Faelorehn by Jenna Elizabeth Johnson
Review By: Grace Bannister – 3rd period – Honors 9 English
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.
What if you had lived your entire life believing that you were crazy? What if you had seen all of the doctors, taken all of the pills, and listened to all of the explanations, but to no avail? What if, one day, someone showed up with an explanation for it all? What if that explanation could change your life forever? This is what happened to Meghan Elam, a high school senior who has finally found the key to her mysterious past. That key comes in the form of Cade MacRoich, a young man who claims to be from the Otherworld. A magical land from Celtic legend – and Meghan’s homeland. This story was exceptional, and kept me interested throughout. My favorite components were likely the unusual mythology, unusual creatures, and interesting setting.
In all of my years of reading, this is the first story centered on Celtic myth that I have read. I very much enjoyed the unusual focus, and was very interested in learning about the mythology behind it. I was introduced to many Celtic deities that I had never known to exist. I also learned a bit about the epic of Cuchulainn. All of that put together, and wrapped up with a nice plot made for a great story. All in all, the target was unique and the myth unusual.
Most books dealing with mythology are filled with fantastic creatures, and Faelorehn was no exception. This story, however, dealt with amazing beasts of which I had no prior knowledge. I especially found the tale of the Celtic spirit guides to be highly fascinating. Cade’s spirit guide, Fergus, was a great dog that I grew to love. The explanation of spirit guides was very nicely wrought. It was brief but clear. “Fergus is a spirit guide. He is connected to me. Spirit guides are hard to find, but they remain attached to their Faelorehn companion for life.” (- Cade Macroich, pg. 222) However, the Faelah also piqued my interest. The Faelah – gnomes, Cumorrig, and the Puca – were all more or less unfamiliar to me. At least, their Celtic versions were new. It was very nice to see all sorts of different creatures crossing into our world.
The setting of Faelorehn was also very original. True, the small-town feeling has become rather common in modern YA literature, however, other stories are often set in very remote areas. In Faelorehn, Meghan Elam is said to live in Arroyo Grande – a beautiful, California town situated near the coast. This town was a perfect place for the story to unfold, and was described rather beautifully. I often felt as if I could feel the forest around me. It was wonderful to be able to feel as if I had been transported by the story. I believe that only a good authors can give this effect, and I tip my hat to Johnson for having the ability to do so.
In conclusion, Faelorehn was a splendid book that I took pleasure in reading. The other two novels consecutive to this story were brilliant as well, and I would highly recommend the entire series. Readers who enjoy unusual tales, fantastical creatures, and a lovely setting would likely enjoy Faelorehn, and the entire Otherworld Trilogy.