Publisher: Pantera Press
Released: February 1st 2015
My Rating: 3.75 stars out of 5
Find it on Goodreads
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? (from Goodreads)
Alex was one of those characters you just had to like. The situations she found herself in sometimes were hilarious (the juice scene seriously had me cracking up). I loved that there was this running joke of her always ending up in the medical ward. She and the doctor always had the funniest conversations and it was awesome. I also really liked that Alex wasn't afraid to try new and scary things. While I do think she did perhaps adjusted to this alternate world she ended up in a bit too quickly (she wasn't scared or worried) and maybe made a few bad decisions along the way (general tip: don't reveal information to strangers who are obviously shady), she at least didn't spend the time moping about and actually tried to learn more about Medora and the things she was up against. She was determined and didn't give up during difficult tasks. It was definitely interesting to see that her potential in a lot of the classes she was taking was very high, and I'm hoping we get to see more of her training in the next book since that wasn't focussed on much in this one. I think her connection to the Library was also very cool and I really loved all the scenes that took place in the random parts of the Library. Very excited to see more of this and learn more about the connection in the next book. I did feel that Alex perhaps took a bit too long to figure out things that were very obvious sometimes, but that's pretty much the only thing that bothered me.
Jordan and Bear, Alex's best friends, were another great pair of characters. They definitely added more humour to the story, and I liked that the three of them always had each other's backs. The fact that Alex managed to find such loyal friends was really lucky I think, because without them, she probably would have enjoyed her time at Akarnae much less. It was interesting to learn a bit about Jordan's family as well, and the fact that he really did not get on with them, whereas Bear's family were quite the opposite and were a lovely caring bunch who embraced Alex's arrival. I'm hoping we'll get to see more of these family dynamics in book two and whether anything will change. DC, Alex's roommate, was a character I didn't like much at first, but who really grew on me by the end. She was very closed off and hostile at the beginning but she slowly began to trust and like Alex more and I really enjoyed seeing that character development and the friendship between them strengthen.
Plot-wise, I did enjoy everything that was happening, but found the writing a little bit weak to start with. There was a lot of repetition of the same words and phrases ("totally insane", for example) and an overuse of adverbs - generally the first few chapters just seemed a bit disjointed. It was difficult to really understand how Alex was feeling and a lot of things were just stated but not elaborated upon, like Alex's training. However, the writing did improve later on and was much better towards the end of the book. It was mostly just that beginning bit that I found to be a bit odd, so please don't let this put you off reading the book. The actual plot was definitely engaging and went in directions that I did not expect, especially with the Library (the fact that the Library is sentient and able to choose who can access it and who can't is just awesome). Alex really grew as a character as well and all the tasks and obstacles she faced prepared her for what happened in the end. And I really did appreciate the ending because it wasn't a huge torturous cliffhanger and yet at the same time still made me really want to read the next book. I am really looking forward to book two and finding out what happened in Alex's world while she was gone, as well as seeing how things are going to play out in Akarnae! I'm definitely intrigued to see the return of a few certain characters as well, especially the mysterious old lady from the bookshop who somehow seemed to know way more than she should have.
Overall, Akarnae was a really fun read and I recommend it, especially if you like stories set in alternate worlds.