Book One of the Otherworld Trilogy
by Jenna Elizabeth Johnson
Publication Date: April 21, 2012
Formats Available: eBook, Paperback
Synopsis: I never heard him come after me and even as I climbed the slope and stumbled onto our shaded back lawn, I didn’t look back. It was like the day the gnomes chased me all over again, but this time I was not escaping some horrible little creatures, I was fleeing from an incredibly good-looking guy who could very well understand me completely. I was either saving myself from that serial killer I always imagined lived down in the swamp, or I had finally gone over the deep end . . .
Meghan Elam has been strange her entire life: her eyes have this odd habit of changing color and she sees and hears things no one else does. When the visions and voices in her head start to get worse, she is convinced that her parents will want to drag her off to another psychiatrist. That is, until the mysterious Cade MacRoich shows up out of nowhere with an explanation of his own.
Cade brings her news of another realm where goblins and gnomes are the norm, a place where whispering spirits exist in the very earth, and a world where Meghan just might find the answers she has always sought. -from Goodreads
Cover: This cover is interesting. It is like a photograph that is out of focus; I can’t quite grasp what I am seeing. I know I see branches, but beyond that I just don’t know. It is mysterious and made me want to see what was hiding beneath the cover. After I finished reading and took another look, I believe this to be what the entrance to the Otherworld looks like after passing through the Dolmarehn.
“You can call me Cade, but you won’t remember this, so it doesn’t matter.”
Faelorehn is not your average faerie tale. This is not about dancing pixies or household mischief makers. This is the story of a girl who is part of a world she has no idea existed; one that wants to kill her and she has no idea why. Although Meghan may seem like a regular 17 year old, she has dreams. In these dreams she is naked roaming the streets of Los Angeles, hands laced tightly in a white dog’s fur. The only catch is, this isn’t really a dream at all, this is her past. That was how she was found – alone at the age of two with no recollection of how or why.
“It wasn’t the dark I was afraid of, but what might be hiding in it.”
Now, living in central California with her adoptive parents and five brothers, Meghan’s life is normal. Well, it is if you don’t count the voices, the visions, or the fact that her eyes change color from one moment to the next. She tries to fit in, but constantly struggles to keep the truth away from her friends and family, and ultimately from herself. But when creatures start appearing and attacking Meghan, she can no longer tell herself that is just her imagination. Especially when Cade MacRoich comes to her aid and somehow knows things about Meghan that she has never told anyone else. Driven to find answers, Meghan searches for answers and unearths information that most people would scoff at, but she knows that incredibly, it is all true.
“It was extremely odd, but then again, I attracted odd the way flowers attracted bees.”
I found Meghan’s character strong and relatable. She wants answers about her life, but is not sure what to believe. Even when Cade shows up with some possible theories, she still searches on her own; not believing whatever she hears because it is told to her by a hot guy. She doesn’t always make the best decisions, but she does everything with pure intentions.
“The upside: it meant that I wasn’t crazy. The downside: it meant I wasn’t human.”
I found Cade to be infuriating. He constantly went missing for weeks on end and he only gave half answers at best. I was never quite sure if he is trustworthy, but I couldn’t help but want him to be the hero Meghan thought he was. I understand why Meghan found him intriguing, but I did not like the way she turned into a shell when he was not around. We have seen that from characters before; I call it the Bella Swan syndrome. I will forgive her though because her life was in turmoil and none of what was happening around her was of her choosing.
“He could be lying. He could be insane. He could be some sadistic creep who planned to murder me and save my fingernails as trophies.”
The use of Celtic mythology is refreshing. I have read many books about the Fae and various pagan belief systems and this book was completely different from anything else. Ms. Johnson uses her knowledge to weave a beautiful story of love, friendship, and legend. Only once before had I ever heard of the Morrigan, the Celtic goddess of war. The atmosphere that the author created was eerie and haunting and the creatures were truly disturbing. The ending left me breathless; book two, Dolmarehn can’t be released soon enough!
“Real fear gripped me then, not just at this terrifying being’s words, but at the fact that she seemed to grow larger in size, the darkness she so claimed as her own spreading out from her like a black mist to dance and mingle and curl along the ground and in the trees surrounding us.”
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
Excellent read! I recommend this book to all YA Fantasy lovers!
FTC Advisory: I was given a copy of this book from the author for an honest review. No backroom deals or whispered promises were made.
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*****Interview & Author Spotlight*****
Breathe In BooKs would like thank Jenna Elizabeth Johnson the author of Faelorehn for the opportunity to ask her a few questions about herself and her book.
Miss Johnson received a BA in Art Practice with a minor in Celtic Studies from the University of California at Berkeley. It was during her time in college that she decided to begin her first novel, 'The Legend of Oescienne - The Finding'. Reading such works as Beowulf, The Mabinogi and The Second Battle of Maige Tuired in her Scandinavian and Celtic Studies courses finally inspired her to start writing down her own tales of adventure and fantasy.Miss Johnson also enjoys creating the many images and maps for her various worlds. Besides writing and drawing, she is often found reading, gardening, camping, hiking and bird watching.
How did you come up with the title?
Ooooh, good question. I guess I came up with the title the way I come up with most of the titles for my books: I just start splicing words together and saying them either in my head or out loud. I wanted the word ‘fae’ to be part of it because most people associate the fae with Irish myth, but I wanted it also to be something different, something unique. How I came up with the ‘lorehn’ part, I can’t say for sure. I just tagged ‘fae’ onto a bunch of sounds and that one sounded the best to me.
What made you choose Celtic Studies at Berkeley?
Now that is a good question, because I discovered the Celtic Studies program completely on accident. Towards the end of my college career I found out about one of those job fair, class option seminars and decided to go check it out. As I was wandering around the auditorium, I happened upon the Celtic Studies table. I had always been interested in Ireland and Scotland (I was a shot putter in high school and college, a Scottish event, and I have some Irish and Scottish ancestry). I picked up a brochure and did some research and signed up for a few classes. After that, I was hooked. I spent the final years of college taking as many Celtic and Norse mythology classes that I could. I can’t say exactly what it was that intrigued me so, but I loved the lore and the fact that not too many people knew about Celtic myth. Perhaps I felt like I was learning about something extremely rare and sacred; doing my part to keep an ancient culture alive.
Give us an interesting fun fact or a few about your book or series:
Faelorehn borrows heavily from Celtic myth. The ancient Celts did believe in the existence of an otherworld and like Fergus (Cade’s spirit guide wolfhound), otherworldly animals were often described as being white with red ears. I just took it to another level by turning them into spirit guides (kind of like a familiar or a pet that is like a body guard) for this series.
The setting for the story itself takes place in the town where I grew up. All of the town and city names are correct. The only things I changed were street names, store names and the name of the high school of course.
Although the idea of Faelorehn had been floating around in the back of my mind for quite some time, what really finally got me to sit down and write it was Amanda Hocking’s Switched. After reading Switched and learning that Ms. Hocking had cleverly utilized the concept of changelings (which I learned about in some of my Norse and Celtic classes), I told myself that I should also write a story and use what I had learned about Celtic myth as the premise.
Who is your ideal reading audience and why should they read your book?
My ideal reading audience is pre-teen to young adult and anyone who likes YA, paranormal romance/urban fantasy. Although I think my book will appeal more to girls, guys are more than welcome to give it a shot ;).
Why should you read Faelorehn? Well, for a few reasons. It has a lot in common with many other paranormal books out there, but instead of focusing on werewolves, vampires and the fae, Faelorehn is taken from a more grounded, yet not as well-known, mythology. I am taking ‘real’ Celtic mythological figures and weaving them into our world, and by doing so I hope to introduce readers to an entirely new world. I’m not saying I’m the only author that does this, but I hope that this difference will help make Faelorehn stand out among all the others.
What can readers who enjoy your book do to help make it successful?
When it comes to independent authors and books, readers are invaluable. Most of us indie authors do not have the financial means to launch a mass marketing scheme to get the word out about our books, so when you read an independent book and you enjoy it, please let others know about it. You can simply tell your friends about the book, you can say something on Facebook, you can write a review and post it wherever book reviews are read (Goodreads, amazon.com, barnesandnoble.com, Smashwords.com etc.). Think of it this way: the reader is our marketing plan in a lot of situations. So, if you are a reader and you read an indie book that you really like, please tell everyone you can about it in any way that you can.
What can we expect from you in the future?
Loads of stuff. I actually have three other books out in a separate series from the Otherworld Trilogy. The Finding, The Beginning and The Awakening are part of the planned five book Oescienne series. They are aimed more towards the middle grade crowd and are quite a bit longer than Faelorehn and stick to a more traditional fantasy storyline. I hope to be working on the fourth book of that series alongside the third Otherworld book this summer and into fall. Other than that, I’ve got many more fantasy based novels on the back burner, some further along than others, some just a sentence or two of ideas. I also plan on writing more books about at least three of the minor characters from the Otherworld books, so stay tuned!
Do you have any unique talents or hobbies?
Other than writing in the fantasy genre? Yes, I have quite a few unique hobbies . . . I enjoy baking cakes and decorating them with real flowers, I insist on making my own Halloween costumes, I have made my own longbow and practice archery every now and again, and on Sunday mornings, my friends and I practice medieval long sword combat. I think that’s all . . . Oh! And I hope to start beekeeping in the near future (bees, a very important creature to the Celts ;)).
Is there anything else you’d like to say?
Yes, thank you so much, Krista, for not only giving Faelorehn a chance, but for giving me an opportunity to talk a little bit about my writing and my experience as an author. I hope you discover many more good reads in the future ;).
And now, before you go, how about a snippet from your book that is meant to intrigue and tantalize us:
Here’s a snippet from a scene that takes place about a third of the way into the book:
“Meghan, I’m afraid we’ve met under unsavory circumstances.”
He glanced down at me with those dark eyes. “Our first meeting wasn’t supposed to go this way. Those hounds,” he paused and grimaced, “let’s just say it was my job to take care of them earlier, and they slipped past me.”
I blinked, feeling myself return to my previous stupor. What was he talking about? He knew about those horrible dogs? It was his job to take care of them? What did that mean? And most importantly, how did he know my name?
I felt ill, as if I were going to throw up. I tried to stand, letting the trench coat slip off of me. All of a sudden it felt like a net meant to trap me like a bird.
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Breathe In BooKs is giving away 3 digital downloads of Faelorehn. Enter the giveaway below and come back everyday for more chances! Note- the downloads will be gifted from either Amazon or Barnes & Noble. Good Luck!
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