyrians call people from Earth), a girl his age named Rachel. Together, they set off on a quest to find the word to unmake the evil wizard emperor, Maldor, and find a way home.

Let’s start with the cons. It is a bit TOO coincidental that two Beyonders end up in the same place, on the same day, and find each other at the same palace. And did he need to bring a girl in so that it would appeal to female readers as well? I don't think so. This is a great adventure that would appeal to most girls even if there wasn't a girl main character. Also, the last ten pages are too quick and what happens is extremely unlikely.

Now that I’ve finished with the bad stuff, I’ll tell you the good stuff. The writing was excellent, and the elements he mixed into it felt extremely cinematic. The way Jason is dragged into the quest is realistic, and he acts like an actual person. What I mean by this is that he doesn’t become a leader and take up the quest willingly and give his life for the other world. He just wants to go home. The story has plenty of action to keep readers entertained. Plus, the ending had an interesting twist to it, but I won’t give you any specifics. Some of the things that happen in the story might be too intense for young kids, but this is a really good book for older middle grade readers.

Rating: 7.8/10
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Looking for more Marvelous Middle Grade books? Check out these bloggers:
Shannon Whitney Messenger
Shannon O'Donnell
Ben Langhinrichs
Myrna Foster
Joanne Fritz 
Brooke Favero

18 comments:

Laura Pauling said...

Great review! Swallowed by a hippo? Now that would take some good writing to make it believable!

Stina Lindenblatt said...

Never mind the review. I was blown away by your son's writing skills. :D

Oh, and the book sounds great. I'll let my 11 yo know about it.

Kelly said...

Wow! Very honest, thorough review straight from the middle grader himself. Well written!

salarsenッ said...

Fantastic review! I love the honest approach and how he geared the review. All I keep thinking is: swallowed? Really? I'm seeing Jonah and the Whale.

Susan Kaye Quinn said...

Awesome review! I'm a new Brandon Mull fan, still reading Fablehaven. But I love that word "cinematic"! That's a perfect description of Mull's writing style, that feels incredibly realistic and action oriented, like it was playing out in front of you.

And this part: And did he need to bring in a girl...? LOL!

Kristan said...

What a good review! Better than many I read on a daily basis. :)

Bish Denham said...

I'm impressed! A most excellent review.

Ishta Mercurio said...

I am so impressed by your son. He did a great job with this! I love honest reviews; they give a much better picture of the book than the ones that just rave about how amazing it is.

Thanks for this post!

C.R. Evers said...

Awesome review. Sounds very clever. I'll have to read this one!

bfav said...

Love your son's review. 24 turn around sounds like it was a hit.

Tiana Smith said...

I've been wanting to read this one - I love hearing about it from your son's perspective!

Tess said...

Brandon Mull lives across town and he is SO imaginative! My 11 y/o son has read this (and then my 16 y/o daughter took it from him) but I'm not a huge fantasy reader so I usually just enjoy the smiles on their faces :)

Natalie Aguirre said...

Great review. That's a unique portal to another world. Sounds like something I should check out. Thanks.

Shannon O'Donnell said...

I enjoyed this one, but I agree with you about the last ten pages. They flew by way too fast with little justification.

Fablehaven is still my favorite, but I'm eager to read book 2!! :-)

Myrna Foster said...

Thanks for the great review! I've been looking forward to this one.

Lenny Lee* said...

hi miss sherrie! wow! your son did a cool review. im not sure if i wanna read this book but im sorta thinking i might.
...hugs from lenny

Girl Friday said...

Wow, your son has some writing skills! I would never have guessed he's 11 from this review - great stuff.

Joanne Fritz said...

This book sounds excellent! Thanks to your son for the cool review.

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