The launch party, at Cottonwood High School on Tuesday, March 15th, was filled mostly with fans ages 12 and under, though there was no lack of parents and teenage. Nearly everyone was decked out with Beyonders shirts or tote bags, like sisters Alyssa and Ashley Larsen.
The party included an hour long show with skits from the DC Comedy Group, which Mull belonged to back when he was a BYU student, cameos from Mull's wife and other popular authors like James Dashner (Maze Runner, 13th Reality), Jessica Day George (Dragon Slippers, Princess of the Midnight Ball), and Shannon Hale (Princess Academy, Goose Girl) who also hosted the event.
The stage was decked out in Beyonders fashion with medieval-style walls and props. The actors wore rustic-style costumes, and the Blind King, a character from the new book, sat on his throne in the background.
The skits had fans of all age rolling in their seats laughing. They brought characters such as Harry Potter, Katniss Everdeen (The Hunger Games), Percy Jackson and Capt'n Jack Sparrow. Also featured were Kendra and Seth from Mull's first popular series, Fablehaven.
The first skit had the former characters try to cheer up Seth, who was angry that his series had ended and could care less about the new book. Transitions between the skits had the audience going wild with glowsticks.
The parodies continued with a mockery of Harry Potter spells just adding "ius" or "icus" to the end of everything they wished to do. A display of what boys do as soon as girl's leave the room (Star Wars battles complete with sound effects and actions) took up the time between that and the first author appearance by George, who fell in a hippo tank at the zoo and ended up on stage.
Hale's advice: Next time, just go straight into the hippo's mouth; bypass the water altogether. The comedy players continued with a slideshow about Brandon, since they've known him since college. They continued to try to top each other with who had known Brandon longer, ending in Joel Hilton, one of the players, plastering his face on everyone in a Mull family photo.
The fun continued with the girls leaving for the Justin Bieber movie after which the guys proceeded to dance and lip sync to "Baby." The girls, of course, came back and caught them in the act. Dashner popped up with some shameless self-promotion of his books before exiting the stage. The players resumed their skits with auditions for a new Mother Goose, since she had gone crazy and was confined to a home.
The potential authors had to give their rendition of Jack and Jill. Stephanie Meyer was up first, going into excruciating detail of Jacob (Jack replacement) before the director cut her off, admonishing that "This is a kid's show!" Up next was Doctor Seuss who, true to his style, rambled on with fun but made up words. When the director called him on it, he plead for a break, claiming that he "didn't even own a thesaurus." Seuss was followed by Suzanne Collins, who twisted the tail into a Hunger Games scenario with Jack and Jill battling to the death over the bucket of water, their only hope for survival. With a comment of "that was dark," the director moved on to the last competitor - Edgar Allen Poe. With a rhyming tale that could compete with any of Poe's epic stories, Poe had Jill knocking Jack out and throwing him down a poisoned well. Quite an interesting skit for a kid's show, but it didn't lack in humor whatsoever.
The skits came to an end when the actors got in a fight over what skit to do next, culminating in a Matrix-style fight that had the whole audience laughing and whooping. Once all the actors had fled the stage, Hale took over the show again, upset that Mull was a no-show. Just when she was getting in the middle of her rant, however, the Blind King, who had been a silent, unmoving character in the background throughout the piece, was revealed to be Brandon Mull. Once he had a few words with Shannon about eating his lunch that his wife had brought him, he took center stage, talking about his book and what had led up to it. Thank yous to the participating authors and actors, Mull moved into talking about Fablehaven, imagination, and the reception his books had received throughout the world. Fablehaven has even been turned into a modern dance!
He talked about the world of Lyrian, the types of creatures you can find there, and what had inspired the writing. He said he had gotten the idea from thinking about the heroes of our world, how people have gotten cynical about heroes now-a-days, and what it would be like to live in a world that was truly devoid of reliable heroes. When he got into talking about his grandfather, who was his biggest hero and present that night, he became so emotional he couldn't speak for several moments. To see such proof an author as well-known and famous as Brandon Mull is so very human like the rest of us was unbelievably touching. The whole crowd was patient as he tried to pull himself back together, and no one was shy about shouting out their love for him.
Mull asked the crowd that if they enjoyed the launch party, to tell their friends about it the next time a launch party rolled around. If they enjoyed the book, he needed their help spreading the word about it. If you would like to hear more about Mull or his books, you can find him at brandonmull.com or follow him on Twitter @brandonmull
After the launch party, fans flocked to the common rooms of the school to line up for Mull's autograph. A cast of Fablehaven characters wandered around the room to take fan photos.
From left to right, top row then bottom row: Jenna Thompson and Stephanie Greene as Knights of the Dawn, Maddi Oldroyd as Ephira, Kim Richards as Muriel, Trevor Pierce as another Knight of the Dawn, Nathan Parmer as Doren, Kendra Nicolls as a fairy, Ty Mull as Newel.
The launch party was a lot of fun, and nobody went away empty-handed. The crew definitely kicked up a lot of excitement for this new book, and I'd like to extend a special round of applause for those hard-working and very funny comedy players: Rob Marsh, Chad and Shelly Morris, Bryson and Summer Mull and Joel Hilton. And, of course, major props to Brandon Mull himself, for signing hundreds of books that one night and inviting us to such a fun night.
"One thing I like is the trailer [for the book]. If I knew nothing about the book and had never heard of it, that would definitely get me interested," says Mull, who I stalked for a quote after the event. "They did a really good job on that."
You can find the trailer on brandonmull.com.
To see a video of the event, check out our YouTube channel.