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.
I love young-adult adventures that are rich in magic and low on romance. Books like Harry Potter (of course), Percy Jackson, Children of the Lamp, Land of Stories, Fablehaven, etc. However, the leaders of these groups of friends are either male or are male-female siblings/twins. Refreshingly, finally, a young woman is the chosen one! She’s the glue that holds the group together, she’s the one developing her gifts, and she’s the student the dark one is after. This is a great new up-and-coming series that I cannot wait for more of. Other books of this girl-in-charge nature that are also in their beginnings include “Core” by Teshelle Combs, “Zodiac” by Romina Russell, and “Flunked” by Jen Calonita. However, I can already tell that this one is going to be my favorite.
Ms. Noni introduces us to wonderful characters who are enjoyable to read and very funny. Our main character, Alex, is independent, strong in personality, and adapts well to change. She works to overcome every obstacle put in her path while trying to grasp living in a completely different world. She makes the best of every situation. I think she’s a great character for kids to read about. I also love the strong friendship between Alex, Bear, and Jordan. They stick by each other and support each other no matter the situation. I think they're all great role models of kindness and loyalty. And, of course, they have excellent senses of humor. Alex even tries to make friends with her roommate, D.C., who goes out of her way to ignore Alex. Yet Alex is always pleasant to her. It’s a wonderful example for kids of how to treat people even when other people aren't nice to us. It’s a skill that’s severely lacking in our society with technology overpowering face-to-face social interactions.
The world Alex finds herself in is technologically more advanced than ours. However, the students are all very social. They're not always sending text messages or watching TV or playing video games, they're out talking face to face or eating together or outside playing games. The technology is just a convenience and is typically only used in medicine and traveling. Kids use books and physical activity to learn throughout the story. I enjoyed following Alex into her classes. The courses and instructors are quirky and intriguing. The school, curriculum, and teachers are all comparable to the world building in Harry Potter. And like HP, Akarnae is well-developed, rich in history, and run by a mysterious headmaster who helps save the day. It’s an imaginative blend of technology and magical elements.
Of course, what makes a really great school is a really great library. Very cool myth surrounding the library’s magical elements. With innumerable doorways, hidden rooms, paintings you can go in and out of, and secret levels, this is the coolest library I've read about ever.
There were a few times when I wanted to smack Alex when she didn't get something (i.e., Sir Camden to the rescue!). However, this also happened in other series like HP & Percy Jackson. And while there were a few predictable moments, overall, the journey is imaginative and completely captivating. This is going to be one of those series of books that I’d be willing to go the Barnes and Noble at midnight to buy. For the first three or four chapters, the story hadn't quite hooked me. But once Alex got use to her “strange” new world, the pace picked up and the adventures began.
Ms. Noni does a fantastic job of creating loveable characters that you find yourself wanting to go on this journey with. I cannot wait to see how Alex and her groupies mature through this series at the same time waiting to see what mischief they get into next. There’s a lot of potential here. I love imaging what’s to come and eagerly look forward to more. There’s Jordan’s father and his dark secrets, Bear’s loving family who I can’t wait to visit next holiday season, Aven’s next sinister plan, Lady Mystique and her bookstore, summer Combat lessons, and Kaiden’s “beautiful” smile (just to name a few).
I think this story is fit for all ages. Extremely entertaining adventures that are on par with the fun and action of Harry Potter. However, get used to a girl being the Chosen for this series! And may I say… it’s about time a girl takes the lead!!!
Returning for a second year at Akarnae Academy with her gifted friends, Alexandra Jennings steps back through
a doorway into Medora, the fantasy world that is full of impossibilities.
Despite the magical wonder of Medora, Alex’s life remains threatened by Aven Dalmarta, the banished prince from the Lost City of Meya who is out for her blood.
To protect the Medorans from Aven’s quest to reclaim his birthright, Alex and her friends seek out the Meyarin city and what remains of its ancient race.
Not sure who—or perhaps what—she is anymore, all Alex knows is that if she fails to keep Aven from reaching Meya, the lives of countless Medorans will be in danger. Can she protect them, or will all be lost?
Wow. That was a surprise ending and quite a twist.
Noni builds so much intrigue between the different factions that its hard to put the book down. Her characters are inspired and amusing. They have great chemistry and are a delight to read. The world is expanded in mystical ways, and I can't wait to explore more of in book 3.
While I remember the first book opened in America, there are a few references that do not fit with an American character like "mum" and "realised." This is a minor nitpick.
Like book 1, Noni successfully transports her readers to a wonderful world with multifaceted characters in both teens and adults in "Raelia." I'm quite excited for the next books in this series.
"Life is full of crossroads, Alex. Full of choices. There are many paths we can take. It's up to us to decide which ones lead in the right direction."
Just released December 2016: "The Forgotten" volume 2 "Heir of the Heretic"
Reviewed and awarded the
2016 Indie Editor's Choice
by the Historical Novel Society.
Long listed for the Historical Novel Society 2017 Indie Award.
Goodreads profile at: https://www.goodreads.com/JElse