Akarnae: The Medoran Chronicles Book One (Lynette Noni, Pantera)
This is another book about ‘young people at magic school’, which we’ve seen a lot of in the post-Harry Potter market. To be fair, the magic school plot device was established long before J K Rowling, and it’s the tweaks and quirks that a writer puts into their version that set a book apart. With Akarnae, debut author Lynette Noni manages to put enough of her own spin on things to keep even a jaded YA reader entertained. Alex, the protagonist, is a pleasing mix of naïve and savvy, and there are plenty of rough-and-tumble action scenes for those who like their heroines in the thick of it. Her school friends, Jordan and Bear, are fun foils, and the dialogue between the three characters is natural and humorous. Alex’s roommate Delucia is mean without being over the top; the teachers are appropriately odd; and the villain, the banished Elven Prince Aven, is cool and scary. Medora, the world Alex is pulled into from ours, and Akarnae, the school that she finds herself mysteriously enrolled in, are interesting, but have some issues. Magic and high tech that looks like magic coexist, and I was occasionally confused as to which was which. Nevertheless, this book is good fun and a solid recommendation for YA readers.
Stefen Brazulaitis is the owner of Stefen’s Books in Perth