Author: Brandon Mull
Series: Beyonders #2
Genre: MG, YA, fantasy
Publisher: Aladdin, 2012
Source: Received from publisher
Read for: Review
**SPOILERS** for A World Without Heroes, book 1 of Beyonders, are imminent.
Jason Walker has returned to his own world in the midst of the conflict with Maldor, having discovered that the secret word he quested for in the first book was a fluke. Now he is desperate to get back to Lyrian. Meanwhile, Rachel is still in Lyrian, uncertain of Jason's fate, when she learns that she has a powerful gift -- a gift Maldor will do anything to seize.
I remember in the first book of the Beyonders series being stunned by how packed with adventure and excitement the book was. Seeds of Rebellion has possibly surpassed its predecessor. While I gave A World Without Heroes four stars on GoodReads, for some reason when I look back on it I remember having a mediocre experience. With Seeds of Rebellion, I was really impressed at how quickly the book engaged me and how much I enjoyed it.
The only thing that truly bothered me with Seeds of Rebellion was that for much of the first hundred pages or so, I really could not remember many of the characters from the first book. I remembered the general premise and many of the main plot points, but the characters were vague for me. I think this is partly because I read the book over a year ago, but more than this I think it is because both novels are packed with new characters. Both novels are somewhat episodic in nature, with the characters jumping from adventure to adventure and picking up many new friends (and enemies) along the way. While things slowly came back to me or were re-explained, I did feel that all of the information made the book harder to retain.
However, I did enjoy the characters and the adventurous plot. Although at times Jason seemed a little flat to me in this installment of the trilogy, I was very pleased with Rachel's increased powers and her growing importance in the story. For much of the first book, Rachel had to sit on the sidelines (although she did play a very important part in one section). In this book, Rachel is the genuine hero as she discovers her talents and the ways they can help the cause of defeating Maldor. I also enjoyed getting to know more of the diverse peoples and creatures of Lyrian.
I also really enjoyed the plot. The adventures were once again non-stop, making Seeds of Rebellion a very exciting read. It is clear that Brandon Mull has vast stores of imagination, because we go from adventure to adventure at such a rapid pace through all these different worlds and races. At times I wished that we could spend a bit more time with each one, but it was interesting to be exposed to so many different groups. I think my favorite adventure in Seeds of Rebellion was that involving the Forbidden Kingdom, a walled off piece of Lyrian from which no traveler can ever return, due to its infestation with the living dead. I love a good, creepy zombie story.
I also enjoyed Mull's writing. While the level tends to be about middle grade, this book feels more young adult to me due to the increased violence from other books by Mull (such as the Fablehaven books). One quote in particular stood out to me, enough that I wanted to share it -- I think the image is conveyed so poignantly.
Rachel had never envisioned such virtuosity with a weapon. It was like watching a concert pianist play an impossible piece of music, fingers flying to strike mind-boggling patterns of notes and to pound sprawling chords. No, it was more than that. It was like watching that pianist play an impossible piece with dynamite strapped to his back, rigged to detonate if he touched a wrong note.Fairly awesome, in my opinion.
While there are certain aspects of Seeds of Rebellion that didn't work perfectly for me, I was very caught up in the excitement of the story. I am looking forward to the final book in the trilogy and the exciting conclusion that awaits.