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Reviewed by Rosie Malezer for Readers' Favorite
The Morgul Maze is the second book in the Joshua of Gaia series, written by M.G. Goggin. Joshua is one of eighteen orphans who are regularly bullied by the bigger kids and mistreated by a cruel headmistress, Gertrude (aka Whale). Josh has flashbacks of how he had been magically transported to another realm known as Elderworld, a place where he’d learned to use a very old and sacred magic known as Elderpower. Hopeful of someday returning to Elderworld, Joshua’s prayers are answered when he is whisked away via a cupboard door while escaping yet another beating from the orphanage bullies. Reunited with Wade, Sophie and Alexia from his adventures of one year earlier, the children are referred to on Elderworld as ‘The Forbidden Four’ as they possess magical powers which they should not have. The Wizen Council members have brought them back to observe them and determine what to do with them, while schooling them privately in the laws and history of Elderworld. After a fun-filled school excursion to the sugar factory, Josh and the rest of the fabulous four discover what has really called for their return to Elderworld, requiring every bit of their acquired knowledge to see them through to the end.
While it was difficult to break into the actual story of Joshua of Gaia without having the details of a former book to give me the backstory, M.G. Goggin filled in some of those gaps when Josh took center stage. It was not long before I found myself engulfed in a wonderful tale of magic and adventure. The bullying and horrific treatment at the orphanage turned the Elderworld into a much-needed getaway and distraction for Josh, where he could feel empowered with magical gifts, friends who watched his back, and foster parents who adored him. After reading The Morgul Maze, I feel compelled to seek out the first book from the Joshua of Gaia series and read it from cover to cover before reading this tale once again so that I might understand it in a different light. I recommend this book to readers in the 7-12 age group and those who are young at heart who enjoy drama, action, adventure, and a grand splash of humor injected into their fantasy reading.