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#1 New York Times bestseller Maria Dahvana Headley’s soaring sky fantasy Magonia is now in paperback!

Since she was a baby, Aza Ray Boyle 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—but as she navigates her new life, she discovers that war between Magonia and Earth is coming. In Aza’s hands lies the fate of the whole of humanity—including the boy who loves her. Where do her loyalties lie?

309 pages, Hardcover

First published April 28, 2015

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About the author

Maria Dahvana Headley

80 books1,566 followers
Maria Dahvana Headley is the New York Times-bestselling author of, most recently, THE MERE WIFE (out July 17, 2018 from MCD/FSG). Upcoming in 2019 is a new translation of BEOWULF, also from FSG. As well, she is the author of the young adult skyship novels MAGONIA and AERIE from HarperCollins, the dark fantasy/alt-history novel QUEEN OF KINGS, the internationally bestselling memoir THE YEAR OF YES, and THE END OF THE SENTENCE, a novella co-written with Kat Howard, from Subterranean. With Neil Gaiman, she is the New York Times-bestselling co-editor of the monster anthology UNNATURAL CREATURES, benefitting 826DC.

Her Nebula,Shirley Jackson and World Fantasy award-nominated short fiction has appeared on Tor.com, and in The Toast, Clarkesworld, Lightspeed, Nightmare, Apex, The Journal of Unlikely Entomology, Subterranean Online, Glitter & Mayhem and Jurassic London's The Lowest Heaven and The Book of the Dead, Uncanny, Shimmer, and more. It's anthologized in Best American Fantasy and Science Fiction, as well as the 2013 and 2014 editions of Rich Horton's The Year's Best Fantasy & Science Fiction, & Paula Guran's 2013 The Year's Best Dark Fantasy & Horror, in The Year's Best Weird Volume 1, ed. Laird Barron, and in Wastelands, Vol 2, among others. She's also a playwright and essayist.

She grew up in rural Idaho on a sled-dog ranch, spent part of her 20's as a pirate negotiator and ship marketer in the maritime industry, and now lives in Brooklyn in an apartment shared with a seven-foot-long stuffed crocodile.

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Displaying 1 - 30 of 3,565 reviews
Profile Image for Emily May.
1,991 reviews298k followers
April 17, 2015
I'm dark matter. The universe inside of me is full of something, and science can't even shine a light on it. I feel like I'm mostly made of mysteries.

Oh my... Magonia is one hell of a rare novel.

Not only does it offer an intriguing blend of reality-infused science fiction and highly-imaginative fantasy, but it is also unlike anything I have ever read before.

I've always said that - for me - originality is one of the best and rarest compliments a writer can get. Not "this is the next Hunger Games or Harry Potter" but "this is completely different to everything else I've read". How unusual it is to read a novel and be taken to places so new, fresh and wonderfully magical.

One of my favourite things has always been when authors manage to weave fact and fiction together in order to create a fantasy story with added realism. Especially when they introduce me to parts of history I'd never heard about before. Did you know that in France in 815, sailors claimed to have come from a secret realm in the clouds they called Magonia? This was one of the first recorded instances of UFO-related occurrences and it was completely new to me.

Many times I have wondered why YA authors insist on using the same old recycled mythology when there's a whole universe of weird and wonderful shit out there just begging to be turned into a story. Here we have a fine example. This book opens up an entire new world full of detailed and exciting mythology. I was like a kid in a toy store, staring wide-eyed at all the colourful weirdness and longing for more as the pages flew by.

The author uses language that deserves the comparisons to Neil Gaiman - a rich, atmospheric style of fairytale storytelling. And with this, she creates a cast of wonderful characters who I can only hope will reappear in sequels.

The main character in Magonia is Aza Ray and she is dying. The doctors are unable to discover what is wrong with her and have failed at all attempts to cure her of the mysterious disease that is causing her to essentially drown in the Earth's atmosphere. Then one day, circumstances see Aza awakening in a whole new world where she is no longer weak and sickly, but a powerful creature at the centre of a longstanding feud that will take her to places she never could have dreamed existed.

Suddenly, she discovers the truth about her life, her past and who she is; maybe this new world can offer her a place to live the kind of life she's always wanted? Or maybe nothing is as it seems. Stir in plenty of action, romance, and well-developed family dynamics and you have something pretty damn amazing. I should also point out that the love triangle I had feared might occur never went in that direction.

Looking for a genre-defying blend of magic, love, flying and family?

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Profile Image for karen.
3,988 reviews170k followers
June 26, 2018
looks like i am the only one who didn't fall head-over-heels in love with this book. i did fall pretty hard for the cover, but it takes more than a pretty face to win me over…

it has many good qualities: story set in a wholly original fantasy world, families who are supportive and loving that seem realistic rather than idealized, strong imagery and situations that aren't just warmed-over versions of other YA books, romance where the two participants are apart for most of the book, so we don't have to read about all the gazing and fumbling and stammering, debilitating illness written sympathetically and vividly...

i just didn't think the actual story was developed as well as the characters. i never felt the tension i was meant to feel during the actiony events, and beyond the two main characters: aza and jason, none of the other characters were more than foils or obstacles, and overall the fantasy elements were not as well-realized as the realistic ones.

aza has been severely sick her whole life with a respiratory condition so rare that it has actually been named after her, and whose cause and treatment has baffled every last specialist. she is nearly sixteen, much older than she was ever expected to live, when she begins seeing visions of ships in the clouds and hearing something whistling and calling her name. assuming these are hallucinations brought on by one of her medications, she freaks out less than she might ordinarily, until the evening she is visited by an assortment of BIRDS (if you know how i feel about birds, you know how alarming this is), after which she collapses and dies in the ambulance on the way to the hospital.

when she wakes up, she is aboard the very ship she has been "hallucinating," high in the air, where she is re-introduced to her people, because - turns out, she's not from "our" world, she is from magonia, and it's the air on the earth that has been killing her. and there's no specialist for that.

so aza learns about her culture and their rituals, and the BIRD that belongs in HER CHEST and that she is a very special girl with a very special destiny. because YA. however, she has left behind her parents and sister, as well as her best friend-with-possibilities, jason, and even though they all think she's dead, and she has finally found a place where she can breathe, she's torn between two worlds.

and jason, for one, doesn't believe she's really dead.

this one got off to a rocky start for me, because from the outset, i was not a fan of aza's voice. i think she was meant to come off as tough in the face of death or something, but her brittle snark was irritating. her illness was horrible, and i'm not downplaying her struggle, but i also don't automatically canonize the afflicted and i think that when people are bitchy and then say things like "Calling the sick girl names? Please. We all know it's not okay" - it's not fair. if you're going to antagonize people and be provocative, you're gonna get some back, sick or not - no special treatment in high school politics.

but after a while, i got into it, and once jason was introduced, it got a bit better. although it's still "what if john green kids were even more precocious," and they don't read like sixteen-year-olds, it's still a really lovely relationship, and i thought headley did a nice job turning that friendship into maybe-more without it getting all goopy. despite sounding older and being more capable than their years (booking flights, tossing off profitable inventions and having factories in their arsenal, having access to seeecret footage of squids, etc..) i thought the bones of their friendship rang true - nerdy social outcasts finding each other and bonding over pi and the OED. it's very sweet and charming.

i also loved the descriptions of some of the creatures in magonia. not the heartbirds (shudder) or bird-people (bigger shudder), but batsails, squallwhales, stormsharks?? yes pretty please! Can anything I will ever hear from now until the end of time sound cooler than stormsharks? probably not. but that's the thing - a lot of the magonia stuff was just window dressing without a lot of depth. we don't even get to spend any time with stormsharks, they are just a passing detail.

the strengths of this book are completely terrestrial - aza's family, jason's family, and their unshakeable friendship. the fantasy is blurry, the avatar-level eco-preach unnuanced, and the story a little flimsy. i'll read the second one, in the hopes that book two will have way more stormsharks, but i didn't swoon over this one the way it seems the rest of the world did.

mea culpa.

come to my blog!
Profile Image for Darth J .
417 reviews1,266 followers
Shelved as 'could-not-finish'
January 19, 2016

The main character's voice is grating on my nerves. So much that I couldn't even get more than 17 pages into this story. While this has a great cover and premise, I just can't keep reading this twaddle. Perhaps if there was a different POV or something I would be able to enjoy it, but it's like listening to a loud tween try too hard for attention.

757 reviews2,348 followers
August 8, 2017
DNF @ 35%

Ya know, this book actually has a very interesting premise (which is why I started to read it in the first place), but the immature writing and boring plot had me in tears because what the fuck, boredom hurts.

The writing is like listening to my ten year old sister whine about fucking everything in the world. It's so not professional and just plain generic.

"All I've got is { }."



"I look at his back. Shoulders = too high."


The fuck is this?^ THESE ARE ACTUAL FUCKING QUOTES FROM THE BOOK. Like seriously, what the fuck is this writing? It's like trying to figure out what the fuck my moody 19 year old sister is trying to say.

On top of that, nothing happens for 100 pages. I was BORED. And I was also very fucking BORED. Everyone has patience, even I do, but you know what, I'm not that much of a patient person and this book took one hundred and seven pages to fucking get to the point.

But at that point, a magician, suddenly made the fuck I was going to give, DISAPPEAR!!!! (I gotta learn the secret to that trick, yo.)

Right when Ava gets lands on some weird fucking bird alien ship I stopped caring and quit because this book couldn't hold my attention till then because those one hundred and seven pages were boring as fuck.

What a waste of a pretty cover.
Profile Image for Chantal .
343 reviews832 followers
January 10, 2016
2.5 stars

Before I start my review can we just all take a moment to appreciate this GORGEOUS cover? Yes? Yes.

Throughout this entire story I kept seeing certain images in my mind. Something like this

and this

I can’t have been the only one, right? I mean, cities in the sky, flying ships, air pirates, strange creatures in the clouds… Having said that though, this comparison is a compliment, not a reproach. By no means did I feel like Magonia was a copy of Castle in the Sky. Rather, me comparing a book to a Myazaki movie is pretty much the biggest praise I can give.

So what is Magonia actually about?

It’s the story of Aza Ray, a fifteen-year-old girl that has been suffering from a strange and foreign disease her entire life. She has trouble breathing and basically feels like she’s drowning in air. She is dying and all attempts to cure her have failed. Then one day, Aza sees a ship in the sky and at around the same time the doctors discover a feather in her lungs. She finds out that she isn’t wholly part of the human world but belongs to a different place, a place in the clouds. I’ll let you discover the rest.

Magonia stood out to me because of its originality and imagination. Despite the fact, that the plot arch at its very core is your typical YA fantasy story (girl is weak, finds out she isn’t what she thought but that she is in actuality “special” blablabla), Magonia is still unlike anything I’ve ever read before. And originality, for me, is one of the most important factors in my enjoyment of a book. The ideas in this book were new and fresh, the mythology unheard of. I loved that about the novel.

Having said that though, this novel didn’t blow me away. In fact, it didn’t even come close, which is really sad considering its potential. My problem here was in the execution of the story.

Basically, the plot felt very haphazard. A lot of the time I felt confused because I wasn’t sure what was happening. I actually found myself having to reread pages because I realized that I had missed something important and was totally lost. This usually never happens to me with books I read for personal enjoyment. The plotline really needed that extra polish and fleshing out that would have made the story better understandable and less exhausting to read. The conflict felt weakly grounded and there was too much happening at the same time, so that none of the elements could be executed with care.

The world building definitely also contributed to my general confusion. Although I had the feeling that the author had a solid idea for the world in her head with lots of enticing ideas, she didn’t manage to translate that onto the page. As a result, she would just drop an “information bomb” on us, e.g. in the form of a magical creature, but then wouldn’t explain anything about said creature. I would often find myself wondering what the purpose of a certain story element was, where things had come from, how the world worked. We got almost zero historical, cultural or political background of this world above our human one.

All in all, this book just lacked much needed explanation. It’s great if you can give me something unique and charming, but if there isn’t enough information or explanation I’m not going believe it and I’m going to go through the novel constantly unsure of whether or not I missed something.

I quite enjoyed the characters. Aza was smart and sarcastic with a very peculiar sense of humor and I liked her well enough. I did however, have an issue with the inconstancy of her character. She constantly switched sides and trusted the wrong people for no apparent reason. She seemed to understand things and make accurate judgments but then didn’t act on them. I had trouble understanding her motivation for some of her actions, which caused me to feel detached from her.

Jason was more consistent but I didn’t really connect with him either. I liked him as a character, he was a nice guy, but I couldn’t love him. Also, how on earth he managed certain things will remain a mystery to me.

The romance aspect in this novel was solid. There was no insta-love or ungrounded angst. I actually understood why the two characters were in love with each other, which I appreciate. However, it also wasn’t the kind of romance that blew me away and made me skip up and down.

The writing is definitely a hit or miss. The narrative style is quite different from what I usually read, very conversational and sarcastic. Personally, I enjoyed it after I got into it but it wasn’t my favorite. Here a quote that I think captures the writing style quite well:
Did he just say stormsharks? My inner nerd is elated. Can anything I will ever hear from now until the end of time sound cooler than stormsharks?

Overall, an enjoyable read but I wouldn’t recommend it to everyone. It really depends on how you feel about the writing style and how important worldbuilding is to you.
Profile Image for Ikram.
211 reviews1,280 followers
February 10, 2017

Buddy read with my partner in crime Melsa Aka Melissa for all you other people.

Dnfed at 50% .

After suffering through a little over half way of this novel

This is like the first time I dnf a book, but guys it was just too much #sorrynotsorry

Meet our main character :

Aza Rambler … I mean Aza Ray :

The story is actually told in like a stream of consciousness type of writing, which sounds really good at first, but I personally think it wasn’t well done at all. Gahhh it was all over the place, the whole thing was just not coherent.
This was not a Virginia Woolf novel. Just saying.
So, Aza is one of those annoying characters that can’t stop whining and complaining and I’ll admit it, her life kind of sucks but it wasn’t enjoyable to read about at all.

Jason :
Another rambler unfortunately, I think he and Aza were equally annoying even though I actually liked him in the begining but the writing style just killed it for me.

The whole bird people situation :
What the actual fuck ? I just.... couldn't.

Bird people, ship in the sky, swallowing of other birds (not the people ones), Pirates of the sky, girl/bird kidnapped.
My brain couldn’t process all these things put together.

I know a lot of you guys loved this book and I can see why but it was just not for me.

Ps : Can someone explain the brackets concept to me ?
« I looked at him and said ( ) »
Profile Image for Ahmad Sharabiani.
9,564 reviews27 followers
June 8, 2021
Magonia (Magonia, #1) , Maria Dahvana Headley

Magonia, the story of a 16-year-old girl with a mysterious breathing disease who finds herself on a sky ship in the historical kingdom of Magonia, was published in April 2015. The sequel, Aerie, was published in 2016.

عنوان: ماگونیا (مگونیا)؛ نویسنده: ماریا داهوانا هدلی؛ موضوع داستانهای نویسندگان ایالات متحده آمریکا - سده 21م

ماریا داهوانا هدلی (زادروز بیست و یکم ماه ژوئن سال 1977میلادی) رمان نویس، خاطرات نویس، ویراستار، و نمایشنامه نویس «آمریکایی»؛ و از نویسندگان و سردبیر «نیویورک تایمز» هستند؛

داستان «آزا ری بویل» دختری شانزده ساله است، که مشکل تنفسی دارد؛ «آزا ری» در حال مرگ است؛ پزشکان قادر به کشف مشکل او نیستند، و ناکام مانده اند؛ ...؛ «آزا» در دنیای تازه ای بیدار میشود، او دیگر ضعیف و بیمار نیست، بلکه موجودی توانمند است، توانائیش او را به مکانهایی میبرد که هرگز نمیتوانست رویای آن را هم داشته باشد ...؛

تاریخ بهنگام رسانی 17/03/1400هجری خورشیدی؛ ا. شربیانی
509 reviews2,414 followers
April 29, 2015
More reviews like this one on The Social Potato.

If you're going to ask me to describe Magonia in one word, that word would be charming. It was elegant, magical and absolutely captivating.

Reading this book was like floating on a magical, puffy, pink cloud. While eating fairy dust and watching shooting stars. That's how alluring this book was. The only other time I've felt this way was while watching the Stardust movie!

While Aza wasn't physically strong, personality-wise, she was feisty and sassy, which is why it was no wonder I was immediately entertained by her narrative. I felt like I casually slipped into Aza's mind while reading, and her perspective's such an interesting one, considering her unique condition and odd personality.

She also had such an amazing relationship with her best friend and the love of my life, Jason. It's amazing how they're both quirky, and they just have this natural closeness that makes you want to push their faces together while screaming, "Just kiss already!" Jason was such a sweetheart, and it was absolutely heartwarming to see that he was willing to go through such lengths to get his best friend back.

There is a sort-of-but-not-really love triangle, but I can't really go into detail without spoiling. Let's just say that romance lovers need not worry--the other half of the triangle made sense, and the everything went down smoothly.

While the characters and their relationships were fabulous, I can honestly say that the best part about this novel was the world-building. This book is based off a more unknown mythology, and let me just say that Magonia has one of the most gorgeous settings I have ever had the honor of reading about. Everything was so imaginative and vivid, with talking birds, singing birds, and a flying ship in the sky. Sounds crazy? Maybe. But it's the good kind of crazy. It's... wondrously strange.

And OH GOD, the writing, you guys. You know how much I'm not a fan of the more lyrical prose, but Headley's writing just made the story much more real. Like floating on a magical pink cloud, indeed. It was just so elegant yet simple and easy to get into. Feeling what Aza and Jason felt was just natural with this glorious writing. (Not kidding--I may have cried a few times.) I fell in love with it from page one!

The gist of it is that THIS BOOK IS AMAZING AND YOU SHOULD ALL BUY IT AND READ IT AND PET IT. Yep. That sounds about right.
Profile Image for destini.
239 reviews501 followers
July 9, 2015
Aza, it says, the whistle. Aza, are you out there?

It's been a really long time since I've read something so unique. The premise, characters, setting . . . everything was just so refreshing.
Aza Ray, your life is so gigantically not what you thought it was going to be.

I was warned that Magonia might be a little weird but, strangely, I didn't find it so. Maybe because I was forewarned . . . or maybe I'm the weird one and felt right at home reading Magonia.
I'm something else. Something important. What? No cue.

Aza's character was one that may not be likable to everyone, but had me giggling at every turn. Was she kind of bitchy? Yes. But what can I say? I guess that's my kind of character.
Bang, bang, you're dead. Close your eyes and go to bed.

She's suffered from a mystery lung/breathing condition that has left her on Death's doorstep most of her life.
My thing is a Mystery and not just a Mystery, but Bermuda– no sun, only Triangle.
Unknowable. Unsolvable.
I take handfuls of drugs every morning, even though no one is entirely sure what the thing that's wrong with me actually is. I'm rare like that.

But she's destined for more than that. Magonia. A place where ships fly in the sky and the air is breathable. A place where she's not the weak, frail girl she's been most of her life. In Magonia, she's incredibly powerful.
Like I'm in a movie,
like I'm not me,
like I'm someone I never imagined
–bigger, stronger, and fearless.

Jason, how did I grow attached to you so quickly?
He merely looks at you, blankly and conquers.

I can't resist a guy that bends over backwards for the ones he loves. I got to hand it to him, he's much more open-minded than I am. He unwaveringly believed in Aza, no matter how certifiably insane the situation sounded. Honestly, I think everybody should have a Jason.
If she were here, listening to me, she'd be puking right now because I'm losing all my dignity.

Jason + Aza
I ship it so hard. So hard.

The writing was unconventional but fit the story and characters perfectly. The author grabs your attention immediately and leaves you wanting so much more once you've finished. If I had started Magonia at night, it's easily a book I could have pulled an all-nighter with (and with little regret the next morning). That right there is 5 star worthy.

Along with the fact that, not even 30% in, this book had me in tears.
I know everyone has dreams of flying, but this isn't a dream of flying. It's a dream of floating, and the ocean is not water but wind.
I call the it a dream, but it feels realer than my life.

What I especially loved about this story is how original it was. I could count on one hand, hell one finger, how many books I've read about a world in the sky like this one. I wasn't reading about the same old, overused concepts. This here was completely new mythology to me and I ate it up like cake. There was perfect mix of realism and fantasy in Magonia. It makes it feel real and not like fantasy. Like I could look out my window and into the sky and see an army of ships in the distance.

My only complaint is that there was a relationship bordering on a love triangle. But even that couldn't stop me from loving this book. I'm just slightly concerned on how that will play out in the sequel, but for now, I'm going to do what I do best and enjoy this uncomplicated, blissful relationship and ignore any kind of heinous love triangle that may come my way.
This isn't just Jason and Aza. It's not me racing against death to save her anymore. It's us racing against the impossible.

Profile Image for Geo Marcovici.
1,285 reviews299 followers
September 28, 2017
Un război de purtat, o mare presiune pe umerii Azei, o alegere dificilă pe care o are de făcut. Personaje puternice și captivante, care își acceptă cu demnitate povara pe care o au de purtat, care dau dovadă de mult curaj și spirit de sacrificiu.
Se poate oare, să avem parte de o pace între două lumi atât de diferite? Magonia și Pământul nu au absolut nimic în comun. Și totuși, atât de multe!
4,5 *
Recenzia mea completă o găsiți aici:
Profile Image for Dear Faye.
492 reviews2,124 followers
November 25, 2014
First off, this was such a beautiful novel, inside and out.
I like the sky. It's rational to me in a way that life isn't. Looking at it doesn't suck the way you might think it would, given all the dying-girl-stares-at-heaven possibilities. I don't think of the sky as any kind of heaven item. I think of it as a bunch of gases and faraway echoes of things that used to be on fire.

When I read the first few paragraphs of this book, I initially thought it was the diary of a self-absorbed girl who thought she was the shit. After finishing the first two chapters, I ate my words and realized that the heroine was actually exploding with a certain kind of wisdom only a mature person who accepted her upcoming death could achieve.
Speaking of ocean and big fish in it. This is the first footage of a giant squid ever taken in which the squid is swimming around in its own environment. Imagine this sea-monstery unbelievable thing with eyeballs the size of a person's head, and a body and tentacles twenty-five feet long. As long as a school bus. Now, realize that no one's ever seen one moving around down there before. It's a pretty huge miracle, and if this exists, maybe there are things in Loch Ness, too. Maybe there are things everywhere, all over the place. Maybe there is... hope?

Because every time someone finds a new animal, or a new amazing thing on earth, it means we haven't broken everything yet.

Emily May, in her review, likened the writing to Neil Gaiman's, and she's very accurate with her assessment. Aza Ray was a dying girl, and she knew it. She talked about how her life has been since she was diagnosed with a breathing problem, and how she adjusted and her family adjusted to make her feel better and more comfortable. She would even make fun of herself sometimes, giving the narration self-deprecating moments that just make her even more endearing. You can actually feel how weak she was, and how it was her family and friend who were giving her strength to endure it all.  With such a situation, you'd think the atmosphere would be filled with drama, but the narration was just brimming with an uncommon honesty, full of raw emotions and hope and a sense of defeat, while also effortlessly making the mood somehow surreal at the same time. And funny. Don't forget funny.
I, myself, have never gotten my period, which I'm actually not too upset about. Postpone the misery, I say. It's because I'm too skinny, and have no luck gaining weight.

Clarification: by "too skinny," I don't mean Sexy Goth Girl in Need of Flowery Dress and Lipstick to Become Girl Who Was Always Secretly Pretty but We Never Saw It till Now. I mean: dead girl walking. Corpse-style skin, and sometimes when I cough, it's way gross. Just saying.

Or this:
When Jason feels inclined, he's been known to make chocolate éclairs. Today he feels inclined. If I weren't already worried, this'd worry me. Chocolate éclairs are for birthdays. If he's making them early, I must really look bad.

Yeah. I think I'll avoid the mirror.

 But wow, when the scene's emotional, it really hits you. There was this scene that lasted a good 10% of the book, and I cried all the way. I know I'm a crybaby, but when you saw how I was crying and how my heart was being pulled at different places, you just realize how powerful the book and the author are, impacting you so much when we barely even knew the heroine yet.
My dad is fading out. All I can see are my own eyelashes and my eye own eyelids, and somehow, also, my own brain, all the pathways inside it, everything dark and narrow, and getting narrower, bookshelves closing in, books crushed, falling into muddled piles, pages crushed, words mangled, and me, running through it all, trying to get out before the walls collapse.

I feel the entire inside of my body folding up, some kind of awful origami. I thought it would hurt, but the pain I've been feeling forever and ever is actually something that's ceasing to matter to me, just like my bones no longer matter to me, and I inhale, and exhale, and

Bird in my chest

Bird in my chest

Bird in my chest

Ships in the sky

Last moments before dying

The rest of the novel was equally fascinating. The plot here, while not be one hundred original (girl finding out who she really is, comes to possess mysterious and unimaginable powers), still feels refreshing because of the world-building that's absolutely and entirely new (at least to me it felt like it). Instead of borrowing from overused mythologies that we're already so familiar with, we're introduced to something that came from a French medieval tale, and man, was it an adventure riding the skies with them Magonian creatures. I always rejoice when we're treated to new concepts because it also meant broadening your knowledge of the world's tales, many of them long forgotten, itching to be told and presented to the world again in a modern way.

And Maria Dehvana Headley did it right with this book.

The other characters were such a delight, too. Jason Kerwin might just be the most adorable guy ever. He's Aza's best friend, fascinated with computers and numbers and the world, someone I could just fricking relate to,  and doesn't say anything so sugary, or flirt so openly. He's just being himself and uses small gestures to communicate his feelings and it's so bloody heartwarming. The family dynamics were so awesome, too. You can just see how much family plays a huge role in Aza's life, her family's kindness influencing her and reminding her of what's important. They're not absent at all. They were present even when they weren't there, because early on, you already witness how big of a mark they put in her life.

Overall, this was a beautiful book, and not just because of the cover. The writing is charming and bewitching at the same time. The pages are full of honesty, love, fun, friendship, and magic, and will surely introduce you to places and heights you've never been to before. Get ready to be surprised this upcoming April!
Profile Image for Simona B.
898 reviews3,009 followers
February 10, 2017
"There was no way I could live another moment without Aza Ray knowing my name."

I was first drawn to this book because of the description that many, many people made of it. They usually used an adjective, one magic word which alone can move, create and destroy universes: 'gaimanian'. They said this book was like this: gaimanian.
Let's analyse this word.

gaiman = that Gaiman? The freakin' fabulous author of masterpieces like Stardust and American Gods? That Gaiman?
-ian = please take me I'm yours let's have a lot of baby books together.

So, yeah, I was pretty excited for Magonia. But, while some of my expectations were fully met, others weren't.

It's a good book. It has a compelling plot and interesting characters. The world-building cannot be said to be uninteresting. The writing is beyond any doubt peculiar and pleasant to read.

• The plot presents more than just one deadlock, and some things, in my opinion, didn't make much sense. For one thing, why does Aza have to steal a boat in order to free a bird? Didn't it suffice to bring it outdoors and free it there? I know that Aza had to , but this is called forcing the plot, and honestly I can't help turning up my nose at it.
Also, Jason. It's as if this boy has a passe-partout to every door. The more reserved the information is, the easier he manages to get it. The results of an autopsy? He can have it. Hacking every computer in the USA? Child's play. False documents to get to Norway? No problem. False document for Aza to get her back home from Norway? Nothing ahs ever been easier.
I don't know why, but I'm under the impression that's not how things work in reality. Like, at all.

• Speaking about the characters, the only one with whom I could completely connect is Jason (despite his inexplicable I-can-get-what-the-heck-I-want superpowers). His pages, the ones following made me weep buckets of tears, so deep, moving and honest his voice his. Those pages are my favourites in the whole book.
Aza is not as interesting as she seemed to be at the beginning and as she had the potential to be. She's not annoying or excessively conventional either, but I wouldn't include her in my top list of favourite heroines.
Dai really bothered me, because he has absolutely no characterizations. We are told his story through another character, and it's a very sad story, or, better, it's supposed to be. I didn't feel pity for him, nor sadness. For him, I didn't feel anything at all. He does not have a voice. He starts acting like an asshole, and then he begins being kind of tender towards Aza. That's where his characterization begins and where it ends.
The other characters did not impress me. Aza's and Jason's family are depicted in a particularly realistic way, which I appreciated a lot, but they have very few scene in the book. Captain Zal is a little too stereotypical for my own tastes, but I don't exclude she could gain in terms of characterization in the next instalment.

• The world-building: was I the only one to feel like something was missing? I think that probably some more explanations were needed. I'm not one for info-dump, but if you can't provide all the necessary informations indirectly through the dialogues or so on, maybe you could indulge in some informative passages. For instance, I would have liked to know some things more about Magonia, by whom is it ruled, or how big it is and how can its system work if all that they have come from Earth, how they developed ships able to fly, why they and the Earthens didn't mingle from the beginning, why some Earthens end up living there... I don't know, something. Instead it's like, down there there is Earth, up there there is Magonia, that's all you need to know.
On the other hand, I loved, loved, loved the lungbirds thing. It's kind of poetic, isn't it? You personal bird who sing with you, only with you. Oh, and it dwells in your lung. That may be kind of unsettling, but to me it's still poetic. Yes, I am that morbid.

• The writing style has its ups and downs. I was totally mesmerized by it in some passages, couldn't stand it in others. And I should say that I loathe the use of caps lock in novels and formal writing, so that's another thing that didn't work in favour oh Headley's style, at least for me. But generally speaking, it charmed me.

"If you look at the sky that way, it’s this massive shifting poem, or maybe a letter, first written by one author, and then, when the earth moves, annotated by another. So I stare and stare until, one day, I can read it."

Long story short, despite the many things that didn't fully convinced me, Magonia is still a beautiful, unusual, whimsical and elegant story that will put a spell on your heart.
If I'm going to read the sequel? Absolutely yes.
589 reviews1,029 followers
July 7, 2015
See more reviews at YA Midnight Reads

It's been 3.5 weeks since I've read Magonia and since then I have bought this book for 2 people, recommended it to all of my friends, given away a copy as a Twitter giveaway and broken my book buying ban (that only managed to last 3 days) to buy myself the hardcover of the book. So I guess it's safe to say that I really really like this book.

They weren't kidding when they said that Maria Dahvana Headley's writing is comparable to the works of Neil Gaiman. Because MagoniaThis book had me eating up each and every word.
If you look at the sky that way, it’s this massive shifting poem, or maybe a letter, first written by one author, and then, when the earth moves, annotated by another. So I stare and stare until, one day, I can read it.

Magnolia is about Aza Ray who is slowly dying. What I feared most was for this book to be about a self-pitying girl who would sit in the corner and wallow away about how her life totally sucks. But thank God, this is not that story. No - this is the story about a girl with a peculiar lung disease who soon dies and awakes in a completely new world where she can not only breathe, but also finds herself in the middle of a feud between two worlds. And to top off a completely refreshing story line that plays a lot with mythological aspects, we get an incredibly entertaining main character. Aza Ray is sassy, smart and funny without really trying. She definitely has that dark humour thing going on and I absolutely loved that about her.
I myself have never gotten my period, which I'm actually not too upset about. Postpone the misery, I say. It's because I'm too skinny, and have no luck gaining weight.

Clarification: by "too skinny," I don't mean Sexy Goth Girl in Need of Flowery Dress and Lipstick to Become Girl Who Was Always Secretly Pretty but We Never Saw It till Now. I mean: dead girl walking. Corpse-style skin, and sometimes when I cough, it's way gross. Just saying.

I was very surprised to find out that this book is actually in told in dual POV. While at first I found it really irrelevant for Jason (Aza Ray's best friend and possibly hopefully something else by the end of the book) to have his own chapters, you soon see why it's so necessary for his voice to be present throughout, and I seriously loved it. Jason is one of those really nice and sweet guys who are just so darn reliable and authentic. He's undeniably cute and loved how he was always looking out for Aza, but isn't just stupidly and blindly 'in love' and has no life apart from Aza. The guy has a brain and knows how to use it.

In general, I loved the world that Headley has introduced to us. It's ethereal, magical, and painfully spectacular. I loved the creation of a new Magonian race and the complexity and detail the Headley gave them. This author has an amazing imagination that I truly envy. 

Magonia is definitely not a book you want to be missing. It is certainly going down as one of my top 15 of 2015, and I'm sure it'll make many of your lists as well. Read. This. Book. 

~Thank you HarperCollins Australia for sending me this copy!~

Profile Image for Kristina Horner.
157 reviews1,822 followers
August 17, 2015
This book was confusing.

I really enjoyed the first 100 pages or so, but as soon as "the thing" happens, it all sort of fell apart for me. Those first 100 pages were well paced, witty, fun - but then the story basically changes completely. It dragged, I had a hard time connecting with the new world and new characters, and I'm not sure it all came together for me by the end.

It felt like the book didn't have enough time to become what it was trying to be in the second part, and while the middle dragged, the ending felt incredibly rushed. I zoomed through the beginning, excited about the story, and then struggled through the last 2/3.

It was a weird book. Some may love it, but I don't think it was for me.
Profile Image for Shannon (It Starts At Midnight).
1,189 reviews1,019 followers
April 3, 2015
Well, crap. Here I am again, black sheeping my way through a book that everyone and their mom seems to love. I think this is most likely a case of me being the problem as opposed to the book being the problem. I really just didn't get it.

There were good parts, don't get me wrong. There was even a time when I was really getting into it! Here's how it went down:
The Beginning

So, Aza has some mystery illness that no doctor can figure out and that causes her to have breathing issues. That has to be very difficult. Also difficult is Aza's attitude. But her friend Jason was pretty great, so I stuck with it, even though I was a bit bored. Then I actually started to enjoy their friendship, and the "will they or won't they?" thing, and it started tugging on my feels. There were points that I was in tears over Aza and Jason and her sickness, and other spoilery stuff that I won't mention. Suffice it to say, I was really starting to enjoy the book.

And Then....

Bird people. With giant ships in the sky. The hell?! I just.... couldn't. First of all, I was confused. So, so confused. What are bird people exactly? I was basically picturing a team mascot.

Things in the beginning had moved slow, and then suddenly Aza is a bird person, in this whole new world, and I simply couldn't keep up. And also, it was kind of too weird and I stopped caring.

There were a few things I enjoyed, though. The writing was very pretty, and Jason was fantastic as a character (even though some of the stuff about him was highly unrealistic, his character itself was great). And, some of the stuff at the end was pretty enjoyable, so there's that.

But it seemed rushed in general. There was a lot of stuff crammed into 320 pages, which is probably why I had a hard time connecting to the bird stuff (well, that and the fact that it was bird people flying through the damn sky on big old ships). And I don't know if this was an intended outcome, but as the book wore on, I felt pretty sure that I was being given an environmental lecture? I could be completely off base here, but that's how some things came off.

Bottom Line: This was just not for me, but a lot of people absolutely adored it. There's apparently a sequel, but I don't think I will be partaking. I was fine with how this one ended, and honestly, I can't do anymore bird people.
This review was originally posted on It Starts at Midnight

Profile Image for Elise (On The Bookshelves).
61 reviews383 followers
July 12, 2016
Link To On The Bookshelves Blog Post

“Yes, I’m a reader. Kill me. I could tell you I was raised in the library and the books were my only friends, but I didn’t do that, did I? Because I have mercy. I’m neither a 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.”


Since she was born, Aza Ray has struggled to breathe, talk and even just live thanks to her mysterious lung disease. One day she spots a ship sailing in the sky, and this changes her life forever. When Aza is taken up there to the place they call Magonia, she feels normal, but why? Will Aza choose to stay in Magonia, or with the people she loves back down on earth?

First of all, this book has a beautiful cover, but as they say, looks can be deceiving! This book is very bizarre. When you're not entirely sure how to put your thoughts into words, you know something just isn't right. A few moments were decent, but the majority were utterly confusing. It is such a strange concept overall. Yes, the idea of a world in the sky and ships sailing through the clouds is intriguing, a little reminiscent of the ship scene in the movie Stardust.

Before we head to Magonia, we have the 'just BFF's but don't realise we love each other yet' romance between Aza and Jason. Jason is nerdy/cute, but Aza just falls flat throughout most of the story. It might have to do with the language used and the text formatting in some areas, there just felt like a lack of connection between the reader and protagonist. Oh, and as usual, there seems to be one of those potential love triangles.

Next is Magonia - where the bird-like humans can have birds live inside their chests and then the bird-like humans who can fully turn into birds. Confusing? Yes, it really was. Aza ends up being a lost child of Magonia and can have a bird live inside her chest. The bird helps them to sing and gives them powers, and for Aza, hers are naturally the most powerful they've ever seen.

Headley's writing is very whimsical and at some moments it was nice, but the overall confusion throughout the book utterly decimated the style.

Overall, I would say make your own mind up about the book as it seems as though some people loved it? I'm not completely complaining because this book only cost me $3, but perhaps if I paid for a full priced book I would be crying. A short review because I didn't feel like there was much to say except it was eh and had the effect to cause you to start skim reading.
Profile Image for Lindsay Cummings.
Author 13 books5,103 followers
March 24, 2015
What a fantastic, beautifully written book. MAGONIA is unlike anything else. Wholly original, heartbreaking, exciting and intense, MAGONIA is one of the coolest books I've read in years.

The story begins with Aza Ray, a girl who, much like Hazel from THE FAULT IN OUR STARS, struggles to breathe. But Aza doesn't have cancer. She has an incredibly rare disease, and doctors are baffled by her. Aza doesn't ever feel quite right in the world--and things fast-forward, when she sees a real ship, sailing through the sky.

Aza's family chalks it up to a hallucination. But Aza's best friend, Jason, believes that what she saw truly could be real. When Aza dies, it seems like it's the end.

Until she wakes up in another world. Or, rather (SPOILER) a world in the clouds.

Enter the strangeness of this story. Enter the beauty. Enter the Peter-Pan-Esque-ness of MAGONIA. The world in the clouds truly does exist, and it's full of massive ships whose sailers are covered in feathers. Bird-people and Blue people make up the two races in MAGONIA. Their mission? Sail the skies, creating storms and natural distasters with their magical songs, and in turn, stay hidden while they sail down and steal crops from the human beings on the surface earth.

Aza, apparently, has been to MAGONIA before, though she has no recollection of it. And while her family below on earth thinks she's dead...Jason, Aza's friend, is determined to find her.

Trouble ensues, when Aza tries to decide which world she is most loyal to, where she truly belongs, and of course, there's danger. There's secrets. There's betrayal. There's love.

This book...this book is beautiful. It's wacky, and it's told almost in a poetic, "What-does-this-sentence-even-mean-oh-I-get-it-now" style. Many will love it. Many will be baffled. Whether people devour it, or put it aside, EVERYONE will be talking about MAGONIA. And that's the coolest thing about this story.

I'm on the "In love" side. And I hope that everyone who has a taste for adventure, fantasy, and worlds-apart romance will pick this one up.

I'm dying for it to be a series. PLEASE, Maria Dahvana Headley. I need more.
Profile Image for Melissa.
361 reviews624 followers
June 12, 2017
Review on its way. Whenever I start writing it, though. Which sadly, I wouldn't hold my breathe.
Check out Kimi's review. She says everything I'm thinking a lot more eloquently :D

Dude my body was so not ready for the crap-fest. I don't even know what to say. Just one thing. How can we kill trees to print this? Seriously, this is not a book I'd compromise my air supply for. Nuh-uh.


Buddyread with my dear Damon thief, Kimanna, that's Kimi to all you other people!
Profile Image for Heidi The Reader.
1,388 reviews1,470 followers
February 14, 2018
Aza Ray Boyle can't breathe. It seems like she has always been sick- inexplicably short of breath and weak.

This continuous illness has made her always feel different from the people around her. But, perhaps, there are stranger and more exotic reasons why she is different. Ones that Aza can't even imagine...

Jason is Aza's dearest friend. They are so close that they almost speak their own language.

He realizes there is more to Aza than meets the eye. How will Jason handle it when he discovers the shocking truth?

This young adult fantasy is weird, but I enjoyed it.

That's probably because I read a lot of weird, non-fiction. The story of Magonia, a world in the sky above the every day world which we know, has shown up in some of those books.

One of those books, Passport to Magonia: On UFOs, Folklore, and Parallel Worlds, captured my imagination.

That book recounts an incident where a bunch of villagers were holding church service and they heard a crash outside. They went to investigate the noise and discovered what appeared to be a ship anchor attached to the roof of their church. It was connected to, this just blows my mind, a ship in the sky. This supposedly happened in 1211 AD.

The astonishing thing about Passport to Magonia is it has pages and pages of stories like that, eyewitness accounts of bizarre ships, people, and incidents concerning people from the sky. And they all actually happened, reportedly.

I remember thinking that an author needed to get her hands on these stories and turn it into something fantastic. Maria Dahvana Headley used a different source material than the book that I read, but does a good job bringing a mysterious blip in history to life.

She has the ability to interweave actual events with fantasy fiction story lines so that the two begin to blur in the reader's mind.

I read Headley's first book Queen of Kings years ago and I remember being struck by its originality.

Headley took Cleopatra's life and turned it into a vampire story. It sounds sort of silly described that way, (oh, ANOTHER vampire story) but it is actually rather fun.

I had read Margaret George's The Memoirs of Cleopatra shortly before Queen of Kings so I had a pretty good idea of the actual story of the Egyptian queen.

Back to this book, Magonia isn't going to appeal to everyone.

I was, at first, rather turned off by the uber-intellectual back and forth conversations of the main characters- Jason and Aza.

I think, since the mega success of John Green's The Fault in Our Stars, authors make their teenage protagonists so brainy and well-spoken, it is just unbelievable.

I mean, it's been awhile, but I remember high school. My peers and I were lucky if we could string two cogent sentences together, let alone present verbal dissertations on the meaning of pi.

Anyway, once I was able to look past their flowery repartee, I got really into the story.

Headley paints a magical and dangerous world.

If you enjoyed Magonia, you may also enjoy The Mermaid's Sister or Under the Empyrean Sky. Both are young adult novels and take place in fantasy worlds that are so close to the world we know, but different in surprising ways.
Profile Image for Neil (or bleed).
982 reviews749 followers
September 23, 2015
I am lost of words to describe how magical, astonishing, beautiful and original this book was. I mean, I can say Magonia is beautiful but it is more than that. It is like all my favorite things are in one place and I am glued to the ground, seeing and feeling them. It's like I am releasing bright lights that made me glowing.

The first time I saw that cover, I knew in myself that a great reading experience is coming on my way. And I wasn't wrong. Magonia may not be a perfect book but it took me to a wonderful place, a wonderful journey. And for me it is one of the books that gave me the feeling how fun, enjoyable and euphoric reading is.
Profile Image for Maja (The Nocturnal Library).
1,013 reviews1,920 followers
April 24, 2015
Oh, Magonia, you strange, strange book, it’s going to take me months to decipher you.

Magonia by Maria Dahvana Headley has so many things going for it, I’m not even sure where to begin. It’s a book that simply refuses to be compared or classified; even determining its genre is proving to be impossible. It’s a delightful combination of science fiction, fantasy, and even dystopia, and it easily balances the three, never allowing one to overtake the others.

Headley brings us a previously unexplored story of flying ships and sky sailors. She took a fairly unknown story from the 9th century, used it to her best advantage, and breathed something wholly new and original into it for good measure. The final result is magical: a cloud realm, bird people, sky pirates and magical songs, all combined to create a book unlike anything I’ve ever read before.

Headley writing style is lyrical and gorgeous. There have been many comparisons to Laini Taylor and Neil Gaiman, and they aren’t entirely exaggerated or wrong. But I must say that in this too, she gives us something that’s entirely her own. Her understanding and use of language to create or dispel tension, to project moods and atmosphere, is simply astonishing.

The story is told from two points of view, and both Aza and Jason are amazing characters. Intelligent, resourceful, geeky, unusual, and loyal, they’ve depended on each other for pretty much everything since they were five years old. When they get separated, Jason’s point of view becomes more than just welcome – it becomes necessary to understand his part of the story, but it also strengthens the emotional tension and offers us an insight into his peculiar and understanding nature.

There were times when Aza’s second world became a bit overwhelming. Although it doesn’t seem that way, probably thanks to Headley’s unusual writing style, the pacing is pretty fast and it sometimes doesn’t give us enough time to process. I’m usually in favor of losing extra chapters and paragraphs, but this book would have benefited from an extra fifty or hundred pages. With such a marvelous worldbuilding, Headley should have allowed herself to use it to its full potential, which I don’t think she’s done.

The ending of Magonia is very satisfactory, but there is much room for a sequel. There hasn’t been an announcement so far, at least I wasn’t able to find one, but I sincerely hope that there’s a second book in the works because this world has so much more to give.

Profile Image for Taylor.
767 reviews422 followers
July 19, 2015

I was so excited to read this book. The concept sounded so good and I knew I needed this book in my life. I was so excited and pumped, I didn't stop to think that I might not like this book as much as I thought I would. I should have calmed down before starting this book because after 50 pages, I felt like I would drown in my disappointment.

Right away, the tone of this book caught me off guard. The main character was so snarky and I was not expecting that. At first, I was really on board with Aza and her attitude but after 40 pages, I couldn't take it much more. There's a fine line between good snarky attitude and just being a brat. I felt like Aza was just a brat. I wanted to tell her to just chill out for a second. I think the hardest part is I wouldn't be friends with Aza if she was real. I think that's a really important quality for characters to have. If I can't relate to the main character (which I didn't with Aza) then I want to be able to feel like we would be friends. I didn't feel any of that with Aza. Granted, I did think she got better though out the book but the damage was already done.

I did really like the writing though. It was really well written.
I could go on and on about how much I love the concept of this book. It's so unlike anything I've read before and that aspect of the blew my mind.

Overall, I liked everything about this book except the main character. I just couldn't relate to her or connect to her. I feel like it's more of a personal opinion than something actually "wrong" with the book. I'm definitely going to be rereading this book (because I'm determined to love it) but as of right now, I'm not really digging it.
Profile Image for Giselle.
1,057 reviews907 followers
March 31, 2016
An Electronic Advanced Reader Copy was provided by the publisher via Edelweiss for review.

DNF'd at 47%.. Highly creative with magical flying ships and bird people who sing their way through chores, I thought Magonia had all the bare bones for a great novel, but I just didn't care about the characters as I would have liked. They would ramble way too much to the point where my eyes would glaze over. I'm guessing this is supposed to be relevant but I just grew bored with their rambles. Not only does Aza the main character ramble, but Jason her best friend and the other point of view did too. Not to say I don't respect the quirky imaginations of these two characters, I'm just saying they weren't for me. I'm sure the story would have picked up and I'm sure there's a lot more to be said within Aza's new journey (especially with apparently sexy Dai) but I found it to be too weird for me.
September 1, 2015

"You hold no horrors for me."

I'm not guna lie....this book is weird. Beyond weird. And it is what I would normally say was 'too out there, for me.' But, once again, a little birdie told me how amazing it was and hell, here I am again adding another favorite to my list. I think it's safe to say that no amount of weirdness could have quelled my instant, butterfly-induced reaction to Jason and Aza's heartbreaking friendship from the very beginning of this story. It was instantaneous, the visceral reaction I had to this guy, and very rarely do I fall so hard, so quick, for a dude. I mean, come on, they generally have to work a little bit for my affections. But, this book, breaking all of my carefully placed rules and guidelines, broke the barrier and became an instant-I need to re-read this immediately story, and, for that, I will never forget it.

I never thought this would happen.
I thought this would probably happen.
I knew this was coming.
I didn't see this coming.


While I don't feel like I should say much, seeing as I don't really know what all people are supposed to know, I have to comment on the two main characters and the attachment they have to one another. Being an outsider, Aza didn't have many friends growing up. She has a rare disease they can't even put a name to because no one else has it. Well, okay then. So, one day when little boy Jason meets little girl Aza, he knows he MUST meet her, despite being a bitey, mean specimen of a girl. I think it was this moment (Eh, okay, I loved him before but...) when I truly knew how much I loved Jason and Aza's relationship. He knew he had to know her, and what followed after are years of amazing and adorable friendship. They speak in their own special way (as friends tend to do) and don't care what anyone thinks of them, and it was beautiful to see the support he gave her. And omg- The way they just know...God I love it.

I feel bitey. He should believe me. He's the person who always believes me. I count on him to be my primary enabler of Vivid Imagination.

 photo tumblr_msjpm0U4Yz1sfdd54o1_500_zps8n8obimv.gif

Another thing I absolutely adored was Aza's unique voice. Being inside her head was just so funny. Every minute had me laughing or smiling because, I'll say it, she's abrupt and rude and, frankly, a bitch. But I loved this. She had so much snark and such a funny way of talking about her condition that it really just spoke to me and made it impossible for me to put the book down. One minute I was obsessed with Jason, but when he wasn't around, I adored her voice, as well. This was just such a fun and different read, and I cannot wait to re-read this story again, in spite of the weirdness that ensued in the middle.

Bang, bang, you're dead. Close your eyes and go to bed.

And that's another thing. Right when I got to the middle, I lost all of my reading time. It was dreadful, and it horribly effected the story-Reading 10% at a time, with such a short book, is terribly distracting. And this is a lot of the reason why I MUST read this again soon. Too many wonderful (and not so wonderful) things happened that I felt betrayed by my own lack of time because I couldn't give the story my full focus...this is one of my pet peeves, but, for once, I really mean it and will fulfill my statement when I say that I will be reading this again very, very soon.

I know that's trite. Yes, I'm a reader. Kill me. I could tell you I was raised in the library and the books were my only friends, but I didn't do that, did I? Because I have mercy. I'm neither a 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.

So, yeah, I could go on and on and on about wild and weird things, but it would defeat the purpose of what I'm trying to do here-create an heir of mystery. Now, if you don't like to stray into fantasy very much, I really wouldn't read this story. While Jason and Aza's relationship and the things that happened were enough to counteract the weird, for me, it might not be the same for you. Because...Birds. Yeah. So. Make a wise decision when you pick this one up. Nothing aggravates me more than someone saying they hated a book they damn well knew was going to be different-These people have only themselves to blame-plenty of people said this was odd, and you have been warned thusly.

No one asked ME when the lab published a paper in Nature and gave this disease my name. I would've said no. I'd like to have named my disease myself: the Jackass, or maybe something ugly, such as Elmer or Clive.

Now, I don't know how I can so easily skirt around a subject and talk about a whole lot of nothing, but I sure as hell did it. So, pick this one up, don't pick it up, just know, the writing is fresh and fun and the story is funny while being incredibly bizarre and a little bit heart-breaking. In a word?? It was wonderful.

For more of my reviews, please visit:
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Profile Image for Joanna .
457 reviews83 followers
March 4, 2017
Updated review and star rating March 3 2017. Dropped rating from 2 stars to 1 star.

This book took me an incredibly long time to read and it was painful to do so as well. I pretty much made myself finish this book even though I seriously considered putting it in my DNF pile.

Honestly the most moving part of the whole book was from page 305-309. Really very beautiful and touching. Otherwise this book was just a jumble. I didn't like any of the characters. The MC was always awkward and left in the dark about a lot of issues. Her male best friend was a bit obsessive and moody which I could partially understand due to the situation but still it left a sour note in my mouth. Aside from the lack lustre characters the writing and world building were not that great. Even after finishing the book, I am still unsure of the reason why the main character was on Earth in the first place. There is just so much inconsistency in the plot and the world building and it's dressed up in overly flowery language. I mean what was the point?

I really dislike when a book aims to be pretentious. It's a real turn off and so I'm not going to continue with this series. Thank goodness I only borrowed this from the library cause I was going to buy it for the cover. A lesson learned for me and for all of us easily swayed by a beautiful book cover. Sometimes not everything that shines is gold.

Profile Image for Rose.
1,879 reviews1,065 followers
January 21, 2016
Quick review for a quick read. Dude, I didn't know what I was getting myself into when I picked up Maria Dahvana Headley's "Magonia". Suffice to say, I'm quite impressed by it. I really didn't expect it to be this emotionally invested, intense, and imaginative read. Totally ended up enjoying the journey it took me on and it's one of those stories that will stick out in my mind for a long time to come. I mean, the closest of a comparison that I can make of "Magonia" to anything I've seen or read is the anime/manga series Rahxephon, but that's notably because of the power of the protagonists with song/singing and their "special" roles/identities in their societies, but even then, it's not that close. It takes on a very different mythos than what is commonly found in YA fantasy. (And thank goodness for that, because it's a breath of fresh air creativity wise. Why can't more YA books be like this?!)

There were moments where I really connected with the emotional intensity of Aza's experiences. From her lifelong battle of unexplained illness to being separated from those she loves in what seems like a permanent capacity. Also finding herself in a completely different identity and realm with choices she has to make in terms of the role she plays and the loyalties she shows. There are some caveats to it though, where the emotion has moments when it feels like it overpresses the point a bit too much for the given context, but I could say that I could palpate it and see why Aza reacts the way she does. Her voice is genuine, if a bit rocky to start before it starts smoothing out over the course of events in the novel. Jason was a nice alternate perspective, and I'm glad this book never hit the insta-love button or made the romance feel so out of place that it took over the story. I'm definitely very happy to see a YA fantasy that prominently focuses on the otherworldly elements, the action, the overarching conflict and relationships and takes the mythos and turns it into something that has the chance to shine on its own and prominently in the story. Though, if I could give a critique of it - there are certain aspects of the world depiction that seemed to me like they skimmed the surface and didn't quite immerse me as much as I hoped it would. I think I understood the world of Magonia and the skyships and rituals/beliefs that were depicted to a degree here, but there were details that still felt like they needed fleshing out.

I honestly can't take away from what was offered here, though. I didn't want to put this book down when I picked it up and found myself marathoning at a breakneck pace through the audiobook (brilliantly narrated by Therese Plummer and Michael Crouch. Plummer might get a nod for my favorite female narration this year because her depiction of Aza was spot on.) I know that I want to read more in this world and feel like I'm invested in the characters and their journeys to see where they go from here - so I'm definitely on board for the next book in this series.

Overall score: 4/5 stars
Profile Image for Kathe L.
181 reviews95 followers
May 3, 2015
4,5 stars, maybe?


This is so hard to write. You know those days when you just read? I read, easily, 4 hours straight plus all the other hours that I wasn't eating today. Because this book, oh man. This book demands your full attention and your full time. It's a book that starts in an unpredictable way and turns your world upside down.

"In some on the old stories (...), the patterns of the stars form letters. Celestial alphabets. Writing that gets rewritten as the earth moves. If you look at the sky that way, it's this massive shifting poem, or maybe a letter, first written by one author, and then, when the earth moves, annotated by another. So I stare and stare until, one day, I can read it."

This quote, this writing, the sequel of things that happen. I won't say what this is about. The first thing I thought was: "what a weird book." But this is as good as weird goes. It's weird because it was something new to me, because it was unpredictable and because it took me some time to get used to it, but then, when I did, I was reading each word with hurry and fear and attention.

"People actually, amazingly, think we're normal teenagers in love."

The characters? There's Aza and Jason, and they completely owned my heart. This year is bringing me a lot of book boyfriends. I thought after Jazz I wouldn't be amazed at another character, but no. Jason was a boy who made me suffer alongside him. And he was just so cute and perfect, he owned me from the very first scene with Aza. And Aza? She was just so incredibly different from every character I've ever read about! She is fierce, loving, brave. She has a way with words that makes her unique. She has a caring heart, most important of all. And to have this book in both POV's? Usually, I have a favorite POV but these two point of views were so important to the story that I got excited over any of them. Why did I finish this so quickly, you can guess. The first POV from Jason completely broke my heart, though.

-> I hated some character with all my being, though.
-> There's sort of a love triangle that isn't quite a threat, but it's confusing.
-> This book will make you miss something when you finish it.
-> It is full of new discoveries.
-> Magonia ruined me for other fantasy books.

What a strange name is Magonia, I thought yesterday when I picked this up. And is it fantasy? Is it romance? Is a combination of both, but a book that it's unlike everything you've ever read. This book is the type of book that could have been a complete win for me or a complete disaster. It's about magic, family, morals. Friendship, love. How can I read other fantasy books after this? It will be very, very hard. Surely, this is one of the books that surprised me the most this year because I didn't expect it to be this great. Maybe it is the magic of it, though.

"There was no way I could live another moment without Aza Ray knowing my name."

Jason, Jason, Jason, be still my heart <3 Fantasy fans out there, try this one. It's different, unique, weird, charming. Charming is definitely the best word to describe it. All in all, I couldn't be happier I spent my afternoon with this book. And that's the best feeling, right?
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