“Akarnae” by Lynette Noni! (Spoiler-free Review)

akarnae-9781921997501_hr

Rating: 4.5/5 Stars

Hello readers of Oh My Blog! Today I’ll be discussing the first book in the Medoran Chronicles by Lynette Noni – Akarnae. I was kindly sent this book by the lovely people at Simon & Schuster in exchange for a completely honest review. The story follows 16-year-old Alex Jennings. The novel originally focuses on Alex arriving at a new school, forced to attend boarding school as due to travelling plans, she cannot communicate with her parents for eight months. However, she is amazed when instead of walking into the principal’s office, she walks through a doorway and finds herself instead trapped at an entirely different school in the mystical world of Medora, a magical fantasy world. Despite the fact that she is eager to immediately escape from Medora and return to her own world, only the principal of the Medoran school can help her. Unfortunately that singular source of assistance is unavailable – the principal is missing. Alex is forced to wait for the principal, unaware of when he will return. As she waits, Alex attends Akarnae Academy, Medora’s boarding school for teenagers with magical gifts, and has to come to terms with this strange new world so similar, yet so completely different to her own.
Overall, I would rate this book a 4.5/5 stars. It was an entirely unique and interesting plot and world, and despite its similarities to many other stories, it still managed to be unlike any book I’ve ever read. I really enjoyed the world-building, which helped to make up for some of my issues with the characterisation in this story. Unfortunately, it took me half of the book to become immersed in the world and plot, which often occurs in fantasy reads due to very different and often other-worldly settings. However, once I was past the half-way point, I absolutely LOVED the book! I would definitely recommend it to all fantasy lovers, and to all lovers of a classic, fairytale-like story.

Medora is described as a truly unique world, and I really admired the detail in which the author described it. Wondrous oddities are mentioned – whether it be the strange animal species or perhaps the mysterious Library itself. The whole book gave off an Alice and Wonderland-esque feel, with a good dash of favourites like Narnia. Yes, it took time to accept and enjoy the random and often confusing feel of Medora and its inhabitants, but honestly, you just have to roll with it. If Alice can go down the rabbit hole to Wonderland, and Alex can open the doors into Medora, then we as readers can definitely accept Akarnae’s odd, yet awesome, story. As soon as I allowed myself to be carried along with the story, as opposed to trying to apply logic to clearly and purposeful randomness, I came to really enjoy it. That was one of the elements of the book that really increased my curiosity – the complete insanity and randomness of the plot, that I eventually came to enjoy.

The vastness, variety and imagination of the world really caught me by surprise. I did not expect the amount of detail that went into this book; the specific history and events in Medora. Things such as the extraordinary Library, magical healing potions and other mind-boggling details worked to create a truly unforgettable and remarkable world.

However, despite an amazingly planned-out setting and story-line, I found that I did not enjoy the characterisation in this book. While the characters were more than names on paper, they weren’t engaging or relatable in any sense, which was one of the main factors that increased my difficulty when beginning this book. While I did adore some characters like Darrius and Fletcher, and I definitely liked all of the characters, my main issue was with Alex. Frankly, her perspective was too young and vague for her age – I mean, I’m only a year younger than her and I don’t think like that. The characters not only lacked depth, but also created relationships much too quickly to be very realistic. Though there is no romantic endeavours in this story, erasing any chance of Insta-Love, there was definitely Insta-Friendship. I feel like the main character bonded too quickly with her newfound friends, though it has been implied that Alex does not really have many attachments in the real world.

Overall, a story that I absolutely loved for the most part, excluding my issues with the childish and vague characters. Akarnae was highly original and engaging, and I will definitely be picking up the rest of the books in the series as they release!

Advertisements

“NEED” by Joelle Charbonneau | Spoiler-Free Review!

20550148

 

Hello blog readers! Today I’m excitedly reviewing “NEED” by Joelle Charbonneau! An ARC was kindly sent to me by HMH Books for Young Readers in exchange for an honest review, so here I am! NEED is a new teen thriller set to be released this November, and has apparently been optioned for film, which I find really exciting as the entire time, I was picturing this book on television! The book follows the story of the teenagers at Wisconsin’s Nottawa High School, at which a mysterious social networking site is becoming increasingly popular. The site, “NEED”, promises to grant their every need and requirement; type in what you need, do what they ask  to have your request approved, and poof, you have a brand new iPhone or your own private gym. The website originally asks for simple actions in return, asking the user to invite their friends to the website, but as it quickly gains popularity in the high school, new members are no longer a priority. NEED begins to show its darker side, instead making often violent and aggressive crimes a requirement. It constantly asks the question: “what do you need?”  In this eerie and mysterious Young Adult thriller, we see just how far the teens at Nottawa High School will go for what they need, and are forced to constantly reevaluate where the line between need and want blurs.

Personally, I loved this book, and gave it a 4.5 star rating. It provided a very original and frightening concept of social media. In society we are constantly told that social networking can be very dangerous and that we should be careful when approaching these websites. The book took this fear that we are aware of and combined it with a great fantasy tale – a website that can give you anything you ask for – to create a chilling story highlighting the treacherous and scary side of the Internet. Throughout the entire book, people’s boundaries are being pushed to the  point of instances such as murder and betrayal, and it kept me engaged and on the edge of my seat the entire time. I ended up finishing this book within a couple of hours; I was that captivated and invested in the story.

The book examines how that often on social media, the things we do don’t feel “real”, and can therefore lead to extensive amounts of rudeness and hate, and overall things that people may not say face-to-face, but won’t lose a night of sleep by saying so over the Internet. NEED brings a three dimensional aspect to this belief, as though the teens believe that the acts that they are completing to fulfil their requirements “aren’t real”, they result in very real prizes as well as very real consequences. The characters are forced to evaluate what is real and what is not, and I was never quite sure what they were capable of. This book has a very mysterious quality to it, as we as readers are kept in the dark the majority of the time with the overall arc of the story, adding to the creepy and thrilling atmosphere.

While overall, I was not very impressed or attached to the characters, I felt that it was not essential to the story. The book was so fast-paced that it left next to no room for character development or believable relationships, and whereas this would irritate me in other books, it didn’t faze me this time around. Personally, I think the story was better-off without the major focus on the characters, and instead focused on the cinema-like quality of the story.

To conclude, this was an incredibly engaging and fast-paced story with an original and captivating premise. I highly recommend this book, and you should definitely pick up your own copy this November, as I believe that once it releases, it will do very well in the Young Adult genre!

“Sea World Scene” To Be Cut From The Paper Towns Movie!

I was shocked to discover that the movie adaptation of Paper Towns (releasing in June) will not be featuring the SeaWorld trip shared between Quentin and Margo. As this is one of my favorite scenes from the book, I’m really quite disappointed and upset that they’re not keeping the scene! I feel like it really provides a foundation for Margo’s character, and the story itself.

This was explained by the melty.com article:

Published towards the end of 2008, the novel debuted some time before 2013’s Blackfish created a storm of controversy surrounding the treatment of the orcas in captivity. The documentary revealed what went on behind the scenes at the Florida park, before recounting the incident that led to the death of trainer Dawn Brancheau following a show with orca Tilikum. Speaking about the decision to cut the scene, producer Wyck Godfrey announced:”Since John wrote the book, the documentary [Blackfish] came out. I think it’s a little less playful to go to SeaWorld now.”

Hmm. What are your thoughts?

Insurgent | Advanced Screening! (Australia)

FIN05_Insurgent_Cube_1Sht_26x39

For those of you who aren’t aware, Event Cinemas will be once again showing an advanced screening of Insurgent on Wednesday the 18th March at 7:00pm for Australian Cine Buzz members for only $12.50!

This advanced screening will be shown in all Event Cinemas across Australia, so if you’re interested make sure to check out their website!