Book Review: Magonia by Maria Dahvana Headley



Author: Maria Dahvana Headley
Genre:  YA, Fantasy
Publisher:  Harper Collins
Publication Date: April 28th, 2015
Hadcover:  320 Pages
Rating: 4 stars


Blurb:  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?


I don’t know where to begin with this book because it was so strange and bizarre from the very beginning.

First thing is first. I had heard really mixed reviews on booktube and on goodreads about this book. Some people love it and some people hate it. I honestly don’t hate it, I love it.  The reason why I love it so much is that it is very unique and it is definitely something that I’ve never read before.

Magonia is a book that simply refuses to be compared or classified; even determining its genre is proving to be impossible. It’s a delightful combination of science fiction, fantasy, and even dystopia, and it easily balances the three, never allowing one to overtake the others.

The writing style was a little hard to get into for some reason. I didn’t love it at first but I got used to it pretty quickly and started appreciating a lot more as the story went by. I can compare the writing style to Laini Taylor and Neil Gaiman, which aren’t too far apart actually. But I must say that in this too, she gives us something that’s entirely her own. Her understanding and use of language to create or dispel tension, to project moods and atmosphere, is simply astonishing.

The story is told from two points of view, Aza and Jason, who are amazing characters. They are intelligent, geeky, unusual and loyal. They’ve depended on each other for pretty much everything since they were five years old.  When they get separated, Jason’s point of view becomes more than just welcome – it becomes necessary to understand his part of the story, but it also strengthens the emotional tension and offers us an insight into his peculiar and understanding nature.

This story follows the story of flying ships and sky sailors. It’s seriously like a combination of Bioshock (video game about ships in the sky) and Tangled (people braking out into songs) all into one. The world in this book is HUGE and I wish that it could’ve been explored more (and some of the characters backstory –cough- Zal-cough-).

Sometimes it was hard to follow up on imagery cause how do you picture a bird entering your chest?.

At the end of the day the ending of Magonia is very satisfactory, but I feel like there is so much more to explore for the sequel. WHICH IS HAPPENING, BY THE WAY.


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