Tuesday, 28 April 2015

Review: Magonia by Maria Dahvana Headley

Magonia by Maria Dahvana Headley

Publisher: HarperCollins
Publication Date: April 28th, 2015
Pages: 320
Source: ARC from publisher**I received this book for free from the publisher in exchange for an honest review**
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Neil Gaiman’s Stardust meets John Green’s The Fault in Our Stars in this fantasy about a girl caught between two worlds... two races…and two destinies.

Aza Ray is drowning in thin air.

Since she was a baby, Aza has suffered from a mysterious lung disease that makes it ever harder for her to breathe, to speak—to live.

So when Aza catches a glimpse of a ship in the sky, her family chalks it up to a cruel side effect of her medication. But Aza doesn't think this is a hallucination. She can hear someone on the ship calling her name.

Only her best friend, Jason, listens. Jason, who’s always been there. Jason, for whom she might have more-than-friendly feelings. But before Aza can consider that thrilling idea, something goes terribly wrong. Aza is lost to our world—and found, by another. Magonia.

Above the clouds, in a land of trading ships, Aza is not the weak and dying thing she was. In Magonia, she can breathe for the first time. Better, she has immense power—and as she navigates her new life, she discovers that war is coming. Magonia and Earth are on the cusp of a reckoning. And in Aza’s hands lies the fate of the whole of humanity—including the boy who loves her. Where do her loyalties lie?

Magonia is not going to be an easy book to review. Its intriguing premise(and cover) drew me to it originally. Quite unique sounding. I thoroughly enjoyed Magonia. I think I did anyhow. I'm having a really hard time figuring out my thoughts. Well reading along I continually kept saying, "I'm liking this. But what is this?" My brain was so confused.

I don't really like book comparisons either. I don't think it's fair to the new book, even when it's compared to a best seller. But in this case the comparison to Neil Gaiman is spot on. Of course Magonia is its own story, but it has the essence of a Gaiman book and I think his fans would find this right up their alley.

I'm really not going to give away much about the what Magonia is about because 1. it's hard to describe and 2. the synopsis is vague for a reason. The reader should go in not knowing what they're getting themselves into. Aza is sickly. She has a very rare disease. So rare that it's named after her. Aza is dying a slow death. Her lungs don't work properly, among other things. She spends a lot of time in the hospital, pretty much just trying to keep herself alive. One day Aza thinks she sees something in the sky. Something that shouldn't be there. That leads to a pretty big freak out that puts her in the hospital where the doctors discover a feather in her lung. And the story just progresses from there. Until Aza finds herself in Magonia. A world in the sky. Magonia isn't to happy with humans. For many reasons. But the humans don't know about the Magonians. And Aza is torn between her home and what is her new home. Aza needs to prevent a war that the humans don't know is coming.

Aza was really cool. She started off kind of pretentious. But I quickly got over that and realized she was a bit of a nerd who just likes facts and had a vivid imagination. Interesting and unknown facts. Aza of course knows she's dying but she's not depressed about it. You can see she's scared, but also accepting. Aza is going day by day. She just had a really unique attitude. When Aza finds herself in Magonia, a place where she can breathe and live, she's accepting yet doesn't let anything pass her by. Aza can be someone else there. Maybe someone she was meant to be. Aza had a fantastic character arc. From this sickly girl to a savior. Where her personality never changed. I'd be her friend.

Jason is Aza's best friend. Only friend. I absolutely adored them together. A very very solid friendship. They were made for each other. There's some chapters from Jason's POV and they were my favourite. Jason is a super intelligent guy that is either going to take over the world or destroy it. He's already made millions by coming up with products that should have already been available. Jason is like Aza in that he like his weird facts and has weird interests. Well I guess not weird, just different from most teenagers. Jason has the connections and ways to get whatever he needs. That includes trying to find a cure for Aza. He will do absolutely anything to save her life. Even when he doesn't exactly know where she is. I feel like I'm having a hard time putting Jason into words. I just absolutely adored him. Him and Aza are so super sweet together.

Aza and Jason also had awesome families. Jason's moms encouraged him to be himself but also worried. It was a really good combination and parenting tactic for a kid like him.
Aza's mom, dad and sister let her live a normal life. The love and bond between the four of them was really heart warming.

Like I mentioned earlier, I'm keeping Magonia vague. Just know that Maria has created a very intricate and different world in the sky. It's so very vivid. I could easily imagine and conjure images of everything that was being described. It was easy to believe that this fantasy world could be real.
The Magonians blame earth, the humans, for their poverty and way of life. But how is that fair when humans no nothing of these creatures living in the sky? I agree that we don't take enough care of our planet. It's like aliens attacking earth, wanting to go to war against humans just because we exist. Humans don't know what they're doing to the Magonia. But because Magonia relies on our crops they feel they have every right to be mad at the humans for destroying the earth.

"They willfully destroy the earth they live on, and in doing so they destroy us," says Zal". pg.192
Maria's writing is poetic and beautiful. Like the world she's created, it's unique and flows really easily. Magonia was a surprise of a read in all senses. It's hidden messages hit me where it counted. Maria has serious skills in world building and writing fantastically awesome characters. So I was very happy to get to the end of the book and realize that there is no way this is a stand alone. I cannot wait to see what Aza and Jason find themselves having to overcome in the sequel.

Happy reading!



  1. I've had my eye on this book for a while now but your fantastic review has made me want to read it even more so thanks for helping me decide that I need to read it..... like now!

    Thea @  Gizzimomo's Book Shelf

  2. I love the cover on this one and the premise (what you can tell us about it at least) appeals to me more than TFIOS which I still haven't read. I'll have to look for this one. I love the sound of Jason and that you got to like Aza once you got to know her a bit.

  3. I so need to read this and it sounds like the writing is just as amazing as the cover! I cannot wait to read this one. Amazing review!
    Missie @ A Flurry of Ponderings

  4. I'm even more excited about Magonia now! The world sounds so interesting and unique, and I really want to meet Aza and Jason!! I NEED to grab this one soon! Brilliant review :D