Maria Dahvana Headley’s soaring YA debut is a fiercely intelligent, multilayered fantasy where Neil Gaiman’s Stardust meets John Green’s The Fault in Our Stars in a story about a girl caught between two worlds . . . two races . . . and two destinies.
Aza Ray Boyle 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—but as she navigates her new life, she discovers that war between Magonia and Earth is coming. In Aza’s hands lies fate of the whole of humanity—including the boy who loves her. Where do her loyalties lie?
I know everyone has dreams of flying, but this isn’t a dream of flying. It’s a dream of floating, and the ocean is not water but wind.
I call it a dream, but it feels realer than my life.
Buckle up because this book is going to fly you up high into a strange yet fascinating world above ours. Let’s take a moment and stare at that gorgeous cover, shall we? I’m totally in love with that cover, and seeing Neil Gaiman’s blurb in there? Man, consider that book sold!
I have mixed feelings while reading Magonia. Partly because the book feels like two different stories that merged in front of my eyes. There were elements of science fiction, mythology, and fantasy that were somehow knitted together and stuffed into a contemporary world. Or was it the other way around? The thing is, it blended the real world from the fantastical one. Maybe not perfectly, because some things got a little confusing after the author jumped into the fantasy side of the story. That being said though –I find the fantasy completely unique and very imaginative, and I never lost interest. Because, stormsharks, squallwhales, floating cities inside a hurricane, and bird people flying airships in the sky! How often do we read about those?
The story really draws me in especially the cotemporary part of the book. Aza is dying for as long as she could remember. She has this rare lung disease that crippled her life. She always have difficulty breathing, she’s a regular at hospitals, and people are always careful around her except maybe for her best friend Jason. A week before she turns sixteen she started seeing a ship in the sky and hearing voices calling her name –something her parents sees as side effects of her medication.
I’m dark matter. The universe inside me is full of something, and science can’t even shine a light on it. I feel like I’m mostly made of mysteries.
Aza knew she could die ay moment and she think she’s ready for it. But when she died, she found herself aboard in an airship instead of being buried six feet under. Turns out she wasn’t really from Earth, the ship’s captain claims to be her real mother, she possess a power she knew nothing about, and the fate of the ship’s crew and all of Magonia lies on her shoulders. Because, okay, YA.
I love how unique the source of magic is in this book. Song is power in Magonia. One can do the impossible like melt rocks into water with just a song. Magonians are a weird bunch of people. Birds live inside them. And they have this little door in the chests were their birds come and go. I was really weirded out by that. Maria Dahvana Headley made Magonia an entrancing place. Beautiful and marvelous though slightly confusing sometimes. It is by far the most peculiar read I ever had.
Aza’s and Jason’s dynamic was utterly charming. I’m glad this isn’t one of those insta-love romance we always have in YA. Rather we have two people with genuine friendship ready to become more. Although neither of them had the chance to let the other know what they truly feel it didn’t feel so sad. Because they share this language only the two of them understands and it’s like, okay, no words needed, they already know how much they mean to each other. And I find that cute, and adorable. So genuinely teenage. So utterly charming. And I’m all in for these two.
There was an attempt for a love triangle but it didn’t really threaten the relationship between Aza and Jason. Because when Jason is thinking things like this:
I can’t imagine a universe in which I try to unlove her.
Or says things like this:
“Aza Ray,” he says. “You hold no horrors for me.”
who else stands a chance?
Magonia is one to take you to a magical journey into an odd and wonderful world. It was based on a historical lore I haven’t known before (which I’m currently spending some time researching), and I guess it only made me appreciate this book even more. Yes, I liked it and I enjoyed it for the most part. And yes, I will definitely read any sequels.