The Otherworld Trilogy
Jenna Johnson's journey into the world of Faerie
Part One: Faelorehn
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I must have read a thousand fantasy novels in my day, and no i am not immortal; I just read a lot. Of those, maybe ten stand out in my memory, and at the moment, Jenna Johnson's Otherworld Trilogy, and all the subsequent books on the same universe, are at the top of the heap.

I try never to write puff pieces, because they're like advertisements--they don't tell you anything. However, I don't review books unless they stand up and demand I do so. Meg's journey is one of those, ad so this series is worth a review.

Here's the story: A high school girl doesn't fit in with her classmates, something we can all relate to, especially those of us of the species Homo nerdiens. Then, after a few scary encounters with a big, red eyed crow, and other wee zombie beasties, she meets a guy who has been surreptitiously checking her out, finally meets him after a scary bout of sleep walking, and, after a certain amount of proper relational missed chances, he tells her that she's not really human at all, but a fairy, a faerlorah, to be specific, and that her birth parents (she always knew she was adopted) lived in the Celtic Otherworld, Eile. He shows her the doorway to the Otherworld, but tells her not to go there, because it's like really dangerous. However, the Morrigan tricks her into going into Eile to rescue Cade, who isn't even in trouble, but it was a set up. What Megan didn't know was that her birth mother was the High Queen and she put magical protections around her daughter, protections that would evaporate if Megan stepped foot in the Otherworld. Because of her ignorance, and because of her feelings for Cade, she follows the Morrigan into the Otherworld, where the Evil One is waiting for her with her army of zombie creatures to kill her and steal her native magic. Meg nearly dies, but is rescued by Cade in the nick of time, because he has a secret, his riastrad, his battle fury, which is the fairy version of turning into the Incredible Hulk.

I love Ms. Johnson's characters. Meg is somebody I feel I already know, for she is everywoman, caught in the labyrinth of her feelings for Cade and her overactive sense of propriety. My sister used to complain of the same thing. Every time some guy she liked asked her out, she heard our mother's voice in her head, reciting her list of things nice girls don't do.

Then there was Cade, who seemed a little bigger than life to me, kind of like Superman, but on the other hand, he was a lot like Meg, caught between his love for her and the domination of his mother, the Big Bad Morrigan, who was really, really bad, and hot at the same time. Where Meg, and Enorah were good and hot, the Morrigan was bad and hot. I suppose Cade was good and hot, too, but being a guy I have little to say about that.

Now, for me, the best sign that a fantasy novel is really good is that it invites me to engage my own imagination. I spent far too much time spinning alternative plots out of her universe and out of her characters, they were that good. The last writer who moved me that way was JRR Tolkein.

Now, there are two more books in this series, and I'm going to review them both in time. They deserve it. Read this series. It's worth it.