Kudos to J. Ellyne for giving us a wonderful sequel to her lovely, dramatic story, Maginaugh. Maahilund is a story of awesome beauty and abject horror, which pulls the reader in both directions at once – and that requires the real writing talent that J. Ellyne has in abundance. The tale of the Magin, the Pewa and many of the characters in the first book continues with an even more colorful, stirring, heart-wrenching and beautiful tale. In Maahilund, the author shifts most of the tale across the Atlantic to a land of Elves and Demons and magic. In doing so, the author is able to create an even more intricate story and build up ever-more-interesting relationships among the characters in this new, complex land. In Maahilund the reader begins to understand the depth and interplay of the beings who rule J. Ellyne’s fantasy world, and the rules that govern it.
The author explores all the forms of interpersonal love and devotion with taste and sympathy. The way the characters feel about each other is told with a depth of emotional understanding that many lesser authors simply can’t manage. In Maahilund, the feelings are not only well-described, but the author manages to teach the reader something new about love, especially amid tribulation, betrayal, jealousy and lust. That’s a take-away that, in itself, makes the book worth reading.
The author’s sensitivity to the thoughts, feelings and needs of her characters is evident in Maahilund, as it was in Maginaugh. As a result, she weaves a moving story of courage, commitment, gain and loss for all the denizens of the book – whether good or evil. The reader is able to glimpse the most noble of motives as well as the basest. The story quickly draws you in and takes you on such a ride that you regret those moments when you have to put it aside, and return to your regular life. We see the evilest of evil with a burning hatred of everything beautiful in the world, and great love and heroism play out together in Maahilund. Will either one triumph for all time? You’re left to ponder that question – both because of the story’s evolution, and the set-up for the next book in the series. A very well written and edited, truly wonderful reading experience.