Monday, June 29, 2015

Magonia by Maria Dahvana Headley

Summary (from Goodreads):
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 was not at all what I was expecting. I knew it would involve a main character with a severe/fatal illness. And I knew there would be another world with ships in the sky. I was not expecting bird people. Or magical singing. Or little birds that pair with you and your heart. The world of Magonia is insane. The politics, the beauty, the power, and the adventure of it really make this book stand out. The world-building is remarkable.
It’s hard to compare this story to anything else. Aza makes a rather nice comparison, herself, in the middle of the book. “I feel like I’m in a book written by George Orwell. Except that this is nicer than Orwell. This is Animal Farm plus Peter Pan, plus…squallwhales and bird people” (144).
The writing is also pretty amazing. It read a bit more like an adult fantasy novel than a YA one for me. Some of the sentences were so well put together, so poetic, I commonly found myself stopping to re-read certain phrases.
I loved the romance in this too. It’s the slow-building best friends turned best soul-mates kind of love. It was so awkward and real feeling. It wasn’t all pretty. It was filled with hospital visits and ambulance rides. But, it also involved watching nerdy videos, a shared love for acquiring knowledge of all things, and such moments of adorableness that I found myself shipping these two from page one.
One of my few complaints about this book was that it was a little too easy to put down. It took me over a week to read. It moved rather slowly, like an adult fantasy novel. Also, a little too much time seemed to be focused on Aza’s illness on earth. And I kind of wish more time was spent in the sky.
I have never read anything quite like this story. I enjoyed being surprised by its uniqueness. I loved the world building. I enjoyed the characters. I shipped the romance. And I could not get enough of the adventure. The pace was a little too slow for my liking, and I’m not sure so much emphasis was needed for the main character’s illness in the beginning. I still loved it. I give it a 9/10.

1 comment:

  1. This sounds so unique, I want to read it just for that aspect alone!! I love that you found the writing to be amazing though but it sucks that it was a little too easy to put down. I'll definitely still give this one a go soon! Thanks for the insight Nori ♥