Blurb (from Amazon):
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?
I found this a really enjoyable fun and lighthearted read, with plenty of humour and verve. I also found Alex an enjoyable, well-rounded character, as well as her wise-cracking friends, Jordan and Bear. I liked their well-meaning sparring, and the banter between them all- as well as Alex’s slightly sinister roommate, D.C.
‘Akarnae’ struck me as a playful homage to ‘Harry Potter’ and other grand large-scale fantasy jaunts, such as the work of Ursula Le Guin. With Alex entering the enchanted realm of Medora through a secret doorway, the comparisons to C.S. Lewis’s ‘Narnia’ are unavoidable, but for me ‘Akarnae’ managed to remain fresh and enjoyably tongue-in-cheek. I had the sense, while reading it, that the author had a lot of fun writing it, as Medora is a fantasy land where all kind of space-age gizmos, virtual realities and manifestations are possible. For me, it also held echoes of Libba Bray’s ‘A Great and Terrible Beauty’, where a traditional Victorian boarding school hides a magical other-world within its dusty corridors.
All in all, a fun and enjoyable adventure!
Overall rating: 10 out of 10