Published by Pantera Press on February 1st 2015
Genres: Fairy Tales & Folklore, General, Young Adult
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With just one step, sixteen-year-old Alexandra Jennings’ world changes—literally.Dreading her first day at a new school, Alex is stunned when she walks through a doorway and finds herself stranded in Medora, a fantasy world full of impossibilities. Desperate to return home, she learns that only a man named Professor Marselle can help her… but he’s missing.While waiting for him to reappear, Alex attends Akarnae Academy, Medora’s boarding school for teenagers with extraordinary gifts. She soon starts to enjoy her bizarre new world and the friends who embrace her as one of their own, but strange things are happening at Akarnae, and Alex can’t ignore her fear that something unexpected… something sinister… is looming.An unwilling pawn in a deadly game, Alex’s shoulders bear the crushing weight of an entire race’s survival. Only she can save the Medorans, but what if doing so prevents her from ever returning home?Will Alex risk her entire world—and maybe even her life—to save Medora?
Akarnae has been described as Narnia meets Harry Potter meets X-Men and I can see why. Doorways which serve as magical portals to mystical worlds. People who are more than what they seem and castles with secrets of their own serving as home for all those who attend Akarnae Academy – a boarding school for teens with magical gifts.
And whilst Akarnae may be reminiscent of other stories you may have read before – Noni delivers a great story which is different than other fantasy series which have come before it. Alexandra Jennings is an good choice of character to follow as she explores Medora – a world she was unknowingly thrust into and oddly enough was expecting her arrival. Her naivety regarding the way of the Medorians was believable and, lucky for her, new best friends Jordan and Bear were around to help explain the customs of the odd and magical world. One of the strengths of this novel was how vividly the settings were described. I could picture all the places Alex visited with such clarity!
The library is amazing! I loved the idea of the library being a living entity. I also loved many of the ‘magical’ aspects of this book (the food delivery system was rather awesome and I’m a little jealous of athe Akarnae attendees for having this particular piece of nanotechnology). The plot is interesting. I’m eagerly awaiting the next book in the series to see what happens to Alex and co. next.
Alex herself is somewhat a typical heroine for this type of story. She’s “the chosen one” for lack of a better phrase but her adventures over the course of the novel are entertaining despite her non-apparent super specialness. Bear and Jordan were great sidekicks for her. I loved how they interacted with each other and the lack of either being a love interest for Alex was a huge plus. I think that with time the characters will become more well rounded and three dimensional.
I can see readers who are older middle grade/younger side of young adult really getting into this book. Despite the characters being 16, there is a younger vibe throughout (I consider the target audience being very similar to that of Percy Jackson).
Akarnae is an interesting debut and a great start to what promises to be an exciting series by Aussie author, Lynette Noni.
Thanks to the publisher for the review copy.
Note: This is a rewritten review previously published earlier this year. I think it must have been erased in the Great Accidental Blog Delete of 2015. Since that time I have reread the novel and this is a new review.