author : maria dahvana headley
pages : [hardcover] 320
memorable quote : I read stuff. Books are not my only friends, but we’re friendly. So there.
favorite character : jason
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 started off enjoying this book a lot, eager to see where it would go, and ended up unimpressed and disappointed.
I’ve been looking forward to reading Magonia for a long time. While I’ve heard mixed things about it, things sounds like something unique and fascinating that would be right up my alley. I kind of love the idea of a girl who doesn’t fit in suddenly realizing that she’s a part of something more magical–as common as that idea is getting to be these days. But this was such a cool take on that–something that reminded me a lot of the Leviathan trilogy by Scott Westerfeld, books I absolutely loved which also involved airships. Unfortunately, as soon as Aza took to the skies (which occurred during a heart-wrenchingly awesome scene that unfortunately signaled the downward spiral of my interest) things got . . annoying.
Still, there were some aspects that I liked. I really appreciated Headley’s attempt to draw readers into the possibility of this world which apparently lives atop our own, unnoticed by the ‘drowners’ who live on Earth. At first I thought it was cool that these airships kept themselves hidden by self-made thunderstorms, so the people below would only see a massive storm and dark clouds in the skies. But then at other times in the book, little ships are sailing along without this kind of major protection, unexplained. Is it some kind of magic that keeps the ships hidden? Either there’s a plot hole here or I wasn’t paying attention when something was covered by some explanation.
Of course, there has to be a boy in the sky. I rolled my eyes a little at the inevitable start of a love triangle, particularly because Jason was so perfectly sweet and nerdy with Aza so I didn’t think she’d find some air-man as cute with her as that. Because Aza is a super smart girl. She knows weird facts, either from her own research or Jason telling her these things. She’s had a lot of growing up to do, unfortunately, by constantly living with the knowledge that she would soon die. Yet as soon as she can breathe properly, she starts making these frustratingly stupid decisions–even when things are so glaringly obvious that I don’t think it can be said there are any plot twists in the second part of this book–that I wanted to give up on her.
Although I think the concept of this book is awesome, I’m going to have to say I won’t be recommending this one. There are better YA books out there with more satisfying characters and endings.