By Maria Davhana Headley
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 book has one of the most beautiful covers I’ve ever seen. Every time I would see a review for this book, it would remind me that I wanted to read it, if only because the cover is so striking. It finally came up as a Kindle deal so I was able to grab a copy of it.
Magonia wasn’t anything like I was expecting, but that isn’t a bad thing. It was billed as Neil Gaiman meets John Green and it is certainly reminiscent of The Fault in Our Stars (Green) and Stardust (Gaiman). Though the actual style of the writing reminded me more of a cross between John Green and Tahereh Mafi.
I really liked how Aza’s illness was tied into her being Magonian and her lungs being more set up like a bird’s. I also liked how the knowledge about Magonia was plucked out of actual historical references. I liked that Jason, a main character in a YA novel, suffers from anxiety. And I loved the relationship between Aza and Jason.
On the one hand ,I feel like this book would make a great movie. On the other hand, I’m not sure I could watch a movie populated with half-bird people and blue people who have birds flying out of their chests without laughing. Even reading that was a little ridiculous.
Overall, this was a fun and exciting book that kept me reading and not wanting to leave the iPad at home in case I had a few minutes to read a little more. There’s apparently a sequel to this novel that just came out. Advanced reviewers seem to say either they liked it a lot less or a lot more than the first one. Hoping the sequel comes up on Kindle deal soon so I can get it!