Raelia by Lynette Noni – Review

9781921997624

4/5 stars!

Raelia is the second book in The Medoran Chronicles by Sunshine Coast author, Lynette Noni. Published in 2016 by Pantera Press, Raelia along with the first novel, Akarnae, caused much hype among readers, young and old alike. The story follows a teenager named Alex who finds herself transported to another world – Medora. The first novel sees Alex make some difficult choices, but that’s nothing compared to what she faces in book 2. Returning for a second year at Akarnae Academy with her gifted friends, Alex finds herself in a continual battle to survive the banished Meyan prince, Aven Dalmarta. To protect the Medorans from Aven’s quest to reclaim his birthright, Alex and her friends seek out the lost Meyan city and what remains of its ancient race. Alex, who is unsure of herself, knows that if she fails to keep Aven from reaching Meya, the lives of countless Medorans will be in danger. The question then becomes, can Alex save them? And following that, in a world full of magic and wonder, how can an ordinary human girl stop one of the most powerful beings in existence? Well, you’ll have to read it, won’t you?

Lynette Noni is a comical and down-to-earth writer, whose bubbly personality is evident in her prose. Her protagonist, Alex, is a reasonably mature and somewhat trusting teenager, who at times borders on naive. That, I believe, is an insight into youth in humanity. A human girl has been thrown into a magical fantasy realm and is expected to be able to deal with it. This would be a strong consideration for any person, and Alex’s way of dealing with it is through wit and humour, as well as occasional sarcasm. Even though portal novels are a little farfetched, Noni’s youthful and realistic characterisation projects humour and irony well, thus generating a far more relatable story. In any fantasy novels, the difficulty lies in being able to explain the magical system and how the fantasy elements come to life. Medora’s system is seemingly basic, but as the book continues (even into the third book), we start to have more secrets revealed. There is not much time spent on exposition, but the characters tend to answer the readers’ questions through dialogue. As I’ve mentioned in previous book reviews, I much prefer character-driven novels, and this series is all about the relationship the characters develop with theme, plot, and, of course, the reader.

“Life is full of crossroads, Alex. Full of choices. There are many paths we can take. It’s up to us to decide which ones lead in the right direction.”

A major theme: choice, is still very evident, if not more so, in Raelia. In book 1, Alex faces difficult decisions, but in book 2, those decisions are made more harrowing. I loved the relationship between Alex and the choices she has to make. Not only are her choices based on a personal level, but they also force her to think of the long-term ramifications her decisions will have in a broader community of people. Noni does well in bringing ‘humanness’ into these situations. Alex faces choices which are potentially selfish (let’s face it, humans are selfish); however, what Noni does is play on the protagonist’s conscious and moral affliction. Difficult choices and how Alex responds to them are key factors in propelling the plot forward.

The plot in Raelia is another step up in comparison to Akarnae. There was much more action, more turmoil, more challenges, more significant consequences, and more at stake compared with book 1, which set the story in motion. The threat against Alex and all of Medora intensifies, and some huge things happen that cause significant tension. As the novel concludes, some burning questions need answering, immediately! Who doesn’t like a book that makes you want to scramble desperately to read the next in the series? Reading other people’s reviews on Goodreads helps me realise that this is the case for hundreds of others that read Raelia and loved it, just like I did.

I don’t like writing reviews that contain major spoilers, but for those that have read this book, the ending, especially with Jordan, I guessed would happen from around the halfway point of the novel. It’s not necessarily a bad thing, but at times I do like to be surprised. With saying that, I don’t have too many things to critique about this book. There are some beautiful inclusions and expansions of some favourite characters, and there are some fantastic revelations about Alex and her friends that I find boost the plot incredibly well.

Raelia is a step up from Akarnae, and I highly recommend it for those who want an easy-to-read YA novel that has good content. The language is clean and respectable, the morals are clear, and the story is so exciting I immediately picked up the third book (Draekora) upon finishing.

I hope you enjoyed reading my review of book 2 in The Medoran Chronicles. As I mentioned in my review of Akarnae, if you’re interested in reading this series, go out and buy it. Support an Australian author and read a great story in the process.

M.

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