Thursday, July 23, 2015

Review: Magonia by Maria Dahvana Headley

Magonia by Maria Dahvana Headley
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 absolutely regret reading this book, but not in the way you'd think. Magonia was released at the end of April, and book 2 has no name and no release date. There is no cliffhanger here, something that would leave you on the edge of your seat, dying to know what happened to the characters you spent the past 300-some-odd pages falling in love with. No, no cliffhangers. And yet, I am left with this burning desire for more. More of Aza and her complicated, beautiful world. More of Jason and pi and looping. More of Dai and his sadness, Zal and her anger. This book could have been twice as long, and I think I still would want more. It's such a weird little book, there is nothing I can think to compare it to. 

It's weird, but in the absolute best way. There are no damsels in distress here, no knights in shining armor come to save the day. It's Aza Ray and her bizarre personality and the family and friend who have come to terms with the fact that one day they will lose her. It's a family in the sky that has been searching for her, a family that demands greatness, something Aza Ray never could have commanded. It's weird and awkward and amazing and exciting. 

The Good
There is so much good here, I hardly know where to begin. Aza Ray isn't your typical YA heroine. She isn't the sweet Mary Jane that everyone yearns to protect, or the rebel badass, kicking ass and taking names. She is just a dying girl who doesn't want your sympathy, but will take full advantage of it if you give it to her. She is a girl obsessed with facts and hoaxes and maybe her own death a little bit. Her history is hospitals and her future is bleak. At least until the inexplicable happens and suddenly it isn't. 

This book takes you on an incredible ride, from the last few days of Aza Ray's life to the first days of her new one. The world of Magonia is explored in such a way that you long for it to be real. A whole world in the sky that no one knows about, filled with fantastical creatures and handsome boys and vengeful mothers. And yet, Aza Ray's life down below was pretty spectacular, too. Jason is a character we all wish we had in our lives. Someone who loves us unconditionally, our flaws and all. Someone who promises to bring you back even from death itself. One of his chapters had me ugly crying at work, trying to stealthily hide my splotchy face from my bosses as they walked by. 

Headley's writing is so vivid and beautiful, it was so easy to climb into Aza's head and feel what she was feeling. While Aza is a unique character, I think it is easy for anyone to recognize a little something from themselves in her. 

The Bad
There is not much that I can say here, I am such an absolute fangirl for this book. I will say that sometimes, it was hard to picture the goings on of Magonia. The world is so absolutely foreign and different from anything I have read before, even though the descriptions were ample, it was still hard to really picture some scenes. And some of the things that happened were so fantastical that it did require a little suspension of disbelief to enjoy. 

All in all, I really just want everyone to run out and get a copy of this book. I am heading to Goodreads right now to look at Headley's other works and see if there is anything that can tide me over until the second book is released. Hopefully, the wait won't be too long! 

1 comment :

  1. I really loved this one too! The story was so unique and strange... I'm really looking forward to Aerie!