Review: Magonia, Maria Dahvana Headley

April 28, 2015 Reviews 2 ★★★★½

Review: Magonia, Maria Dahvana HeadleyMagonia by Maria Dahvana Headley
Published by HarperCollins on April 2015
Genres: Fantasy, Romance, Young Adult
Pages: 320
Source: Edelweiss
Amazon • Amazon UK • Book Depository

Neil Gaiman’s Stardust meets John Green’s The Fault in Our Stars in this fantasy about a girl caught between two worlds... two races…and two destinies.

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?

This is Philippa and Angelya’s joint audio review for Maria Dahvana Headley’s new debut fantasy book, Magonia. The review is an extract from episode 24 of Tea in the Treetops Podcast, originally recorded on April 26, 2015.

This is a spoiler-free review.

You can find links to all our podcast episodes on the main podcast page.

Quotes from the review:

P: “There were parts of this that I really loved and then here were parts where I was really “Meh.”

A: “The idea of cloudwhales flying by, raining lightly on the land below – I was transported. I loved it!”

A: “Almost written in a journal style with plenty of teen language like ‘I can’t even'”

P: “A beautifully written story”

P: “Trying to replicate John Green’s writing style”

A: “Felt a bit short for an epic fantasy. There was very promising world building but then just sort of ended.”

A: “Very tense action sequences.”

P: “The transition between the two sections of the book didn’t really work. It drew me out of the fantasy… it was unbelievable.”

A: “The magic comes from singing but there was no real explanation as to where Aza’s power comes from.”

P: “I really liked the characters on Earth, but I felt no connection to the Magonians… Aza was better off sick on Earth.”

A: “If you like the sound of airships hidden in the skies of Earth, and bird people who can sing to do magic, who drown if they go down to earth in the thicker air…”

Angelya’s rating: four-half-stars – I loved it! Whimsical and very imaginitive, I really enjoyed reading this book.

Philippa’s rating: two-half-stars – I’m really torn on this book and can’t decide on my final rating. Might be higher than this! I do’t want to say don’t read it – the author has a lot of promise.

Anni lives in Brisbane, Australia with her young family. She loves everything fantasy and science fiction and believes sleep is really very underrated.

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