Review: Magonia – Maria Dahvana Headley

magoniaAza 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?

Rating: 4/5

When I first started this book, I thought it would be another in a long line of sick-kid lit, but I was so pleasantly surprised. Magonia has a really unique fantasy element, with bird-people hybrids and skyships and a whole new world up above the clouds.

I really enjoyed the depiction of family here – family that frustrates you even as you love each other unconditionally, siblings that take the piss and parents that mean well. Yay for healthy family relationships!

The love interest, Jason, is also an absolute sweetheart. He worries for Aza without making too big a deal of her illness, and never treats her like she’s incapable of doing things for herself. He’s got his own mental health issues, of course, but the boy literally goes to the end of the earth for the possibility of finding her.

Amongst the rather serious situation of Aza’s illness and consequent adventures with a whole new set of people and circumstances, there were also some randomly hilarious lines that made me cackle.

It’s a shame because, for a blue person, he’s hot. 


You’ve never seen surprise until you’ve looked into the eyes of an ascending bovine. 

Overall, an unexpectedly delightful read, with some original fantasy elements, unusual relationships and sky-high action.

Down there, cities glow out of the dark, red and green and white. The whole planet’s made of cars trying to get somewhere. 

3 thoughts on “Review: Magonia – Maria Dahvana Headley

  1. I loved this completely! I thought the writing was extremely original and powerful. Jason was the unlikeliest romantic interest ever, wasn’t he? :) I’m going to try some of the other books she wrote, first chance… Lovely review!


    1. I wasn’t expecting much, to be honest, so I was very much pleasantly surprised. I’m so glad there’s going to be a sequel! It was so atmospheric.


  2. I just couldn’t get into this one, so it was a DNF, but I know a lot of people have liked it. Maybe I should give it another chance….


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