Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Magonia by Maria Dahvana Headley Review


Magonia by Maria Dahvana
Hardcover, 309 pages 
Published by HarperCollins, 
an imprint of HarperCollinsPublishers 
Rating: 3.5/5 Stars

Synopsis: 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?

 Since she was born, Aza Ray has had a rare lung disease that has kept her from breathing normally. For her entire life, she has always been a scientific mystery—lucky to have lived past the age of two. But as her disease slowly progresses, she begins to see ships flying in the sky that literally call out her name. Confused and terrified, she initially thinks that she is experiencing hallucinations, but when she discovers the magical world of Magonia, she realizes that her so-called hallucinations are anything but. In the sky, Aza can feel her newly discovered powers brewing within her. However, Magonia and Earth are not on friendly terms, and Aza is stuck between the two.

Magonia is like no other book I've read before, with whimsical and unique elements of fantasy that take you into an amazing world of flying ships and songs that can turn stone to ice. The characters will sweep you into their world through their strong voices and personalities, and the way the author weaves the history into the story feels natural and true. The only thing that keeps me from loving Magonia is the writing style. While some people may like it for its uniqueness, I found this stuff: [{(  )}], &&&, !!!, OMG, and the constant rows of the number Pi (written out) to be extremely annoying. Aside from this, I would still recommend reading this book.


Strengths/Likes: 

1) Guys, the plot here in this book is super original! I can't really think of any books that I've read (or heard of!) that are even remotely similar to this, which is great (unless you count Hayao Miyazaki's Castle In The Sky, but that's an animated movie). 


2) The world-building of Magonia was just—WHOA. The author intricately built up and worked out all of the fantastical elements of Magonia—down to its history, details about the society, social classes, and culture. On top of that, even the ecosystem is altered to include: batsails, stormsharks, squallwhales, lungbirds, and heartbirds—some of which can physically enter a Magonian's body—simply to enhance their singing skills. 


3) I truly enjoyed Aza’s personality. She was sarcastic, sassy, intelligent, and brave. In addition, her relationships with her family, as well as with her best friend Jason, all felt well-rounded and natural.  


Weaknesses/Dislikes: 

1) I didn't enjoy the writing style of this book. I felt like the author was trying to be creative, but to me, it just came off confusing and irritating. Often times, words were mashed together, things were repeated multiple times unnecessarily, and there was a lot of this happening randomly: [{(   )}], &&&, and !!! … To me this was a huge weakness, and it greatly detracted from the book as a whole. 


 Favorite Quotes/Moments: 

1) “I read stuff. Books are not my only friends, but we’re friendly. So there.” 

2) “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.” 

3) “It felt like she took off running without me. Her fingers clenched on mine. Then relaxed, like she’d lost all her bones.”  


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