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Thursday, June 18, 2015

Magonia by Maria Dahvana Headley [Book Review]

Title: Magonia
Author: Maria Dahvana Headley
ISBN: 0062320521
Source: From Publisher via Edelweiss for honest review.
Release Date: April 28th 2015

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?
This book started off absolutely fantastic. I read it immediately after finishing The Sin Eater's Daughter, which I adored, so I felt I was on a surreal amazing book streak!

Up until around thirty percent in I remained obsessed. I was flipping my virtual pages with the fervor of a T-Rex hunting prey. I did slowly begin to lose interest as things took a rather odd turn, which I need to explain a bit.

I am a fantasy junky, so I'm all for some fantasy/sci-fi elements mixed in with my contemporaries, but this book took the genre bending to an entirely different level. The first half reads like a completely separate novel, and in many ways the second half doesn't quite fit. In my mind there is a "before" and a "after" which feels strange to me. I don't think this is necessarily bad, but it did take some serious adjustments on my part to get into the feel of "Magonia."

I loved Aza's time in Earth, and I adored the attention to detail placed into the small things - like the reason for her name, and her and Jason's relationship. Jason and Aza were as perfect as it gets, and I was all in. I was in that relationship for the long haul, and it was by far my favorite aspect of the novel.

The sci-fi aspect was also enjoyable, but it was slightly confusing at times. Half-way through the novel we get an onslaught of new characters and it feels like an entirely new beginning (because it is) so it takes a bit to get used to. I don't think I was as indebted after the introduction of Magonia as I was prior to the introduction of that world, partly because I was a Jason fan girl and I just wanted that life back. That being said though, the fantasy/sci-fi aspect was completely original and I never lost interest.

This book involves fantasy elements I have never read about before - like bird people who fight pirates. And sharks in the sky. In this world you sing to get things done... and it was different. Not bad different, but it was so different that it stood out. I actually almost forgot I was reading a sci-fi until I got to that section, because I was super indebted to Earth Aza. We were in it for the long haul.

Ultimately, I enjoyed Magonia, but if I had to explain to you why I enjoyed it I would have a hard time. It is one of those books that are so different it takes you a minute... and I'm still reassessing how I feel.

It was kept open for a possible sequel (yay!) and I have to say, I would be very happy to find myself in Aza's world again.

Overall: I really enjoyed Magonia and would recommend it to any fantasy/Sci-Fi lover. If you love Science Fiction I think this book would be of particular interest to you -- after all, how often do you read of birds flying airships in the sky?


AJ Sterkel said...

Great review. I just bought this book, and I’m waiting for it to come in the mail. I can’t wait to read it.

Aj @ Read All The Things!

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