A World Without Heroes

(Book #1 of Beyonders)
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About The Book

Jason tumbles into a quest to save a magical in this #1 New York Times bestselling start to Brandon Mull’s Beyonders fantasy series.

Jason Walker has often wished his life could be a bit less predictable—until a routine day at the zoo ends with Jason suddenly transporting from the hippo tank to a place unlike anything he’s ever seen. In the past, the people of Lyrian welcomed visitors from the Beyond, but attitudes have changed since the wizard emperor Maldor rose to power. The brave resistors who opposed the emperor have been bought off or broken, leaving a realm where fear and suspicion prevail.

In his search for a way home, Jason meets Rachel, who was also mysteriously drawn to Lyrian from our world. With the help of a few scattered rebels, Jason and Rachel become entangled in a quest to piece together the word of power that can destroy the emperor and learn that their best hope to find a way home will be to save this world without heroes.

Reading Group Guide

A Reading Group Guide to

Beyonders #1: A World Without Heroes
By Brandon Mull

Discussion Questions

1. We’re introduced to the ever-important Word at the very beginning of the book. In what ways does the Word hold power in the story? In what ways do words hold power in your life? Are there times when words can serve as weapons? When do words become tools for good?

2. If you were to choose one special word that would best describe or define you, what would it be? Explain the significance of your choice.

3. Jason learns about Lyrian’s history from the books the Loremaster shares with him. Afterwards, Jason asks him, “Who wrote the history I just read?” Why did Jason want to know that? Why would that question matter?

4. Jason and Rachel go on a quest for knowledge in A World Without Heroes as they search for the hidden syllables of the Word. How might you consider knowledge a prize in our world? Can knowledge ever be dangerous to us, as it is in Lyrian?

5. Reflect on Galloran’s definition of a hero. What is your definition of hero? Whom would you consider heroes in your life?

6. How did Jason and Rachel’s relationship change from the beginning of the book to the end? At what points did you notice a shift in how they interacted?

7. Compare and contrast Lyrian to our world. Consider Jason’s longings for certain things he misses from home. What, on the other hand, were some of the special things in Lyrian he encounters that don’t exist in our world? What do you think a “reverse Beyonder” from Lyrian might notice about our world?

8. Jason channels his baseball team experiences as he talks to Rachel about their own approaches to working together. How do successful teams function, in your opinion? What advice would you have offered to Jason and Rachel?

9. Jason and Rachel meet several mysterious characters along their journey—sometimes they turn out to be friends, other times they are very much not friends. What were clues to you, as a reader, that helped you determine who was good and who was evil?

10. Jason attempts to explain the rules of baseball to Ferrin. Try explaining your favorite sport, hobby, or interest to a friend, as if he/she were similarly alien!

11. Maldor is a ruthless ruler. He proves to be quite cunning in his methods for keeping control of Lyrian. How was his idea for Harthenham strategic in this way? In what other ways do Maldor and his followers (Copernum, for instance) make sure that no one would overrule him?

12. Ferrin plays a unique role in A World Without Heroes. What is your take on Ferrin? How would you explain Ferrin’s actions? Do you agree with them?

13. Jasher says to Jason, “For each of us destiny is a blend of potential, circumstances, and choices." What does destiny mean to you? Do you believe in destiny?

14. How were you feeling as you read the chapter titled “Prisoner”? Describe your reactions to Jason’s experience. Was it difficult to read this chapter? What was going through your mind as you read it?

15. What do you think happened at the conclusion of this book? To Jason? To Rachel? To Ferrin? To Jasher? Explain.

16. What are your predictions for Book 2 and Book 3?

Guide written by Catharine Sotzing, an elementary school teacher at the Dalton School, New York, NY

This guide has been provided by Simon & Schuster for classroom, library, and reading group use. It may be reproduced in its entirety or excerpted for these purposes.

About The Author

Laura Hanifin

Brandon Mull is the author of the New York TimesUSA TODAY, and Wall Street Journal bestselling Beyonders and Fablehaven series, as well as the bestselling Five Kingdoms, Candy Shop Wars, and Dragonwatch series. He resides in Utah, in a happy little valley near the mouth of a canyon with his wife and four children. Brandon’s greatest regret is that he has but one life to give for Gondor.

Product Details

  • Publisher: Aladdin (February 2012)
  • Length: 512 pages
  • ISBN13: 9781416997931
  • Grades: 3 - 7
  • Ages: 8 - 12
  • Lexile ® 710L

Awards and Honors

  • Louisiana Young Readers' Choice Master List
  • ALA/YALSA Best Fiction for Young Adults - Nominee
  • The Flume: New Hampshire Teen Reader's Choice Award

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More books from this author: Brandon Mull

More books in this series: Beyonders