Today I’m reviewing the Beyonders Trilogy by Brandon Mull. I first read this trilogy when it came out in 2011-2013, and I reread it in May of 2020. This review is spoiler free.
In general, I like the worldbuilding. The one thing I don’t like is the cliché medieval Europe setting, but the characters do travel to other locations that don’t fit the cliché quite as much. In particular, I really like the Fuming Waste. I’ve never seen a setting like it before in a fantasy book, and I like the tension that inherently goes with a geologically active area. I also like that Mull comes up with his own humanoid races instead of using existing ones like Tolkien’s elves, nymphs from mythology, etc. My favorite thing, though, is definitely the creatures called torivors/lurkers. They are great, and I enjoy reading about them.
As for the plot, I overall found it engaging and interesting. I think the stakes are clear, and there’s a lot of tension throughout. The foreshadowing is well done, resulting in a plot and plot twists that are set-up well. I love the plot twists. Brandon Mull is so great at writing those. I also love the trilogy’s ending, which is a bit of a plot twist itself.
I like the characters. I think they make the story fun, and many of them are unique. My favorite is definitely Ferrin because of his arc. However, I wish more characters had arcs, and I think there could’ve been more character diversity. We don’t see many female characters, characters of color, etc. I’m also not a fan of Maldor because he’s underdeveloped. We never really get to see his powers, and therefore I don’t understand why he’s such a threat. I like the heroes, but the bad guys are rather lacking, and I know Mull can write better antagonists than this. This is sort of spoilery, so if you don’t want to be spoiled, you should skip to the next paragraph. I think the number of characters who die is appropriate given that there’s a war going on. Despite the sadness, I like that so many of them perish because it feels more realistic than all the main characters surviving such a massive battle against the forces of evil.
As for the writing, it’s overall good, and it improves over the course of the trilogy. I’m not a fan of the dialogue tags, clichés, infodumpy introductions to each book, and the telling rather than showing especially with Jason’s parents. Other than those few things, the writing is good, though.
Overall, I love this trilogy. It’s one of my absolute favorites. I would recommend it to anyone who’s interested in a high fantasy story with an engaging plot and fun plot twists. While it’s technically YA, I think it reads more closely to middle grade, so I would recommend this book to middle schoolers in particular, but high schoolers and adults can certainly enjoy it too.
What do you think of this trilogy? Have you read it? Are you interested in reading it? Let me know in the comments down below.