Review 224. Maria Headley - Magonia.

21393526Title: Magonia.
Author: Maria Dahvana Headley.
Pages: 320.
Published: April 28th 2015 by HarperCollins.
Sort: Stand-alone.
Source: Edelweiss; publisher, thanks!
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?

Wow. This book is a delicious combination of weird, unique and utter strangeness. I gave it 4 stars, because the writing-style didn’t work for me. There was something about it that didn’t click with me, but towards the middle of the story I warmed up for it and the interesting promise kept me engaged.  There was a moment in the beginning where I thought about quitting, but I’m happy I pushed through it.

Aza has a mysterious lung disease that is slowly killing her. People are always careful around the girl who has trouble to breathe, except her best friend Jason. He introduces her to a phenomena called ‘Magonia’, a world in the sky. Aza finds it hard to believe until she dies on earth and returns to her true form in Magonia. She is reunited with her birth mother, who lives on a flying ship and who believes that Aza has special powers that will change Magonia forever.

“And then, out of fucking nowhere, the bird flies into my mouth.
I can feel its tough little ones, its claws scratching at my teeth. I’m trying to scream but my mouth’s full of feathers. It’s pushing and its wings are opening in my mouth en then in my throat and I can’t breathe, and then it’s down my windpipe and speaking from inside my chest.”

This pretty much sums up what kind of story it is. This part was so messed up, it gave me an itch in my stomach. Imagine how it must feel to have a freaking bird going from your mouth into your lung? Not to mention having a special hole in your chest that opens and closes when it flies in/out. It has been a while since I came across something bizarre like this and I loved it!

The idea of flying ships and all the explanations behind nature forces was incredible. I loved the imaginative world-building. The author knows how to deal with all the details; it was never overwhelming. The information was perfect in balance with the rest of the story, so it was easy to be swept away by her vivid Magonia. It was fast-paced and the plot was interesting.

I also liked Aza. She had some naive moments, but I liked how she adopts to her new situation and how she always longs for her old life. It shows that being a mother and giving life to someone are two different things. Aza never stops thinking about her earth-parents as her true mother and father. It was great to have such a loyal character. It also felt realistic that she wanted to impress her birth mother and that she looked for her approval, despite all the flaws.

Aza’s dynamic with her best friend Jason was fantastic. It’s obvious that the two feel more for each other and Jason is so sweet and understanding. Maria skips the whole insta-love situation; instead we have two people with a fantastic friendship who might be ready to become more. It was cute to see how they are both a bit scared to take the next step. Jason’s mission to get Aza back was admirable. I also think it was a good decision to write a couple of chapters from Jason's POV. It added more depth to his character and it was interesting to see his perspective on the situation.

If you are looking for something creative and refreshing, you might want to try Magonia.


  1. Wow wow wow... I was alreaady sold on this book but the whole cool/weird quote and flying space ships, and interesting world building sold be times 2! Wonderful review :)
    WAIT! This book comes out TOMORROW? EVEN BETTER ^___^
    thank you for informing me on the wonderfulness of this book!

  2. So many good reviews on this book, I have to check it out soon. I have a copy of this one but I keep getting sidetracked about it.. Lovely review Mel. <3 Benish | Feminist Reflections

  3. This book sounds so strange, I would love to give it a try for myself. Sometimes the weird ones can make more of a lasting impression.

  4. Gosh, this sounds so good. <3 I keep hearing really, really positive things about it... so I think as soon as it's released I'm going to have to pick up a copy. I AM looking for something fresh and creative, so this sounds like it would be right up my alley. Great review. Shame the writing style didn't work for you though.

  5. I just put this book on the shelves at work today and as soon as I saw it and read about it, I knew I had to read it. Awesome review! I'm so glad you liked it and now I know what to expect out of the writing. That quote you added is super, super strange but this all sounds really unique. This is definitely getting added to my TBR. =)

    - Jazzie @ The Book Dancer

  6. I've been dying to get my hands on this one, and now I'm even more desperate! The world of Magonia sounds weird and wonderful, and extremely unique! There's no insta-love? Woo! I think I'll definitely be grabbing this one sometime in May.
    Great review, Mel :D

  7. Gosh, there are so many mixed reviews of this out there! it's the new Red queen.. I'll probably read it but wait for the hype to go down.. :/

  8. well the story kind of sounds odd but interesting. I like how the author stick friendship with a hint of becoming more than that. Great review! :)

    czai @ the Blacksheep Project

  9. YES^^ I was already over the moon excited about how unique this book sounds and then I read your review and got even more anxious to crack open my copy :D I am sorry that the writing style didn't click with you at first though but I'm thrilled that eventually you warmed up to it and were able to enjoy the ride! That quote is crazy (and cringe-inducing) but I like weird in my fantasy books so that's good. Thanks for the insight on this one^^ ♥

  10. Great review, Mel! This book does indeed sound bizarre. It's a duology, so I'll probably wait to read it until I can read both back-to-back. The romance does sound lovely, though!

  11. I've been seeing a lot of reviews on this book, and after reading yours, I'm actually quite curious now as to what's so good in this story :) Lovely review! I find it weird that a bird flew to her mouth, hahaha. Aza and Jason sound like great characters. Can't wait to read this book real soon :D

    Jillian @ Jillian's Books

  12. This was such a strange, unique book and I really loved it. I'm so happy there will be a sequel. Wonderful review!

  13. This book sounds unique and beautiful! I just added it to my TBR and I can't wait to read it.
    Lovely review Mel!

  14. Gorgeous review Mel :D I'm so glad you liked this book a whole lot. <3 I have seen so many love it, ack. But oh, I'm thinking it might be too weird for me.. and not sure I like the writing :p but I'm also so curious. It do seem good :D Thank you for sharing. <3

  15. I'm really looking forward to reading this book because I've heard really amazing things for this one and I think I'm up for a great reading experience. Great review, Mel!

  16. Hmm I just don't know about this one to be honest. It's the weirdness of it that has me hesitating but everything else sounds promising (especially her relationship with Jason) so I'll probably give it a try at some point...

  17. Even after reading reviews and reviews about Magonia, I STILL don't know what to think of it, other than the fact that it's really good! I'm surprised that you didn't like the writing style though. But anyways, GLAD YOU LOVED THIS MEL. I have this on my shelf and I will get to it soon :D

    1. I don't know what it was. There was just something preventing me from falling in love with the way it was written.


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