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Magonia | Maria Dahvana Headley | Review


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...
[suddenly] something goes terribly wrong. 
Aza is lost to our world—and found, by another. 
Magonia. 


I'm going to say it straight off the bat, and no, it's not really a spoiler. Aza dies. Well, sort of. It's confusing. Aza dies, but awakes on a ship in the clouds, able to breathe clearly and deeply. She is told that she's not actually human, but belongs in this sky-ship world where birds live in their lungs, and magical songs are sung, battles are fought, lives are lost. All while Earth below is (mostly) oblivious to what's going on above the clouds.

There's a bad guy, what seems to be the good guys, a boy (of course), and a best friend left behind. I'm struggling a little to find the words to write this review. It's nothing like I expected, but not in a good way. I was expecting crazy, yes, I was expecting a great new world above the clouds and above the noise and the world...and in most ways I got that, but it was a little too crazy, even for me. The idea of ships in the sky isn't new to me - Stardust anyone? Or The Edge Chronicles? - but the idea that birds could leap in and out of people's chest as easily as walking through a door was a weird one for me. I just couldn't get my head around it. I know with fantasy you can do what you want, but it just was ... guys, it was odd. Magic makes sense to me. Centaurs even make sense. Transfiguration makes sense. Birds living in chests? Ah...

The story in general was fine, and I really liked the beginning. I like Aza's character at the start, and loved her best friend Jason, but as the story went along I got tired of Aza and didn't really feel sorry for her or care for her much at all. It was if it went all downhill (for me) after Aza discovered Magonia and the sky ships and the people there, which is sad, because that's the whole main point of the story. It was beautifully written, however, in first person from Aza's perspective and occasionally from Jason's. There were some beautiful lines and paragraphs within the story, but the way it was written still didn't grip me enough to not get bored by the end of it.

If you liked YA, and fantasy, a bit of drama, a little bit of love, a whole lot of birds and flying ships, totally give this book a go if you haven't already. It was definitely an interesting story, a fresh idea with actual historical references, but not awesome enough for me to love it. Sorry!

It's hard to write this, I think, because so many people loved this book. But at the end of the day/review, it's up to you to read it. It's up to you to decide whether you like it or not.


Have you read it? 
Please tell me you loved it and it's just me who didn't like it. 
What did you think?


Image and synopsis from Good Reads 

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