Magonia by Maria Dahvana Headley (review)

April 15, 2015 All Reviews, Fantasy, Paranormal, YA 2 ★★

Magonia by Maria Dahvana Headley (review)Magonia by Maria Dahvana Headley
Published by HarperCollins on April 28th 2015
Number of Pages: 320
Genres: Adventure, Fantasy, Paranormal, Romance, Young Adult
Source: Won
Format: ARC
Purchase: At Amazon

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 won this book in a giveaway over at On Starships And Dragonwings. As it is an Advanced Reader Copy, some things may have changed in the final version.


The cover is gorgeous, and the description of the book sounded really good. Unfortunately, those were some of the best parts of the book. The main character, Aza, I think was supposed to come off as a bit snarky, a bit ironic. But mostly she sounded like a whiny emo brat to me. I just found it really difficult to like her at all.

Her best friend Jason on the other hand, I did like. And so of course he had a fairly small part. The book is told mostly from Aza’s point of view, with a few scattered chapters told from Jason’s. Some of the things Jason was able to do and accomplish, came off as unbelievable, but he was still a more interesting and engaging character than Aza was.

The beginning of the book dragged for me, and then there were some really fast areas, and then more dragging. Also as others have mentioned… Bird People. I think they could have been described a little better/more. I was never quite sure if they had wings and hands, or if the hands were somehow attached to the tops of the wings, or maybe meshed in with the feathers somehow? All I could picture in my head was Big Bird walking around as various bird types, and doing sailor jobs on flying ships.

I would have been fine with them if they were part humanoid, part bird. Or looked like people and had bird attributes or something. But it made no sense to me why they’d be a ‘normal’ bird and normal bird-size one moment, and then decide to grow to person-size and work on the ships.

It also seemed like we were being preached at about the environment. People are bad because of x-thing, and they need to be taught a lesson.

All in all, it was not what I was expecting from the summary.


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2 Responses to “Magonia by Maria Dahvana Headley (review)”

    • SilvaraWilde

      I was sad too! It sounded so good and then I started reading it and just couldn’t click at all with the main character. And I just couldn’t wrap my head around the bird people. They were birds the size of people, acting like people and it just didn’t work for me. Had they been more humanoid with just bird attributes like feathers and maybe some mannerism quirks, that wouldn’t have bothered me at all. I just couldn’t figure out why birds would want to be sailors in an airship when they can fly and all. *shrugs*

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