My Experience with this World:
I forget how long ago it was, but I had just put Sew, It's a Quest on a "Free for a few days" spin, and was looking at my author page, specifically at the "Customers also bought books by" list and the name Molly Evangeline jumped out at me for some reason. I clicked it and was further intrigued by the gorgeous covers on her books - and the fact that she was a christian author with both fantasy and historical fiction - my two favorite genres.
But - alas! - I did not have the money to buy any of them, so I contented myself with adding her blog to my late google reader, and read the posts that she posted occasionally.
Then came a bright and sunshiny day when she posted a "Free Books for Reviews!" post. Since it was back when my mother and I were managing at least a post every other day on the O.Scarlett Blog, I jumped at the chance. I asked for the first of her fantasy books, she sent it to me, I devoured it and wrote my review. Then I asked for the second book and repeated the process. Unfortunately, the third book wasn't out, so I had to ask for the first of her historical fictions instead.
Eventually, however, she did release the third book of her Makilien Trilogy, and since she gave it an introductory price of a mere 99 cents, and I happened to have that in my Amazon Gift Card balance, I bought it without a second's glance. I devoured in a day and I must say that it is probably the only time I can confess to having a book read within forty-eight hours of its release.
Truth be known, I don't think that was ever addressed. For certain the world was created by Elohim, but I don't remember an actual, detailed account.
I happen to know that these books were inspired by Middle Earth, so its no surprise that they have a very middle-earthy feel.
This came off of Molly's official site for the book, and I actually have it as one of the pictures that my computer rotates through for its wallpaper.
As you can tell, there are a LOT of forests, and a LOT of mountains. However, Molly managed to make every single forest different than the one before, and every single mountain range, again, different. Eldinorieth is a light, airy forest that, though large and there are some not-so-nice creatures lurking in it they're only there because Zirtan, the dark lord, stationed them there to capture the unsuspecting travelers.
Darrow Forest, on the other hand, is think and dark, and has an altogether different sort of tree. It's under the shadow of Zirtan's fortress, so while there are good people there, you're not likely to meet with them unless you stumble into their distrustful clutches.
There are several cities that are rather important. Reylaun, a village under Zirtan's control, is where the first two books begin. It's small, but surrounded by high walls and no one is allowed in or out without permission.
And then you come to Elimar, the elven city, which is, perhaps, the place with the least influence from Zirtan. It is rolling, grand and impressive, yet homey at the same time. And then there is Minarald, which is a fortress, but it's really a very nice place too, though I'd personally prefer to live in Elimar.
Peoples and Culture:
Humans are the majority in Dolennar, and they live most anywhere. Their lifestyles and cultures vary from simple-minded villagers who live in Reylaun to the Robin Hood-like community who live in Darrow Forest. They are easily led astray by the lies of Zirtan, but many stay true to Elohim.
Then there are the elves, who mostly live in Elimar and the surrounding area. They live incredibly long lives and are peaceful creatures, but if called on to fight for their freedom and the honor of Elohim, they don't hesitate. In all of history, no elf has ever been deceived by Zirtan's lies.
Occasionally, there is intermarriage between elves and humans. The children of such unions are long-lived, and they usually resemble their father's people.
There are intelligent dragons in this world. They're large, powerful creatures, but since they've become objects of human fear, they were hunted. As a result, all but three of them have removed themselves to a very hard to get to place.
And there are also the goblins and shraikes, but I don't know enough of their customs to talk about them. They're, for the most part, followers of Zirtan.
What I like about this world:
I loved the fact that while, on the surface, this is a very simplistic world, when you dig deeper, there is actually quite a bit of variety. It has the heart of Middle Earth with the clearer allegory of Narnia, and really, I don't think I can give a book higher praise.
What I don't like:
I have no complaints when it comes to the world itself. I loved the series, and enjoyed immersing myself in the world Molly has created. I had trouble connecting with the main character, but this delightful world more than made up for that.
If I must make a complaint, it's that we only get three books. I'd really, really like to see Molly write more books, though I know that, at the moment, she's working a six-book series set in a world called Illyon, which, quite frankly, sounds even better than Dolennar, so I suppose I shall have to forgive her.
However, I may have to indulge in my desire to write my own sequel someday. There is a certain younger sister of the main character who I'd love to see have a story of her own.
What I learned from this world:
The lesson I learned from this world is really quite profound, though I suppose that you may laugh at it when I tell it to you. I learned that just because a book is fantasy doesn't mean that it has to have magic. Simple, right?
But truthfully, until I read this book, I don't think I had ever encountered a fantasy world that did not have some form of magic in it. I definitely hadn't written one. Now, however, while I can't confess that all of my books are magic-free (they most certainly are not!) there are many that are at least mostly magic free.