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.
This book starts off with a bang. When Jason falls into the mouth of the hippo to go to Lyria my heart was pounding. I like how Mull ventured away from the urban fantasy-fantasy where the setting is our world-to one where he creates a world of his own.
Lyria is a confusing place at times, but Jason is a compelling hero that you want to root for. He is not a genius, but he is smart. He is not superathletic, but he is a good baseball player. He is an everyday kind of kid, which made me want to cheer for him more. He finds his own bravery, which makes Lyria a magical place.
While the description makes this book seem like the typical quest book, it really isn't. Jason doesn't know where he is going or why for much of it-he just wants to find shelter and a way home. It is very relatable; I kept thinking that I would react in a very similar way to the situation as Jason. In this way, he reminded me of Alfred Kropp (one of my favorite anti-heroes of all time).