Maria Dahvana Headley – Magonia Review

Magonia is about a teenage girl named Aza who has a lung disease. Aza is about to turn sixteen years old and was told she wouldn’t live this long. She has a rare, one in a million, disease that affects her ability to breathe. She is fairly grown up about it and deals with it far better than I think most teens would. She has had her breathing issue for her entire life and she hopes a cure will be found in time. On day in class Aza is daydreaming, and sees a ship in the clouds. Aza’s best and lifelong friend Jason tells her she is having a hallucination. He tells her a story from ancient history about people who claim they fell from a ship in the sky called Magonia.

Aza is a character that has great self-awareness about her medical condition.  Her attitude is a bit flippant but I enjoyed that she doesn’t take life too seriously and let it get her down. I really enjoyed the first third of the book along with the very real way the author approaches Aza’s impending death. The author writes with what feels like first-hand knowledge about losing someone very close. It is packed with emotion and heart-felt. I thought the relationship between Aza and her best friend Jason was really well done. They had the kind of friendship you don’t see often. He is the only one who isn’t afraid to speak on the topic of her death.

The history of Magonia and the ships in the sky was interesting. It felt like I was learning some secret part of history believed by an ancient civilization. The relationships between Aza and her family and Jason were really well done. I was really invested in the characters until… well no spoilers here. Without giving away too much of the story, Aza’s time on the ship was where I checked out on the book. The relationship with her ‘Mother’ on the ship in the clouds never worked for me. In addition her relationship with the other crew on the ship felt awkward and didn’t work for me either. I lost interest in the story pretty quickly. The last two-thirds of the book was a strange mix of fantasy and fairy tale along with something else I can’t put my finger on. I’m not sure if I missed the boat, no pun intended, or if this book was just too out there for me.

Book Info

Length:  325 Pages

Publisher:  Harper Collins

Release date:  April 28, 2015

To Purchase Magonia Click Here

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?


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