Magonia by Maria Dahvana Headley

21393526Edition: E-Book, 320 pages
Published by: Harper Collins, 28th April 2015
Genre: Fantasy, Magical Realism, Romance, Young Adult
Rating: 1 feather

Summary courtesy of 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?


Some mild spoilers will be present in this review.

Thank the lord I actually finished this. This was a very disappointing, confusing and frustrating read. I am glad it’s over but I don’t know why I bothered.

It is said that this is The Fault in our Stars meets Peter Pan. That’s a ploy. This is not in any way similar to The Fault in our Stars. The only similarity is that the main character Aza Ray Boyle is ‘dying’ of a mysterious lung disease that causes her difficulty to breathe. She does not have Cancer, like Hazel does.

Everything about this book tries so hard to be quirky and different. You can instantly tell from reading the characters. Everyone’s so quirky.

I couldn’t connect with Aza. I understand why she sounds so resentful. She’s snarky and kind of annoying but still, it doesn’t make me want to read more about her perspective. Usually I like sarcastic characters with snarky lines; they’re my favourite type of characters to read because they’re mostly fun but I did not like Aza. The thing is that in the beginning she was sarcastic but then later on in the book her tone changed.

The concept of ships sailing in the sky was so unbelievable and really weird. Not to say weird is bad because it is a good thing but I just really could not believe it. When Aza meets the ‘bird people’ I think I was pretty much done with the book. This is probably the weirdest thing I’ve read in any book. Actual talking birds who have blue skin, red eyes with peaks and lips! Are these normal features of a bird? I was imagining people wearing bird costumes, like funny mascots. The thing about the bird people is that they can open a door in their chests and have an actual bird in them?!

Nothing makes sense. I had a very hard time keeping up with the storyline I was confused by everything in this book, such as the world building, which is not explained very well; it was so random. The world building and ‘ships in the sky’ concept needs to be explained for it to be believable. The author doesn’t tell you why things are the way they are and Aza doesn’t even question it. She did at first but then she just let it go. No one told her anything. It sounded like they couldn’t tell her anymore than they already have. I have no idea why. I can’t really distinguish the difference between Aza and Jason’s POVs. They sounded the same. Another thing is how ‘singing’ creates great power. I have no idea what the hell they are singing about; it sounded weird.

The writing is very unique, but it’s not easy to follow. It makes me feel kind of dumb. I find myself having to enunciate it very carefully whilst reading it twice. When your reading a book, you don’t want to have to read lines twice, you want to read it the first time, understand what the character is trying to say and turn the next page. I’m not saying it’s a bad thing, I’m saying: just get to the point. That’s sort of my problem with this style of writing. Don’t get me wrong, I do really appreciate the way some authors write in a really beautifully poetic and expressive way, but at the same time, it’s not my favourite kind of story to read, so it depends on personal taste. I can’t pinpoint any book that has been my favourite, which have poetic writing. My favourite style of writing is when you get to the point.

Overall I did not enjoy reading it and there was not anything I liked about it. The only thing I can comment on is the unique writing style and the prologue was interesting. The cover is very beautiful and the summary sounded very promising, but unfortunately I found the story fell flat. This isn’t by any means a bad book. A lot of people seemed to have really loved it and rated it very highly, so it is probably just wasn’t the book for me.

Don’t be put off by my negative review, if you love really magical bizarre stories, Neil Gaiman-esque stories, weird unexplained plots and really really quirky characters, then you should definitely pick this up.

I hear there will be a sequel to Magonia. The mythology of Magonians and skyships will probably be explained in the next book, but I don’t care enough to find out.

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14 thoughts on “Magonia by Maria Dahvana Headley

  1. I’ve seen a lot on this book and I’ve been pretty curios about it. But, from the bio I read I was already having a hard time with the righting style. I’ll probably end up giving it a chance, but we’ll see how it goes! Thanks!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I’ve been meaning to pick up this book for a while because the beautiful cover really grabbed my attention but after reading your review it doesn’t really sound like something that would interest me, either. Maybe I’d read it if I saw it at the library or somewhere for cheap. Great review!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I honestly wasn’t feeling up to reading this despite the gorgeous cover, but I think you’ve convinced me to forgo it for sure. You know that I really love fantasy/paranormal but this just seems too unbelievable (and a little ridiculous) like you mentioned. Anyway, lovely review Thuong! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Aw it sounds like I’ve put you off reading it lol but it was really ridiculous, should have DNF it. I was really up to reading it because I thought it would be similar to ‘The Strange and Beautiful Sorrows of Ava Lavender’ but its not similar at all, just really bizarre! Thanks Summer 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I was actually going to buy a paperback because the cover was pretty! Shallow me XD but ended up getting the e-book first. I haven’t used the library since writing my dissertation but I am planning to go back to using it again. I really want to borrow J.K. Rowling’s Very Good Lives!

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Oh! …I’m actually really hesitant about reading J.K. Rowling’s non-HP books. I’m too afraid of disappointment. I’m not really worried about her writing, it’s more that because I consider her to be one of the creators of my childhood and my love for reading. And I don’t want to taint her reputation (in my mind that is) just because I don’t like the genre her new books are in. BUT, I hope you enjoy Very Good Lives if you are able to snag a copy! 😀

        Liked by 1 person

      3. Same here. I haven’t really tried reading the Casual Vacancy and the Cuckoo’s Calling. I’m sure its great! but premise just didn’t appeal to me… people seem to have mixed reviews about it. Thanks! I hope I am able to get a copy and also a copy of Simon Vs the homosapien agenda! – I hear so many great things about it, so I got to read it! 😀

        Liked by 1 person

      4. Oh my gosh, please read Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda soon! I read it a couple of months ago and LOVED it. It’s definitely going to be at least a 3 star read. It’s simply written (plot wise too) but so good! AND SIMON. He’s a cutie patootie, like seriously. Gah.

        Liked by 1 person

    1. The positive reviews was the reason why I wanted to read it too! (And the beautiful cover). But I don’t know, just found it really unbelievable and didn’t like the characters much. Hope you enjoy it if you decide to read it! Thanks 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

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