Blurb from Goodreads:
Where is home when you were born in the stars?
Aza Ray is back on earth. Her boyfriend Jason is overjoyed. Her family is healed. She’s living a normal life, or as normal as it can be if you’ve spent the past year dying, waking up on a sky ship, and discovering that your song can change the world.
As in, not normal. Part of Aza still yearns for the clouds, no matter how much she loves the people on the ground.
When Jason’s paranoia over Aza’s safety causes him to make a terrible mistake, Aza finds herself a fugitive in Magonia, tasked with opposing her radical, bloodthirsty, recently-escaped mother, Zal Quel, and her singing partner, Dai. She must travel to the edge of the world in search of a legendary weapon, the Flock, in a journey through fire and identity that will transform her forever.
Magonia was a weird, bizarre, and slightly confusing read, but I enjoyed it. Its world was unique, whimsical, and magical. The romance was cute, and charming, and fun to read. Unfortunately, I can’t say the same about Aerie. This sequel is completely unnecessary. It would’ve been fine—more enjoyable even—if Magonia was a standalone. Aerie has got a gorgeous cover that I could stare for hours but that’s about all. The content is sadly disappointing. It only spoiled my interesting and peculiar experience with Magonia because everything I liked from the first book had gone straight-out flat in this one.
I go into this without rereading the first book. I was just relying on the bits and pieces that I remembered from reading my review on Magonia . But the author really made a good job in reminding her readers of all the important parts of the last book. It’s quite easy to go back into Magonian world with Headley smoothly guiding us back to it.
The book is told in an alternating POV between Aza Ray and Jason. And both POV exhausted me, to be honest. Instead of growing, the characters became overly angsty, which was totally tiring to read. Jason’s POV is overflowing with guilt and paranoia. At first it was understandable, but it quickly gets annoying how he fills up the whole book with nothing but worries. It was just too much. He was like a totally different character. It’s hard to imagine him as the Jason that I liked from the previous book.
“You are strong enough to sing as you wish, not as your pain has force you to. You aren’t your hurt. You’re other than that. You are not the broken things you’ve been.”
Aza is still torn between two worlds—her heart not wanting to leave Earth but her body is longing for Magonia. All the inner monologues whether she should stay or go got me really bored. I was expecting her to be more herself now that she’d had time to adjust and absorb the truth about who and what she is, and now that she knows quite a lot about her kind and the problems they face. But instead, she spent most of her energy denying who she truly is.
A lot of characters just didn’t add anything to the story. There’s Dai who was once an interesting character, but now, he couldn’t be any flatter. He appears when there’s a need for a villain—like whenever someone needs to be kidnapped—and then he’d be completely discarded without even a word. Again, he would pop up when there’s some evil that needs to be done, and again, he would disappear just as quickly. And when the game was up he suddenly switches side.
And then there’s this book’s ultimate villain—Zal—who is also pathetically flat. She’s powerful, she’s clever, she knows how to use her available resources, and she does not show mercy to those who aren’t in line with her. But she only got really little page time for a villain, which is why I wasn’t intrigued enough by her character. It feels like Zal and Dai were written in a rush which is largely disappointing because they’ve both got a very strong potential to be a good antagonist.
The thing about trusting someone is that you have to do it anyway, even if you know it might end in disaster. Not being able to trust anyone means you spend your life alone.
One of the things that I loved in the previous book was the touch of historical lore and the uniqueness of the world, though it’s a bit confusing. But the lore feels are completely gone in this book. The world seemed less magical. What was once vivid, again, just turned dull and flat. There was never really any new addition to the world-building to make it more enthralling. No further development that could’ve make things less confusing either.
While I liked Magonia, I find it hard to recommend this series. I really don’t think there was anything in this book that added complexity to the characters, or the world-building, or the plot. We’re mostly reading about a lot of teenage angst instead of more interesting things. There are a couple of characters that interests me—Hayward, the Flock—but I just didn’t get enough of them to really hold my attention and save this book from a low rating.