Book Review: Magonia by Maria Dahvana Headley

21393526Aza 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?

Rating: 4/10

This book started off well, but eventually become rather a slog to read. For the most part, I like Aza and Jason. Their relationship did read similarly the one from The Fault in Our Stars (a book I’m not a fan of) but I liked this one a little more. I can’t really pin down why this it. It’s possible that it is because the voice of these two feel much more like the voices of teenagers than in Stars.

Actually, the voices of the characters was one of the positives of the book. There were many times  when one of them would say something, especially Aza, and I would laugh because it was totally something that I would have said at their age. The voices of the characters were also distinct enough from one another that you don’t get confused halfway through and forget who was talking. I feel like this is a common problem in books with multiple POVs, but I think it’s done rather well in this book.

Other than the voice, however, there are many times when these characters don’t ring true. Mainly this is because of Jason. Apparently he invents a bunch of stuff, has a lab in a storage shed, and owns a company? At least that’s how I understood it. It was strange. Jason is this genius that does all of this stuff, and the only reason for seems to be so that he has enough money to do something near the end of the book. I can’t figure out why this was a thing, and it distracted me from what was happening in the book.

It was also really difficult to put together what was happening in this book. I couldn’t properly put together any idea of what these beings look like, or what the singing they do sounds like or even how it happens. I feel that a really interesting idea was kind of buried under a rush to get the story told.

In the end, it was just an alright book that could have been better.


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