This review contains spoilers, but I will hide them.
I have to admit that I have mixed feelings about A World Without Heroes
. It had its share of issues, but I enjoyed it. And the more I think about it, the more I like it. But let's start with the bad:
First off, the writing: I thought the prologue was beautiful and loved the style there, but the chapters that followed proved an adjustment. Some of the sentences had so many prepositions in a row (e.g. "The rock stood by a large cave in the middle of the ocean between two cliffs in the land of Scroodleydoo.") that I could not get a grip of the surroundings before the next sentence came. True, I tend to read too fast. Maybe both of these contributed. The beginning was also slow enough that I had to give the book two tries before I could finish.
The plot seemed a bit clunky and odd at times, but I got used to it. When you think about it, though, most high-fantasy books have a similar formula. After falling in love with Mull's previous fictional world, Fablehaven,
Lyrian just took some adjustment.
Now, the good:
I did not attach to the main characters in A World Without Heroes
quite as much as those in Fablehaven
. However, Rachel and Jason still felt real enough for me to keep reading. They have some enjoyable banter, and I like the realistic plot point that they aren't friends just because they're both strangers in a new world. It takes time for them to get used to each other. The characters I loved best, though, were The Blind King (as a prince in particular) and Ferrin. Their personalities, motives, and pasts intrigued me. Oh, Ferrin. His true allegiance shocked me, and when Rachel learned that displacers were spies, I wanted to cry. The betrayal meant something, it seemed authentic, and I loved the way Ferrin felt about the entire thing--how he liked Jason and Rachel but did not side with them for the sake of his own safety. If these characters were real, I would be a much happier person.
It's difficult to review this book without giving anything away when I've read the sequel... so I'll try to focus my attention on the second book's review to spare you from irrelevant rambling.
If you count Daylight Savings Time, I was up until 3 in the morning finishing the book. I don't do this with books I hate. Overall, A World Without Heroes
had enough issues to annoy me a bit, but not enough for me to dislike it and certainly not enough to keep me from picking up the next in the series when it comes out.