Magonia by Maria Dahvana HeadleyExpected publication: April 28th 2015 by HarperCollins
Neil Gaiman’s Stardust meets John Green’s The Fault in Our Stars in this fantasy about a girl caught between two worlds…two races…and two destinies.
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?
I like my books with some straight nonsensical magic in them and this book suited my tastes just fine. The grandiose world reminded me of a cross between Alice in Wonderland and Peter Pan. The premise was completely unique as was the style of Maria's prose. If you like books that are a bit off kilter this one is so for you. The best part are the carefully woven truths hidden within the works of fiction. I googles Magonia (cause I'm as curious as a cat) and was amazed at the lore I discovered.
Aza Ray was a brilliant character. She was smart and funny and she was also dying. There were quite a few times I was in tears with certain scenes with Aza's family. They do so much to try to help her manage and stay positive. I had to put the book down a few times simply because I couldn't read past my crocodile tears. Let's get back to the funny, witty Aza. I was in like with her from this paragraph on.
"Yes, I'm a reader. Kill me. I could tell you I was raised in a library and the books were my only friends, but I didn't do that did I? Because I have mercy. I'm neither genius nor a kid destined to become a wizard. I'm just me. I read stuff. Books are not my only friends, but we're friendly. So there."
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Maria did a great job of creating Aza's inner monologue. She was able to create every nuance imaginable for a dying girl who was walking toward her death with dignity and strength. Then the proverbial stuff hits the fan.
There are ships in the sky and birds everywhere and then Aza leaves her life she knew behind to board one of these ships. Well she was actually captured while she was dying but the result is the same. This is where things took a turn for the weird....and the awesome. There was the Magonians themselves who were blue skinned and the Rostrae who were a human/bird hybrid. This was my favorite part, the magical system of the world. The way the ships moved and came close the Earth's surface are tied to bizarre weather patterns such as crazy hail storms or acid rain. These are created by squallwhales. Whale like creatures who glide along beside the Magonian ships to create storms to disguise them from human eyes. That is just the tip of the iceberg since there is so much more detail involved. I could prattle on for an hour. Then there was the magic of their songs. It allowed them to do things such as man the ship and clean things and even sings ENTIRE NEBULAS INTO EXISTENCE! Aza discovers she has the most power of them all but she is so new to this world she doesn't know who to trust or what to do. She must learn to trust herself or destroy the world at someone elses hand.
With magical prose to compliment the world, Headley's debut is sure to please fantasy lovers everywhere.