In the second BEYONDERS book, Seeds of Rebellion, Jason has made it back to his own world after attempting to destroy the emperor Maldor in Lyrian, the parallel universe he accidentally stumbled into after being swallowed by a hippopotamus at the zoo. Jason is unhappy at home because Rachel is still stuck in Lyrian and being hunted by the bad guys. After doing some research on the internet, he discovers that Rachel’s parents are desperately trying to find her, but Jason feels like he can’t contact them or he’ll be a suspect in the crime. He’s afraid to tell anyone about Lyrian — people will just think he’s crazy and he might be institutionalized. That would make it impossible for him to do what he really wants to do — go back to Lyrian, let everyone know that the quest they were on is doomed, and tell Rachel how to get back to her parents. Meanwhile, he spends plenty of time exercising so that when he does get back, he’ll be fit enough to face all the trials he knows are coming.
Eventually Jason does manage to return to Lyrian with the important news. Then he and Rachel help to muster up a small force that is willing to risk rebelling against the emperor. There’s only a slight chance that they can succeed, but they have to take that chance. There’s no way that Maldor is going to let Jason and Rachel get back home, and the people of Lyrian have lived too long under a tyrant’s rule.
This time Jason meets some more of the weird mage-crafted races of Lyrian including a race of dwarves who turn into giants when the sun goes down. He explores secret tunnels, hears prophecies, loses his first sword fight, collects explosives, learns a lot about the history of Lyrian, eats some magic mushrooms, meets a beautiful princess, fights zombies, grows moss on his neck, and travels some harsh exotic terrain. Meanwhile, Rachel is beginning to acquire some magical talents of her own.
I mentioned in my review of the first BEYONDERS book, A World Without Heroes, that I appreciated Brandon Mull’s subtle messages for children. He again does a good job with this, showing us, for example, the consequences of addiction; the necessity of being wary of someone who you know has betrayed others and being careful about who you can trust; the benefits of working as a team and being reliable when it comes to doing your part.
I particularly like how Mull’s child heroes aren’t doing everything themselves. They’re working as small but significant parts of a team that is mostly adults. They ask smart questions, anticipate future problems, and contribute meaningfully while respecting the skills and wisdom of their adult companions.
Some of the plot of Seeds of Rebellion drags (there’s a lot of travelling) but young readers who enjoy spending time with Jason and Rachel probably won’t notice and will be anxious to move on to book 3, Chasing the Prophecy. This is a solid addition to the BEYONDERS series. I recommend the audio version narrated by Jeremy Bobb.