Review: Magonia (Magonia, #1) by Maria Dahvana Headley [Mild Spoilers]



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

(Source: Goodreads)


In Magonia, Aza Ray Boyle suffers from a mysterious lung disease that means she can’t breathe properly. When she sees a ship in the clouds one day, everyone around her thinks it must a side effect of her medication, and the only one who listens is her best friend Jason. Then the thing they have all been fearing happens and Aza is lost to her family, only to find herself in a new world above the clouds. Here, in Magonia, she can finally breathe and finds that she actually has power. But as she starts to learn how to navigate this new world of ships in the sky, she also has to decide where her loyalties lie.

It starts out with a fairly slow beginning and middle part, but once the real action started, I pretty much couldn’t put it down before I had finished. I really loved the way Headley plays with words, and turns little parts of the text into visual poetry. It really added to the text for me and fit the prose very well.

Aza was an interesting main character, and I liked her from the start, but it was great to see Jason’s perspective on some things as well. I could relate to both of them, and they definitely helped me get through some of the parts I struggled with while reading. 

A problem I had was that as interesting as I thought the world building was, I just kept thinking of the sky pirates in The Edge Chronicles (of which I have admittedly only read one book, and that a long time ago). Even though I tried not to do that, my mind kept going back to the visuals of that series. But apart from that I think the world building was really interesting and I really enjoyed it.

The plot itself suffered a bit from how little everyone told Aza. Headley only tells us what either Aza, or Jason know, and neither of them knows a lot about anything to do with Magonia. Essentially I felt like a lot of the information we get is just the fact that “weird weather phenomena = Magonia” over and over again, and all in all we know very little about actual life in Magonia.

In the end I decided that I will read the second book once it comes out, but only because I was so dissatisfied with the amount of information I got, and because I’d like to know more about Magonia than i do now, because it feels like a really great and interesting place, but the novel just never really got there for me. So all in all I just hope the second book does some of this at least a little better than the first, because I think it could be really great if it just lived up to its potential. It gets 3.5/5 stars from me, which I’m rounding to 4 on Goodreads for now,  because I feel like it’s tending a little more towards 4 than 3 (all pending my opinon of the second book).

Rating: ★★★1/2☆☆

Additional Information

Publication Date: 28 April 2015
Publisher: HarperCollins
Page Count: 320
Genre: YA, Fantasy
ISBN: 9780062391674


2 thoughts on “Review: Magonia (Magonia, #1) by Maria Dahvana Headley [Mild Spoilers]

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