This archived article was written by: Brady Maynes
It may be pretty cliché; a young hero who lives a normal life is suddenly thrust into a world and adventure that isn’t his own. It seems to happen in just about every book that has anything to do with a hero and fantasy. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing as long as the similarity stops there. If the story quickly becomes its own then it is worth reading.
Jason Walker is that normal kid, living a normal life. He hears odd music coming from an exhibit in a zoo. He falls into the exhibit and is transported into another world, completely different from his own. He walks around a forest lost and confused. He stumbles upon a raft full of musicians floating down a river. He sees that they are going to plummet down a waterfall to their deaths in some sort of protest. He tries to rescue them, but fails, though one musician does reach the shore. Everyone who showed up to watch the suicide/protest are angry at Jason so he runs back into the forest.
He finds a fortress of sorts, which is called the Repository of Learning. The master of the Repository of Learning tells Jason it is nearly impossible to find so it must not be by accident. The master tells him that the second story is off limits, so of course Jason checks it out. What he finds will change his life forever. The master of the Repository of Learning tells him he now has to find the Blind King.
After a few days travel, Jason reaches the blind king’s once majestic castle. The Blind King is named Galloran, though not many people know this. The Blind King had lost his eyes and apparently his sanity on a quest causing him to fail. Jason is now tasked with this same adventure. A girl named Rachel, who was also transporting into this strange world, has also been asked to take up this task. They must, together, find The Word. The Word is a six-syllable phrase that will destroy the ruler of the land.
Maldor is a dark magician that seeks to rule the land, Lyrian, forever. Galloran promises Jason and Rachel that if they can complete the quest he will find a way to get them back home. They reluctantly accept, really not having a choice. They must find The Word, which for safety has been divided into six parts scattered across Lyrian.
Along their journey Jason and Rachel find a few allies to help them in their hunt. In this world are creatures called wizardborn. These are humanlike beings who have been altered to better serve Maldor. There are the displacers and the Amar Kabal or seed people. Displacers can detach parts of their bodies, such as an eye and it will still work. Seed People have a seed at the base of their neck that can be planted if they are killed and that seed person will be reborn. Each syllable they obtain is an adventure in and of itself.
Jason and Rachel fight many battles and suffer through many perils. While many of the moral questions raised in the book are not new this is definitely a new adventure. Jason and Rachel must truly find out who they really are. They must decide if fighting someone else war is worth returning home. Beyonders is a great adventure. Though it is aimed at young adults I found myself unable to put the book down. Not every book is going to please everyone. And I don’t think it should. I really liked this book and enjoyed the sequel even more. I look forward to reading the final installment. A definite must read.