Friday, July 10, 2015

Review: MAGONIA by Maria Dahvana Headley

Title: Magonia
Author: Maria Dahvana Headley
Series: Untitled #1 (Magonia?)

Summary: 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. 

Onluy 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? 

Why I read it: It was touted as a standalone fantasy, so it was the perfect book to take on vacation!

Thoughts: First of all, this is so NOT a standalone. There will be a sequel next year. It is a duology. DO NOT read this thinking it is a standalone. Just don't do it.

Okay. Now, with that out of the way, I really enjoyed this book.

I adored both Aza and Jason. Once Aza is introduced to Magonia, it was so interesting to learn more about the world in the sky, and figure out how Aza fits into it. And when we got Jason's POV, I loved him ten times more. Jason is infinitely quirky, and I loved that about him.

The side characters really rounded out the world, both on the ground and in the sky, in Magonia. The other Magonians that Aza meets and gets to know are all unique, both in appearance and in personality, and I appreciate that. On Earth, both Aza and Jason's families were perfect. They are both supportive and understanding of their children, and it was so heartwarming to see that in a YA, where so many parents are absent or uncaring.

As far as the plot goes, I can't say much without delving into spoilers. The book is pretty short, but a lot happens and it's all packed into a short space. There is a lot of world-building that happens in this book, as well, because halfway through the book we're thrust into Magonia without much explanation. We learn about Magonia alongside Aza, and there's never an info dump. We're given pieces of information very deliberately and slowly, keeping the mystery alive for almost the entire book. And at the moment everything finally comes together, the climax happens and it is so intense that I almost didn't breathe for several pages.

The book was a little short for my taste, but it wouldn't bother me as much if I had known going into it that there would be a sequel. It was marketed as a standalone, but believe me. Once you get to that last page, you know there's no way it could be. And sure enough, the author has confirmed that there will be a sequel next year. If I had known that from the beginning, I'm sure I would have enjoyed this book much more. As it was, the closer I got to the end, the more annoyed I was, because I thought, How can this possibly get wrapped up in these few last pages? It diminished my enjoyment of the book slightly.

Also, as much as I enjoyed Aza as a character, I didn't feel for her as much as I did Jason. Maybe it was, once again, the fault of the short length, but I didn't connect to her emotionally as much as I could have.

I definitely recommend reading it, though. It's wholly original and insanely creative. And I will definitely be picking up the sequel next year!

Rating: 4/5 stars

Tell me: have YOU read this book yet? What were your thoughts? Let me know in the comments below!

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