Alex is the Chosen one… or one of the Chosen… who gets taken from our world to a mysterious magical… or is that technological… school in a parallel universe, where she makes friends with two boys, mysterious enemies who are former students sneaking back into do bad things… now where have I heard that before? *cough* Harry Potter *cough*
Reading this novel, I felt like I had read this all before, whether it was Harry Potter, or the Maze Runner series, Percy Jackson, or a dozen other Young Adult novels before this.I suppose one of the few points of difference was the integration of technology as a form of magic… I guess… in this alternate world, but it felt like the author was trying a bit too hard.
Alex is such a Mary Sue it is not even funny. She is immediately informed on entering Akarnae that she is basically exceptionally talented at every class the school offers, is anointed as a Chosen one, and is basically given nothing to do for the rest of the novel… Her friends seem to have much more interesting lives and stories than Alex’s. There are also a proliferation of mysterious characters with secret identities. That starts to grate on me after a while – there comes a time when there is peak mysterious-persons and I just want some damned answers.
By the end of the novel I had sort of forgotten that Alex was really wanting to get back to the real world, with her absentee parents who ditched her at this school in the first place. I will admit that I started out this review with a better attitude towards the book, but the more I stewed over it, the less things I found to like about it.
For me this is bog-standard painting-by-numbers YA fiction at it’s most derivative. Although I have been sent a copy of the second book in the series, I might see if it is just as bad or if the author’s managed to climb out of the miasma of mediocrity.