Akarnae

Akarnae

by Lynette Noni

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Overview

The first of the five-part MEDORAN CHRONICLES offers a new slant on magical parallel worlds – it’s Harry Potter meets X-Men, with a twist of Narnia.  With just one step, 16-year-old Alex 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 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 there 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?

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781921997518
Publisher: Pantera Press
Publication date: 02/01/2015
Series: Medoran Chronicles , #1
Sold by: Barnes & Noble
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 448
Sales rank: 446,164
File size: 2 MB
Age Range: 12 - 17 Years

About the Author

Lynette Noni grew up on a farm in outback Australia until she moved to the beautiful Sunshine Coast and swapped her mud-stained boots for sand-splashed flip-flops. She has always been an avid reader and most of her childhood was spent lost in daydreams of far-off places and magical worlds. She was devastated when her Hogwarts letter didn't arrive, but she consoled herself by looking inside every wardrobe she could find, and she's still determined to find her way to Narnia one day. While waiting for that to happen, she creates her own fantasy worlds and enjoys spending time with characters she meets along the way.

Read an Excerpt


                                                                                  One

“Honey, if there was any other way, your mother and I would take you with us in a heartbeat.”
     Alexandra Jennings stared out the car window into the dense forest and sighed deeply into her phone. “I know, Dad. But it still sucks.”
     “I’m sorry, sweetheart,” came her father’s reply. “But the International Exchange Academy is one of the best schools in the country. They’ll take good care of you.”
     Alex only just managed to hold back the words that tried to leap from her tongue straight down the phone line.
     Take me with you! she wanted to scream. Don’t abandon me!
     That was what it felt like her parents were doing, even if it wasn’t their fault. They’d been offered the opportunity to study under a famous archaeologist—a once in a lifetime invitation—but there was a catch. They couldn’t take anyone with them, which meant Alex was being shipped off to a boarding school for the rest of the school year—eight whole months.
     And it got worse. Not only were they leaving her behind, they were also headed to some middle-of-nowhere dig-site in Siberia—as in, Russia—which was in a complete communication dead-zone. No phone coverage. No Wi-Fi signal. Not even a postman. After today, Alex wouldn’t be hearing from them again until they returned at the beginning of June for the summer holidays.
     “I just hate that I won’t be able to contact you,” Alex said, not for the frst time. “What if I get bitten by a tick and end up with Lyme disease?” Her eyes scanned the thick woodland. “It’s a definite possibility. And don’t even get me started on how many wild animals Wikipedia says are in the forest up here. What if I get eaten by a bear? Or a cougar? I won’t be able to call you and tell you what happened!”
     Her father’s amusement rang clearly through the connection. “In the unlikely event that you’re mauled to death by the wildlife, you won’t be able to call anyone.”
     “But no one else will be able to call you on my behalf, either,” Alex pointed out. “That means you’ll miss my funeral and you’ll never get any closure about my death. You’ll always wonder if it was a wolf or a bobcat that enjoyed Alexandra à la carte.”
     Her father chuckled. “I’m going to miss your sense of humour.”
     “Dad, I’m being serious here. Carnivorous animals are no laughing matter.
     He wisely ignored her and instead said, “Your mother’s making weird hand gestures at me. I’m guessing the Valium have finally kicked in. I made her take a double dose—you know how much she hates flying—so I think the peacockbobbing and flapping arms mean she wants to talk to you. I better put her on before she takes someone’s eye out.”
     Alex smiled into the phone. “Probably a good idea.”
     “I love you, sweetheart. The time will pass quicker than you realise.”
     Before she could respond, a crinkling noise sounded through the earpiece as he handed the phone over.
     “Alex?” came her mother’s somewhat slurred voice. Another ten minutes and she’d be out cold—which was for the best, since she really didn’t do well on planes.
     “I’m here.”
     “I don’t have long, they’ve just started boarding our—hic!—flight,” she said. “But I wanted to say—hic!—goodbye, again.”
     Alex frowned at the back of the seat in front of her. “Are you all right?”
     “Fine, fine,” her mother said, hiccupping again. “I just had a little drink to help wash down the sedative. Hic!”
     “I’m pretty sure you’re not supposed to mix alcohol with those drugs, Mum,” Alex said, failing to keep the humour from her voice. “And you know, statistically speaking, you’re more likely to get kicked in the head by a mule than to die in a plane crash. You’re going to be fine.”
     “Of course I will be.” Her mother’s words became even more slurred as the medication continued taking effect. “And you will be, too. I know you wanted to come with us, but this is really for the best. Hic! You’ve been stuck following us around the globe for your entire life—it’s time you settled in one place and had a chance to make some friends your own age.”
     Her mother had a point. Moving countries every few months while her parents chased the next big archaeological discovery hadn’t helped Alex’s social development. She didn’t have any friends—she wasn’t even sure how to make friends. High school politics were beyond her understanding; she had no idea what to expect from her new school. It wasn’t like she could just go and sit beside someone in the sandpit, eat dirt with them, and declare a state of ‘besties forever’.
     “You’re right,” Alex said, mustering up as much optimism as she could. “I’m sure everything is going to work out great.”
     “That’s the—hic!—spirit,” her mother replied. “Now, I better go before the purple monkey eats my last banana. Hic!”
     Alex pulled her phone from her ear and looked at it quizzically before returning it once more. “What did you say?”
     “I said—”
     She was interrupted by Alex’s father in the background.
     “Time to board, Rach. Say ‘goodbye’.”
     “I have to go, Alex,” her mother said. “I know you’re going to have a fabulous time at the—hic!—academy. We’ll see you in June. Not long now!”
     Clearly the meds were doing their job, especially if eight months equalled ‘not long now’. But Alex didn’t want to ruin her mother’s happy buzz, so she kept her mouth closed.
     “I love you, baby. Be careful, but have fun!” And with those final words, a quiet click disconnected the last phone call they’d share for a long, long time.
     Feeling disheartened, Alex turned to look out the car window again, noticing that there were many more trees surrounding them now than before. It was clear evidence of just how easily a few hours of driving had transported her from her most recent home in Cannon Beach, Oregon, to somewhere on the outskirts of Mount Hood National Forest. The change in scenery from the rocky coastline to the thickening woodland was startling, and Alex couldn’t help but feel like she was already a long way from her comfort zone.
     “Miss? We’re here,” her driver finally said.
     They’d stopped in a private driveway barricaded by two massive, wrought-iron security gates. A sign woven into the steelwork spelled out the words: ‘International Exchange Academy’.
     The driver spoke quietly through the intercom and a moment later the gates opened without so much as a creak. They moved slowly up the narrow, tree-lined path until they reached the academy itself.
     “You’ve got to be kidding me,” Alex muttered at the view out the window.
     The academy really wasn’t all that different from the stereotype she’d envisioned—big, ostentatious, gothic even. But the students?
They looked miserable. All of them wore tight, uncomfortable looking uniforms despite the fact that it was Sunday afternoon and there were no classes until the next morning. And they didn’t appear to be doing anything; they were just loitering aimlessly. It was as if they had nothing better to do than wait for someone to come along and break into the monotony of their boring existence. Looking at them, Alex seriously doubted she’d be able to follow her mother’s advice to ‘have fun’.
     When the car pulled to a stop, she noticed a group of students mingling near a gaudy, medieval-styled water fountain. They weren’t smiling. They weren’t laughing. They were barely even talking amongst themselves. All Alex could think was that she would be more likely to make friends with a rock than any of the students scowling in her direction.
     Don’t judge by appearances, she told herself. First impressions weren’t always accurate, right? Alex might not like being abandoned at the academy, but she was determined to at least try and make the most of her stay. And that meant keeping an open mind, regardless of the unwelcoming vibes coming from her new classmates.
     “I’ll take your bags,” her driver offered, interrupting her thoughts. “You should head into the administration building and speak with the headmaster.”
     Alex grabbed the enrolment papers from her bag and handed the rest of her luggage over. She wasn’t an official student yet since her parents hadn’t had the time to properly enrol her before leaving.
     “Which way do I go?” she asked the man as he started to walk away with her belongings.
     He pointed to the closest building and left her standing on her own while the zombie-like students just stared at her.
     Right, let’s get this over with, she thought, gathering her courage. She wasn’t an animal in a zoo, and she didn’t appreciate all the
speculative glances directed her way. Nevertheless, she held her head high and headed towards the administration building.
     As she walked around the fountain she flicked through her paperwork once more—partly to avoid looking at the creepy gargoyle statues around the water feature, partly to avoid making eye contact with the other students, and partly to make sure everything that needed to be signed was, in fact, signed.
     Alex was so distracted by her papers that she barely heard the whispered, “Fish out of water, think we should help her?” and the corresponding, “Absolutely. We wouldn’t want her to choke.”
     Before she could properly register the words, something slammed into her, causing her to stagger forward. She managed to regain her balance just in time to avoid a messy fall into the grungy-looking water.
     “Oh, I’m so sorry!” a girl around Alex’s age said. “I’m so clumsy sometimes.”
     “It’s okay,” Alex assured her, straightening. “No harm done.”
     “Brianna! You’re always getting in the way! You almost sent the new girl into the fountain. What kind of a welcome would that have been?” said another girl who stepped up beside them.
     “Really, it’s fne,” Alex said again. She didn’t want to cause any problems before school even started. It was bad enough that she was transferring mid semester.
     “It’s fine?” the newest girl repeated with a toothy grin.
     “Hear that, Brianna? She said it’s fine.”
     Alex wasn’t sure what to make of their exchange. Their identical beaming smiles put her on edge, so she quickly excused herself. “I have to go and see the headmaster, but I’m sure I’ll see you both around.”
     “Oh, allow us to help,” the non-Brianna girl said. “It’s the least we can do. You wouldn’t want to go to the wrong place and cause a—”
     Her timing was perfect, really. When Alex stepped forward, Brianna ‘accidentally’ tripped over her own feet again. She bumped hard into Alex who had nothing to hold on to and no room left to fnd her balance. With her arms cartwheeling uselessly, Alex fell straight into the fountain.
     The moment her head broke through the surface of the water, she heard non-Brianna gleefully fnish the last word of her sentence.
     “—splash.”
     The previously quiet courtyard erupted into laughter.
     “Welcome to the academy, Newbie.”
     Alex scowled at the two girls as she swiped her sopping hair out of her eyes and pulled herself out of the fountain. She ignored the continuing laughter and marched towards the administration building, determined to put as much distance between her and the uniformed—and mean—zombies as possible.
     Barely fve minutes had passed since she’d arrived at the academy and already she knew her parents had been wrong. Judging by her classmates’ welcoming committee, there was no way she was going to have an enjoyable time, nor was it likely she’d make any friends. Not a single person had tried to help her out of the fountain—they’d all been too busy laughing at her. That told her all she needed to know. She would just have to grit her teeth and get through the next eight months, and once her parents were back, she would never have to return to the academy again.
     She trudged forward with bitter resolve and tried to air out her enrolment papers, but there was nothing she could do since they were just as soaked as she was. At least the ink hadn’t run, that was something.
     Alex entered the building and paused when she caught sight of her reflection in a mirror just inside the doorway. Her clothes were stuck to her shivering body, her long dark hair was stringy and wet, and her normally warm brown eyes were darkened by her turbulent emotions.
     She shook her head and turned away from her bedraggled appearance. So much for making a good first impression.
     Dripping water all the way, Alex headed over to the reception desk.
     “Can I help you?” asked the lady seated there, without so much as a glance upwards. It was probably for the best since Alex was leaving a small lake on the pristine floor.
     “I’m here to enrol,” Alex said. It didn’t take a genius to hear the misery in her voice.
     “Name?” the woman asked.
     “Alexandra Jennings.”
     “Take a seat, Miss Jennings.”
     Alex shuffled over to a line of chairs and sat down with a squelch. She still couldn’t believe what had transpired outside. She wondered if it was too late to try and call her parents one last time—and convince them to fnd a way to smuggle her away with them—but she knew it was useless. Their plane had probably already taken off; they were likely long gone. She was on her own.
     “The headmaster will see you now,” the receptionist said, still not bothering to glance up. “Down the hallway, third door
on the right.”
     Alex rose from her seat and headed down the brightly lit corridor, soon losing sight of the reception area.
     If only things could be different, she thought sadly, knocking on the headmaster’s door. There was no answer, so she tried again,
louder. When still no call came to enter, Alex shrugged and turned the handle.
     It was dark inside the room. Pitch-black, in fact.
     “Hello?” she called out from the doorway. “Is anyone in here?”
     Just as she was about to retrace her steps and go back to the reception, the room exploded with light. Alex had to hold her hand up to shield her eyes from the sudden brightness. When she was able to lower her arm again, she stared in shock at the
sight before her.
     “What the…?” she whispered.
     I must have hit my head when I fell into the fountain, she reasoned. It was surely the only explanation for the view in front of her.
     The doorway opened into a small forest clearing. Sunlight streamed through the canopy of evergreens and their shadows dappled the mottle-coloured forest floor. The surrounding trees continued further than her eyes could see, with no school
buildings in sight. 
     “It must be some kind of optical illusion,” Alex muttered to herself. She glanced behind her and took in the sterile walls of the corridor before she turned to face the forest again. She couldn’t wrap her head around the different scenery, but something about the dense woodland captivated her attention.
     I’ll just have a quick look around, she thought. No one will know. Then I can come back and meet the headmaster.
     Decision made, Alex quickly stepped through the doorway before she could change her mind. She expected to hear the crunching noise of dried leaves under her feet, but instead the ground disappeared and suddenly, impossibly, she was catapulted through the air. The wind rushed past her, whooshing by her ears as she flew along at what felt like the speed of light.
     Just when she thought she might throw up, everything stopped.
     Alex’s heart thumped wildly in her chest. She lay spreadeagled on the ground but had no idea how she’d landed. Her eyes were shut tight, but she could feel the leafy forest floor underneath her; she could smell the woody scent of pine cones in the air; and she could hear noises—branches creaking, birds singing, wind whistling through the trees.
     Hesitantly, she opened her eyes and looked around, finding herself lying in the middle of the forest clearing she’dseen through the  doorway. But the doorway itself—and the administration building—was nowhere in sight.
     The good news was that her airborne journey had mysteriously dried out her sodden clothes and hair. She wasn’t even damp anymore.  The bad news was that she had no idea where she was or how she was supposed to get back.
     Alex sighed and threw her arms out to the sides, sending leaves scattering. “This new school sucks.”

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Akarnae 4.7 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 6 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I was hooked from beginning to end. The story was just a fun and exhilirating experience for me. From the characters to the world itself, everything was enjoyably good. I hope to follow more of Alexandra's adventures in the future. The series is off for a good start.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book was exactly what I had been looking for. It’s increasingly difficult, ever since I’ve moved into the YA genre, to find a fantasy book that is from a teen’s point of view without being too dull of a read. The cover immediately captured my attention and caused me to smile, as it reminded me of book covers from when I was younger. Like I said, this book was exactly what I had been searching for and I’m so truly grateful that I stumbled upon it.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The evening I finished Akarnae I sat down in front of the fire to write, unordered thoughts swirling in my head. Do I go with the, “It’s like Harry Potter mixed with X-Men and The Chronicles of Narnia” quote? Can I describe the pure awesomeness of Alex without giving things away? Characters, focus on characters. No friendships? The ways it’s better than typical young adult fantasy? The fun alternate world? The fantasticness that it is the first of a series… Stymied by my enthusiasm, I decided to start at the beginning – the title. People are going to need to know how to pronounce the title so they can find it and then tell all their friends about it. I pulled the book out and started skimming through the first chapter knowing the phonetic spelling was hiding in it somewhere. Soon the skimming turned to reading, the pronunciation forgotten, and before I knew it I’d read the first quarter of the book again. Would I recommend it? Just in case that wasn’t clear, let me tell you again. The evening I finished the book I sat down and accidentally re-read the first quarter of the book- after reading the entire thing in less than two days. I really liked this book and, because I know you’re still wondering, it’s pronounced Ah-kar-nay.
AlexThompson More than 1 year ago
With just one step, sixteen-year-old Alexandra Jennings’s world changes– literally. You can say that alright. From doors that send you flying into another world, lollipop’s that can test your potential, (wouldn’t that be lovely?) to sentient libraries… Embrace the wonder. the story the author has woven is very interesting! I couldn’t put it down! I loved that the adventure started immediately and that there was no huge build up to it. It was akin to being thrown head first into the deep end of the pool for both you and Alex! Akarnae gives you the feeling of the old Harry Potter wonder and a mix of a Fae like world. (though the characters will deny magic exists) While I read I couldn’t help but rip threw the book at a lightning speed. The idea of the school with it’s almost Harry Potter like lifestyle of adventurous and unique classes, but still very Earth-based core classes, even if given a lovely twist, was nice to see and brought about some nostalgic memories of my childhood and late night readings. While that being that said, unfortunately, there were some problems that I found myself unable to ignore. The insta-friends Alex makes with the other main characters, Jordan and Bear, felt forced and unnatural, making them feel one dimensional in the beginning as though they were there just for the simple act of interacting with her and giving her, thus the reader, information about Medoran or the school. There is no character depth to them, so they just feel like flat pieces of cardboard picked up and set aside at will. I really wanted to know more about them, aside from their “gifts”. Now, I said they felt that way in the beginning, but in the second half of the book we finally get to learn some background on both Bear and Jordan, fleshing them out more as characters that still have their own stories yet to be discovered by the reader or Alex for that matter. Aside from that, there were moments in the story when things were described in such an off-handed manner, again, in the beginning of the book, that I felt as though I had just walked into part of a conversation and was only catching the tail end of it. I can understand the authors need and/or want to move the story along and not get stuck on info filling, but sometimes it’s needed. Now to go in the completely opposite direction there were scenes that were utterly out of place and unnecessary. Bear and Jordan telling her along the lines that anyone who had eyes should find her attractive. (cue my eye-rolling) Or them attempting to comfort her after realizing she started to feel like they hadn’t wanted to hang out with her (this felt like it was out of left field to me); it gave me the unsettling urge to go back a few pages to find out when she started to feel like this or when it had started to occur, despite the reality that I knew it never happened. To make it short, it seemed like an editorial blunder truth be told. Don’t get me wrong, Akarnae: The Medoran Chronicles Begin was a hard book to put down! I was so entranced in it that by the time I decided to look at the clock it read 5:45AM!! All in all, Akarnae was a fun read, and a world I’m desperate to dive back into. I laughed to the point of tears many times and was creeped out by Aven more than once (lol) so I can tell, while others might not be able to get past some of the problems in the story, I was able to set them aside and to see the forest through the Medoran tree’s. Now….I just need a door to open and sweep me off to a land of adventure and sentient libraries!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The storyline and the characters were easy to follow and the adventure the author established carried throughout the whole book. I found myself wanting to stay up late to see what would happen next and the ending put the reader in a position to look forward to the next installment. Though there were multiple opportunities for a romantic twist to the story, the author chose not to go into that complexity with Alex, the main character.  A treat for teenagers, this book offers sci-fi qualities as well as true friendships.  Akarnae brings to mind a combination of an older version of Harry Potter and Vampire Academy with its tale of school-age self discovery.  The only thing holding me back from rating this book 5 stars is all of the formatting issues it has through the entire book.  Other than that, a very enjoyable book and I look forward to the next.  Thank you netgalley for allowing me to review this great novel.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago