Wednesday, 6 April 2016

Aussie Book Review: Raelia by Lynette Noni


"Returning for a second year at Akarnae Academy with her gifted friends, Alexandra Jennings steps back through a doorway into Medora, the fantasy world that is full of impossibilities.

Despite the magical wonder of Medora, Alex’s life remains threatened by Aven Dalmarta, the banished prince from the Lost City of Meya who is out for her blood.

To protect the Medorans from Aven’s quest to reclaim his birthright, Alex and her friends seek out the Meyarin city and what remains of its ancient race.

Not sure who—or perhaps what—she is anymore, all Alex knows is that if she fails to keep Aven from reaching Meya, the lives of countless Medorans will be in danger. Can she protect them, or will all be lost?"

This second book continues Lynette Noni’s superb writing, intriguing plot development and remarkable character growth. Recently hailed as “Australia’s very own JK Rowling” in a WIN News interview, fantasy lovers are going to bask in the glory of this new voice in fantasy fiction.

Where Akarnae thrust our heroine Alex into the parallel world of Medora, introducing us to a cast of fabulous characters, Raelia picks up at the beginning of Alex’s second year at the Academy where she once again teams up with her friends Bear, Jordan and D.C.

While being back with her friends and the excitement of D.C.’s birthday party offer a slight reprieve from her gruelling school timetable, she soon finds herself being selected for Hunter’s Stealth and Subterfuge (SAS) classes. With the proverbial wool having been pulled over her eyes, her annoyance at being outsmarted is short-lived when she is transported to Raelia. What astounds her even more though is a royal meeting and the realisation that her nemesis, Aven, will stop at nothing to use her to gain access to Meya.

As I write this review, Lynette Noni is right now weaving her way around south-east Queensland appearing at special events and book signings and I’m just sorry that I’m not able to attend due to family and full-time work commitments because I would love to meet the woman whose writing and imaginative power has drawn me into the world of fantasy.

In saying that, this isn’t just another take on older fantasy stories that has been polished to a shine – it’s original and deserves to sparkle on its own as Lynette continues to create a well-developed world full of intrepid characters.

All of the characters we were introduced to and came to love in Akarnae are back with us in this second instalment and Lynette has enriched and further developed them as well as her world-building, making it a pivotal episode that sets out the scope of challenges that will come Alex’s way in the further three books in the series.

Whereas in Akarnae she started out unsure of herself and her purpose for being in Medora, in Raelia, Alex is slowly starting to accept her ability even if she hasn’t quite come to lovingly embrace the exhausting training and brutal encounters during her combat classes.

Physically and emotionally, she is still growing but is a strong and intelligent young girl who has found responsibility planted firmly on her shoulders in a world where the use of her latent gift could have the ability to corrupt her. She is likeable, admirable, relatable and thoughtful in that she thinks about the beautiful world she has been thrust into, what it means to her and its inhabitants and how she wants to continue to be a part of it and her friends’ lives. And boy can she look after herself, even if she does tend to appear in the medical ward too often!

With the narrative rooted firmly in good versus evil, Lynette has written a great story featuring a protagonist who has many good morals and positive messages to impart on her journeys. It's a thrilling voyage that will ignite all of your senses as the action scenes and the magic of this world creeps up on you, luring you into the adventure while those pages just keep on turning.

Filled with exquisite imagery and wildly imaginative adventures that offer mystery, intrigue, danger and some of the best friendships I’ve ever seen put down on paper, this is a book that will amuse and delight both the younger and older generations and, while it ends on a nail-biting cliff-hanger which definitely sets up the third in the series, I have no doubt that Draekora will see Alex fighting even harder for what is important to her:

“Life is full of crossroads, Alex. Full of choices.”

If you’ve already read Akarnae, don’t let this one get lost on your lengthy TBR pile because it’s a must-read. So, go ahead and hop on the Valispath because there is a lot of wonder to be found here!

I wish to thank Pantera Press for providing me with a hard copy ARC for review.

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.

Raelia is Lynette's second novel in her five part series, The Medoran Chronicles.

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