Review: Magonia by Maria Dahvana Headley

Sunday, July 12, 2015

Untitled Series #1
Publisher: HarperCollins
Publication Date: April 28, 2015
Rating: 3 Stars
Source: ARC from a trade
Pages: 320

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 starts off with the main character, Aza Ray Boyle, introducing herself by telling us all about her history with hospitals. She has spent a lot of time in them in her almost sixteen years. Because she has an incredibly rare disease that completely baffles her doctors. She is the only person know to have this disease so it's named after her. I felt like the whole first chapter was just her going on and on and on about her disease and imminent death. I nearly stopped reading this book because I was like okay, yeah, I get it. You have crappy lungs and are probably going to die.

So anyway, things are going as well as can be expected for Aza until she sees a ship sailing across the sky and calling out to her. Everyone but her best friend Jason believes it's just a hallucination. But after some internet research they come up with Magonia. Basically a world up in the sky. They don't get much further than that before Aza leaves that world behind and wakes up in Magonia. The people there are blue and bird-like. They sing things into happening and they are on a mission that requires Aza's help. She has to decide if she can trust these people.

I liked the dual point of view with Jason. I liked how he truly believed Aza was still out there and never gave up looking for her. He does everything in his power to find her and get her back. He's kind of a weird dude, but Aza's kind of weird too. So they make a good pair.

I also liked how when Aza got to Magonia, it wasn't like she somehow automatically became an expert on all things Magonia. She asks a lot of questions. She really wants to go home. I liked how it wasn't like okay, I'm here, I'm just gonna like it and pretend I know everything.

I liked the idea of this story. I think that Magonia being a land in the sky is a really interesting setting. I think all the singing and the little birds that live in your chest and sing with you are weird. But in general I think this is a really neat concept.

I did not care for how this book was written. Honestly, I may not have tried hard enough to like it. I didn't like all the weird parentheses and brackets and such because I didn't know what I was supposed to fill into most of the blanks. I didn't really care for how it was written in general either. I feel like things are worded too weird and I had to read some things over a few times to fully understand what they were trying to say. 

So I am giving this book three stars because I didn't hate it, but I didn't really like it either. I might read the second one, but I wouldn't go out of my way to read it or anything.

What did you think of this one if you've read it?


  1. I gave this one three stars as well! I didn't really dislike it, but I didn't immensely love it. I had many unanswered questions and I was confused about some things, but I think I will be reading the sequel for sure :D Fabulous review, Cyra!

    Alyssa @ The Eater of Books!

    1. I wanted to like it. It sounded so interesting! I hope the next one is better because this one just didn't do it for me.


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