Maria Dahvana Headley
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?
If you’re looking for an original novel look no further than Magonia, Maria Headley’s stunning novel that blends the best of fantasy and adventure in this imaginative story of a young girl ripped away from the world she was born into but drawn to the world that stole her heart.
Aza, our pratogonist, is the perfect blend of snarky and insightful, her on-running commentary had me cringing at her bluntness and smiling at her outlook on life. I have to admit for the first few chapters I was a little thrown off because Aza’s judgmental, almost pretentious attitude resembled that of Augustus Waters. But beneath layers of self-deprecation and sarcasm are the thoughts of a girl aged beyond her years and struggling to deal with a difficult situation she can’t change. Yet as much I enjoyed reading about Aza I felt like she eventually lost that spark that defined her voice for first half of the novel.
The basic outline might seem clichéd, broken girl finds herself, but that could not be more untrue. There is nothing clichéd about Maria Headley’s world building. Everything and everyone that occupied Magonia had me shaking my head in disbelief and delight. Half-human half-bird hybrid creatures and blue alien like people stealing from earth and flying through the sky in giant ships? I think I might have drooled a little. And even though I was quickly enamored with Magonia and its customs, I wish it had been fleshed out a little more. There was still so much I didn’t understand or things I wished had been elaborated on. There was such a stark contrast between Aza’s life on earth and her introduction to Magonia that more in depth information to the world of Magonia was needed.
There was a love triangle, but unlike those of Twilight or The Mortal Instruments, the indecision wasn’t there to create unneeded drama, no the love triangle was well used because Aza has a powerful bond with each boy. Yet at the same time neither of the relationships was well developed, the author depended on Aza’s history with Jason to keep their romance alive and I didn’t see any advances with her relationship with Dai. Now, Jason Kerwin was a total dork. A lovable quirky dork whose mind was stuffed full of useless information but whose devotion and love for Aza was moving and heartbreaking. Sadly we didn’t really get to know Dai very well.
I was easily swept up in the new world that Maria Headley created but this was overshadowed by my increasing confusion and disappointment over the lack of details. However, I am still very interested in knowing where Aza’s story will take her and if there is a sequel I will no doubt be picking it up.