Chasing the Prophecy is the final book in Brandon Mull’s BEYONDERS series aimed at a middle grade audience. Jason and Rachel have joined a group of rebels who hope to take down the evil emperor Maldor. An oracle has told them that they have very little chance for success, but she’s also told them exactly what they need to do to have that small chance. Therefore the group has split up into separate teams which hope to fulfill different parts of the oracle’s instructions. Rachel is trying to muster up an army while working on her magic and Jason’s team visits a library (I loved the library!) to try to find the location of an ancient seer who has information they need. Both kids face hard work, difficult decisions, and life-threatening circumstances. Each must be willing to bend a lot to accomplish their goals.
Readers who’ve enjoyed the first two BEYONDERS books, A World Without Heroes and Seeds of Rebellion will almost certainly be pleased with the conclusions of Brandon Mull’s story. Jason and Rachel are maturing rapidly and learning how to be heroes. I like that the kids respect the skills and wisdom of their elders but have a healthy enough dose of skepticism and self-confidence that they’re willing to respectfully question and advise the adults. Mull’s adults aren’t stupid (like we see in many children’s fantasy novels) — they’re partners who work with the kids to accomplish goals. They don’t talk down to the kids or sugar-coat scary situations. They tell the kids the truth, even when it’s painful, and they work with the kids to come up with viable solutions to their problems. It’s a good portrayal of healthy adult-child relationships.
In Chasing the Prophecy we get more of Brandon Mull’s imaginative world-building including more of his bizarre mage-created races. Some of the plot is slow, especially the parts where Jason and Rachel are questioning themselves or expressing their worries. These sections get “talky” and Rachel’s doubts, particularly, become tiresome.
Young readers may be a little sad about all of the deaths in Chasing the Prophecy. Several main characters die, but not in vain. Readers will be forced to think seriously about war, sacrifice, faith, the “greater good” and what it means to be a hero. They will also be challenged to consider the consequences of their behavior. Mull handles this thoughtfully and in depth without ever getting preachy.
The ending of Chasing the Prophecy is left open — Mull doesn’t take the easy way out and have his characters live happily ever after, and not all questions about Jason’s and Rachel’s future is answered. I was a little disturbed by Jason’s actions at the end of the book, but that’s the mother in me talking. I noticed from the beginning that Mull gives Jason a family, not making him an orphan or the ward of a cruel relative (again, not taking the easy way out), so Jason’s decisions affect not only himself and the people he meets in Lyrian, but his family, too. There are some provocative hints at the end that will make readers wish there was a fourth book. I wouldn’t be surprised if Brandon Mull comes back to this universe in a spin-off series.