Akarnae by Lynette Noni is truly a wonderful young adult fantasy novel! I loved reading every minute it — especially since I was really in the mood for a story where I could lose myself and follow the characters’ journey wherever it happened to lead.
Alexandra Jennings is meant to go to a boring old boarding school while her parents are away for the school year to study with some famous archeologist — and Alex is not happy about it. But as she walks into the International Exchange Academy to hand in her paperwork, she opens a door that leads into a whole new world! And although the first person she meets in Medora is a complete creep, the next two turn out to be her best buds and the perfect Akarnae Academy tour guides. Alex, Jordan, and Bear become fast friends and mischievous adventure seekers.
As she soon discovers, Akarnae is a special school for gifted students — other than being from another world (Freya), Alex isn’t quite sure what her gift is yet… but considering all of the extremely difficult and advanced classes she’s signed up for, we can be sure it’s bound to be a good one. In the meantime, there’s the sentient library with secret levels, hidden rooms, and a million doorways to keep Alex busy enough and provide her with more adventures than she bargains for.
Akarnae is a wonderfully enjoyable read not only because it takes place in an amazing world with highly advanced technology — which Alex aptly describes as something very close to magic — but also because the characters are the kind of people you definitely want to be around. Alex adapts impressively well to being stuck in a different world, trying to learn things she’s never heard of, and surviving her combat class (with some very hot guys who could pretty much crush her), all while maintaining her sense of humor and sarcastic wit. Meanwhile, Jordan and Bear are her hilarious and caring sidekicks — they know when it’s time to look for trouble, make inappropriate comments, or regale us with their charming banter.
I am really looking forward to reading the next installment of The Medoran Chronicles, since I have a lot more questions about Jordan’s strange parentage, Bear’s lovely family, the whereabouts of creepy Aven, and Lady Mystique… oh, and I’d like to know more about Kaiden and his beautiful smile!
You just can’t go wrong with a library that literally tells you to “embrace the wonder.” I can hardly wait to see what awaits Alex and her friends next!
So I finally had some time to sit down and read The Son of Sobek and The Staff of Serapis. I just can’t get enough mythology… or Percy… or Annabeth…. or Kanes! These short stories are an excellent way to get a quick Rick Riordan fix while he writes… the millions books he seems to be working on simultaneously.
The Son on Sobek focuses on Percy and Carter as they battle this huge monster that’s been trampling a neighborhood on Long Island. The monstrous crocodile has been enchanted by an Egyptian amulet, but it’s on Percy’s turf — thus Greek and Egyptian mythology collide. Carter does his battle armor thing… Percy does his water thing… they’re both suspicious about each other, but they work so well together. It’s good fun!
The Staff of Serapis is about Annabeth and Sadie, who meet on the subway as a three-headed staff is in the midst of putting itself together and wreaking havoc during rush hour. This wolf/lion-plus-dog-monster, which is also stuck in some kind of cone, is making its way to its master: a god created by Alexander the Great– part Egyptian, part Greek… and completely insane. Annabeth and Sadie work really well together and become fast friends. Girls just work better!
I like that these stories seem like part of a greater mystery — someone is messing with Egyptian and Greek magic and is simply experimenting to see what happens when these characters come together. And I’m loving it!
Keep them coming, Mr. Riordan!!
I’m really enjoying book reviewing — it does mean that more often than not, my head is stuck in a book… which is wonderful. It also means that I’m reading all kinds of different books. This month I’m reading everything from historical fiction, to mysteries, to alternate worlds and dreams within dreams.
The Anatomy Lesson by Nina Siegal is a historical fiction novel about Rembrandt’s painting by the same name, but it focuses on everything that goes on behind the painting… mainly the criminal who was used for this public dissection.
In the Shadow of Lies by M.A. Adler could also fall under historical fiction (it takes place during World War II) — but the most interesting part is the mystery surrounding the town of Richmond, California, and detective Oliver Wright, who needs to set things straight even though everything around him is falling apart. There are so many things going on — it kept me on my toes!
Lastly, The Bookseller by Cynthia Swanson takes place during the 1960s, in a series of alternate dream sequences. In one instance, Kitty Miller is happily single and owns and bookstore… but in another instance, she’s Katharyn Anderson and is married to lovely man with children. It gets all mixed up, and she doesn’t know what’s real and what’s her dream-world. I liked her character!
And so now I have some time to catch up on some other books I’ve been meaning to read. However, these reviews should be in March’s San Francisco Book Review.