Monday, July 20, 2015

Review: Magonia by Maria Dahvana Headley

Title: Magonia
Author: Maria Dahvana Headley
Publication Date:  April 28th, 2015
Publisher: Harper
Source: Won in Giveaway
Where to find: Goodreads / Amazon / Book Depository
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.

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?
“I know people die. I know that when people die, the people they leave behind always think something insane happened, because death, by its nature, feels insane. It's part of how humans have always dealt with dying, as though it's somehow special, as though every person who dies is a hero. We want to die spectacularly, not just "perish"” - pg. 80
I heard a lot of good things about this book, especially with respect to the writing. Personally, I have conflicting thoughts. On the one hand, the writing of this book was absolutely stunning. Maria Dahvana Headley crafted this amazing world using beautiful writing. From the beginning of the book I was pulled in and want to see what happened. I also really appreciated how informal the writing style was and how the book added certain styles and text to add to the storyline. That being said, I was also incredibly disappointed by how much this story dragged. I loved the first third or so of the book, but then I was completely bored with it and did not care as much about what was happening. I still enjoyed the writing, but did not care for the story at all.

Obviously, I have two very polarizing thoughts about this book. But for me, it is the writing that continues to amaze me. Even though I was not a huge fan of the plot, I still greatly appreciated how the story was told. There were many times where I would forget that this was a fantasy world with this made up world of ships in the air and birds and singing. Then I would be reminded about just how different this world is from our own. I think one of my main problems plot wise with this book other than the dragging was the lack of answers. A lot of time was spent explaining this world and what it meant to be Magonian, but I had so many other questions about the world and the outcome of the events that unfolded.

I think I also I struggled to relate to the characters. I was pleasant surprised that this was a dual-perspective of both Aza and Jason. I appreciated the added knowledge we gained from Aza's perspective with Magonia and Jason's perspective still on land. But other than that, I felt no attachment to the characters and what they were going through.

Luckily, it looks like there will be a sequel to this book so hopefully all of my lingering questions will be addressed. I look forward to this sequel because of how much I loved the beautiful writing and the style of the story. Hopefully with another book the plot will be stronger since less world building will be necessary.

What are your thoughts on the book?

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