July 8, 2015

Magonia by Maria Dahvana Headley

Magonia by Maria Dahvana Headley
Series: Not announced
Source: Bought
Publisher: HarperCollins
Publication Date: April 28, 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?

Transforming rain into rock.
Destroying everyone who can hear it.
I'm avalanching the sky.

I'm going to start off by saying that Magonia is one of the more interesting books I've read this year. It had adventure. It had intrigue. It had a mythological background that was filled out with an interesting bunch of fantastical characters. It reminded me of one of my very favorite books, Stardust.

At first, I was scrolling through many theories in my head about our main character, Aza Ray. I just couldn't decide about her - was she a changeling? Did they take the girl that lived there and replace her with Aza Ray, or was she put there because the human child died? What's the deal here? Then I went from theories about how she got there to thinking about the character herself.

And as I was thinking about her, I realized that she was really quite an interesting character. She may be a slight bit lacking on the emotional front, but she was smart, sassy, and ready to kick some ass. She was hungry for some power, but who wouldn't be after living in her situation - knowing that they were dying each day? I'll give her one more thing - although she was lacking on the emotional bits, she really did have a good heart.

Now I'm gonna bring up her best friend, and my second favorite character after Aza Ray. Jason. I enjoyed him as a character, and while Aza was lacking in emotion, he was not. Some of his pages were so grief-stricken that it made me want to cry! He had so much behind his words, and on top of that he was cool as hell. Smart, full of wicked ideas, really he was Aza's twin in a guy form. I wanted them to get together so bad - which brings me to my next point.

Can we please get a young adult book where there is no alternate love interest. Yes, you heard me. There is in fact an alternate love interest in Magonia. And he was a dick. No doubt about it, jerky attitude all the way to the end. I didn't like him, and I didn't like Aza's interest in him. I much preferred Jason.

Jason, who researched all about Magonia because of something his best friend said to him. Jason, who searched for Aza Ray after she left - who was convinced that she wasn't really dead. (Funny thing about that...she wasn't really dead.) And through his research and his point of view, we learn so much about the history and backstory of Magonia.

It really was a beautifully thought out fantasy novel - I loved that the author took the time to really research the myth of Magonia. She took the time to really fill in all the empty spots with interesting stories and thoughts and theories. While we're on the subject, I found the world of Magonia to be absolutely fascinating!

When Aza Ray first steps on that ship, it's like a whirlwind of surreal and deep fantasy - like waking up in the middle of a crazy dream. It was a little hard for me to process at first, because I wasn't used to the world that she had filled in - but it was well worth the wait for my mind to kick in. I found the birds to be pretty hard to swallow at first, but the longer I read, the more normal it seemed.

Just like the idea of a flying ship of people living in the sky that steal crops and can drown in the air... it all just kind of fit together in an imaginative, interesting way.

Speaking of people that live in the sky - I didn't really care for their leader, Zal. AKA, Aza Ray's mom. I found her to be really kind of crazy. The power that she's hungry for is way more than any one entity should possess, and she's willing to do anything to get it. I couldn't trust her at all throughout the book, and towards the end I realized that she truly was a merciless cow.

But it did make for a good ending battle. Lots of action and such. But I did have a problem with the ending of this book - although it was happy, there were lots of unanswered questions that I had, and quite a few loose ends that I wanted to see tied up - I was very invested in several subplots that I did not get to see resolved. Really, the only thing is that I wanted more. All in all, I'd say that Magonia was a pretty damn good book.

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