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BOOK REVIEW: Magonia by Maria Dahvana Headley

BOOK REVIEW: Magonia by Maria Dahvana HeadleyMagonia by Maria Dahvana Headley
Purchase on: AmazoniBooks
Book Depository
Add to: Goodreads

Synopsis:

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?

 

“You hold no horrors for me.”

I’m not guna lie….this book is weird. Beyond weird. And it is what I would normally say was ‘too out there, for me.’ But, once again, a little birdie told me how amazing it was and hell, here I am again adding another favorite to my list. I think it’s safe to say that no amount of weirdness could have quelled my instant, butterfly-induced reaction to Jason and Aza’s heartbreaking friendship from the very beginning of this story. It was instantaneous, the visceral reaction I had to this guy, and very rarely do I fall so hard, so quick, for a dude. I mean, come on, they generally have to work a little bit for my affections. But, this book, breaking all of my carefully placed rules and guidelines, broke the barrier and became an instant-I need to re-read this immediately story, and, for that, I will never forget it.

I never thought this would happen.
I thought this would probably happen.
I knew this was coming.
I didn’t see this coming.

-Jason

While I don’t feel like I should say much, seeing as I don’t really know what all people are supposed to know, I have to comment on the two main characters and the attachment they have to one another. Being an outsider, Aza didn’t have many friends growing up. She has a rare disease they can’t even put a name to because no one else has it. Well, okay then. So, one day when little boy Jason meets little girl Aza, he knows he MUST meet her, despite being a bitey, mean specimen of a girl. I think it was this moment (Eh, okay, I loved him before but…) when I truly knew how much I loved Jason and Aza’s relationship. He knew he had to know her, and what followed after are years of amazing and adorable friendship. They speak in their own special way (as friends tend to do) and don’t care what anyone thinks of them, and it was beautiful to see the support he gave her. And omg-His note to her. I { } you more than ((([ ])))) The way they just know…God I love it.

I feel bitey. He should believe me. He’s the person who always believes me. I count on him to be my primary enabler of Vivid Imagination.

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Another thing I absolutely adored was Aza’s unique voice. Being inside her head was just so funny. Every minute had me laughing or smiling because, I’ll say it, she’s abrupt and rude and, frankly, a bitch. But I loved this. She had so much snark and such a funny way of talking about her condition that it really just spoke to me and made it impossible for me to put the book down. One minute I was obsessed with Jason, but when he wasn’t around, I adored her voice, as well. This was just such a fun and different read, and I cannot wait to re-read this story again, in spite of the weirdness that ensued in the middle.

Bang, bang, you’re dead. Close your eyes and go to bed.

And that’s another thing. Right when I got to the middle, I lost all of my reading time. It was dreadful, and it horribly effected the story-Reading 10% at a time, with such a short book, is terribly distracting. And this is a lot of the reason why I MUST read this again soon. Too many wonderful (and not so wonderful) things happened that I felt betrayed by my own lack of time because I couldn’t give the story my full focus…this is one of my pet peeves, but, for once, I really mean it and will fulfill my statement when I say that I will be reading this again very, very soon.

I know that’s trite. Yes, I’m a reader. Kill me. I could tell you I was raised in the library and the books were my only friends, but I didn’t do that, did I? Because I have mercy. I’m neither a genius nor a kid destined to become a wizard. I’m just me. I read stuff. Books are not my only friends, but we’re friendly. So there.

So, yeah, I could go on and on and on about wild and weird things, but it would defeat the purpose of what I’m trying to do here-create an heir of mystery. Now, if you don’t like to stray into fantasy very much, I really wouldn’t read this story. While Jason and Aza’s relationship and the things that happened were enough to counteract the weird, for me, it might not be the same for you. Because…Birds. Yeah. So. Make a wise decision when you pick this one up. Nothing aggravates me more than someone saying they hated a book they damn well knew was going to be different-These people have only themselves to blame-plenty of people said this was odd, and you have been warned thusly.

No one asked ME when the lab published a paper in Nature and gave this disease my name. I would’ve said no. I’d like to have named my disease myself: the Jackass, or maybe something ugly, such as Elmer or Clive.

Now, I don’t know how I can so easily skirt around a subject and talk about a whole lot of nothing, but I sure as hell did it. So, pick this one up, don’t pick it up, just know, the writing is fresh and fun and the story is funny while being incredibly bizarre and a little bit heart-breaking. In a word?? It was wonderful.

 

BOOK REVIEW – Magonia by Maria Dahvana Headley

BOOK REVIEW – Magonia by Maria Dahvana HeadleyMagonia by Maria Dahvana Headley
Purchase on: AmazoniBooks
Book Depository
Add to: Goodreads

Synopsis:

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?

“Did he just say stormsharks? My inner nerd is elated. Can anything I will ever hear from now until the end of time sound cooler than stormsharks?”

FUCK YEAH. That’s exactly what I was wondering, and damn, how awesome is that, tell me? Let’s clear the air right away : Magonia is unlike anything I read before. Ever.

This being said, I genuinely think that everything you need to know about the plot can be found in the blurb, and I would hate to spoil your read with too many details. That’s why a list review it is.

✔ Don’t get fooled by the blurb : Aza is a sassy, snarky and … yes, sometimes infuriating heroine who won me from page one despite the know-it-all vibes she spreads at some point. Actually, she says it herself :

“But I ask you, wouldn’t it be worse if I were perfect? My imperfections make me less mournable.”

This is Aza for you. An impertinent and unapologetic brat who always knew that she would die young, because strange-disease-named-by-her-own-name. Perhaps she’ll annoy you at first, but damn, I loved her.

Moreover, it’s important to point that her character isn’t set in stone. Indeed character development people! I know, I’m impressed too : we get to follow her evolution throughout the story and yes, that’s as awesome as it seems.

✔ Here comes my little gem : Jason. {{{ insert fangirling }}} What can I say, I am a sucker for different male-leads and Jason was right up my alley : a little OCD (the guy recites PI to calm himself, duh), incredibly clever, loyal, and let’s say, completely adorable. The relationship he shares with Aza is heartwarming and above that, sounds so right, so sweet and yet never dull. Such a sweetheart, I’m telling you. He’s mine.

“I look at that for a minute, trying to get myself together. I’m a fucking mess of rattling pi and things I never said.”

✔ Not to mention a bunch of amazing secondary characters who all have unique voices. And a love triangle which ISN’T really a love triangle, thanks god.

✔ A world-building unlike anything I read before, filled with UFO rumors and ancient mythology and full of creatures who often made me stare at my book wide-eyed and search a ridiculous amount of info on the internet.

✔ An original plot served by a beautiful and evocative writing. Indeed with the exception of a few pages around the middle, I felt captivated during the whole book, eager to learn more about this world and his wonderful set of characters.

“Writing that gets rewritten as the earth moves. If you look at the sky that way, it’s this massive shifting poem, or maybe a letter, first written by one author, and then, when the earth moves, annotated by another. So I stare and stare until, one day, I can read it.”

So. Many. Feels, guys. Truth be told, the ability to make me care determines grandly my enjoyment of a story, and in my opinion it was magisterially executed here : I hoped, I cried, I laughed, I yelled, I loved.

At this point, you must wonder why I’m not giving it 5 stars. Actually, that’s pretty simple : there are several things which aren’t explained or which seem just too … easy for me to buy (Aza’s special status and powers for example). Now, it never prevented me from enjoying my read, that’s why I couldn’t give it less than 4 stars.

{{{ frantically waiting for a sequel }}}

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