Lynette Noni has created a believable magical world in “Akarnae” the first novel of the Medoran Chronicles. Mix a young adult novel with themes similar to Narnia, crossed with a bit of Lord of the Rings and Harry Potter, a sentient Library and a parallel world then you have the beginning of an awesome adventure.
Alexandra’s parents are archaeologists who have just been selected for a very out-of-the-way dig in Siberia, no telecommunications for months. Sent to boarding school for the year, Alex does not have an encouraging first experience upon arrival at her new school. Wishing she were anywhere else, Alex falls though a doorway into a magical world where she learns she has depths to herself she never knew as she navigates the challenges of an environment completely different to her own. Armed with her new friends Jordan and Bear whom she met on landing in Medora, she enrols in Akarnae a school for the Gifted (not just intelligent but magical too.)
Alex learns, grows and adapts to the new world and soon has to make a choice between going home to Earth (or Freya as the Medorans call it) or helping her new friends and saving their world from a magical threat – one that could spill over into Earth as well.
I enjoyed how the author let her characters grow and how the friendships and rivalry between classmates developed. Many of the new classes were physical, such as combat training, archery and horse riding (sounds like fun doesn’t it?) so different from classes on Earth. Advanced medical knowledge allowed injuries to heal super fast, which is very useful for many students. I loved how Alex proved herself during exams and gained the respect of her classmates. Alex is a strong character, accepting magic and all that comes with it without falling to pieces – although inhabitants of Medora do not see their talent as magic, it is biology and technology to them.