Akarnae by Lynette Noni
Published by Pantera Press on February 1st 2015
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With just one step, sixteen-year-old Alexandra Jennings's 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?
Stepping through a door and into an entirely different world was not what Alexandra Jennings had in mind when her parents shipped her off to boarding school. Nor did she think that one step would end up trapping her in Medora—a magical world with Akarnae Academy, a place for the gifted. Her only way home is the headmaster who’s missing, and to add to the bizarre circumstances, everyone is trying to convince her she has some dormant gift. Once she accepts that she isn’t going anywhere anytime soon, she embraces all Akarnae has to offer, including her new friends. But strange things are beginning to loom around her, and only she has the power to save them all.
“Earth—Freya—whatever—might have been lacking on the technological advancement scale, but at least it offered a what-you-see-is-what-you-get reality.”
I received an e-copy of Akarnae from Net Galley, requesting it because of the fascinating summary—this book did not disappoint! Akarnae was nearly impossible to put down. From the beginning I was sucked into the exciting world of Medora and following Alex, Jordan, and Bear on their adventures. Jordan and Bear, Alex’s newfound friends at the academy, had charismatic personalities that made me fall in love them instantly—it would have been impossible not to. Not only did they help introduce Alex into her temporary home, but they added a dash of flair to how I learned about Medora as well. Their constant devotion to Alex bound a tight friendship that everyone craves, and the relationship had a purely brother/sister feel that was refreshing in a Young Adult novel. That isn’t to say that a possible love interest wasn’t introduced, and I’m dying to see where that will lead!
“’If you always relive the same experiences, you’ll never learn new skills or have opportunities to develop your character.’”
Alex was a wonderful heroine. She remained strong in the face of adversity but also kept a level head when things got confusing. When something strange and alien was thrown her way, she took it as an opportunity to learn something from the experience instead of ignoring the situation. As if stepping into a completely different world hadn’t been enough to make this story irresistible, a relatable main character was all it took to push it over the top.
With every great heroine there has to be an evil force trying to use her powers against her, and Merdora was no different. Noni created an enigmatic villain, whose true nature and drive added to the mysticism and had me questioning from the start. When the conflict finally arises, I found it even more difficult to put the book down. It was exciting, thrilling, and alluring all at the same time, and I was dying for the next book at the turn of the last page.
The only problem I had with this book is that I couldn’t sit down and just read it—it was that good—and escape into another world entirely. Fans of Harry Potter or The Chronicles of Narnia, will dive right into to this story of a charming trio, of the girl who is fighting to save a world she is not truly part of, and an Academy that has its own charm. Medora is now one of my favorite fictional worlds, and just like Alex, I can’t wait to return.
“’I learned long ago that some things are meant to remain a mystery.’”