{ARC Review} MAGONIA by Maria Dahvana Headley

Title: Magonia
Author: Maria Dahvana Headley
Published: 28th April 2015
Age Group: Young Adult
Genre: Fantasy
Source: Paperback ARC provided by Harper Collins for fair & honest review
Rating: 4/5

Maria Dahvana Headley's soaring YA debut is a fiercely intelligent, multilayered fantasy where Neil Gaiman's Stardust meets John Green's The Fault in Our Stars in a story about a girl caught between two worlds . . . two races . . . and two destinies.

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?

There are birds, pirates, flying ships, magic, singing and so much more that make this the most unique story I've read.

The story:
Wow, I don't even know where to begin with this review. I was so different to anything I've ever read, and certainly not what I expected from the blurb. The entire world and concept of Magonia is so incredibly unique in every way possible. The book is told from two POVs, however Aza has the majority of chapters with Jason only having a few throughout the book. Aza has suffered from a rare and unknown illness all her life. Everyday she struggles to breath and doctors have no idea how to cure her. It's very difficult to say much about the story without giving away any spoilers, as the majority of this book is something that needs to be experienced as you read it first hand. 

Aza find's herself thrown into the unknown world of Magoina. A land of floating/flying ships in the sky, where she meets her 'mother' Caption Zal and is told she has a destiny to fulfil to save the Magonians from starvation. She's introduced to her Magonian 'partner', Dai, and together they have the power to change not only future of Magonia but the human world bellow. But helping Captain Zal with her plans, might just mean betraying the world bellow and people she loves.

The characters:
Aza is one of the of most sarcastic narrators I've ever read, and I absolutely loved it! Every word out of this girls mouth is coated in her dry sense of humour. Naturally her new world scares her and she has trouble adapting to her supposed 'destiny'. She a loyal character, but her loyalties are tested when her density will mean betraying the life and the boy she's always loved.

Jason and Aza are very similar characters. They are both smart and witty and aren't afraid to bend the rules. When reading Jason's POV it's clear that he's quite an eccentric person, spending days without sleep and counting the number of PI to keep calm. He's also extremely devoted to his friendship Aza, which I just loved him for.

Dai is Aza's Magonian 'partner'. He was a difficult character to read, and I still don't really know what to make of him. He's devoted to Captain Zal's quest, and although he seemed nice enough, I'm not sure if he can be trusted.

The romance:
The romance between Aza & Jason is slow building for the majority of the book. They have been best friends since childhood, and have been there for each other no matter what. Slowly we see that there may be something more between them, but the romance is never really the centre of the story, just quieting building in the background. If there is a sequel, their commitment to each other will be tested even further. I sincerely hope that a love triangle doesn't develop with Dai, but if it does, I'm most certainly Team Jason.

The writing:
While this book does follow the typical YA trope: girl turns 16 and discovers she's from another world, and has destiny to complete, I felt Headley's unique world building and intelligent character voice's ensured this book was like nothing else out there.

This book pushes the limits of fantasy and many times I found myself saying "this is such a strange story". There are birds, pirates, flying ships, magic, singing and so much more that make this the most unique story I've read.

Sexuality: mild / some mild kissing
Violence: medium / some mention of fighting and 'gore'
Language: mild / occasional f word
Drugs & alcohol: mild


  1. ooooooh this sounds so awesome!!! Like adventure mixed with contemporary and magic realism!!! *Flails* Thanks for sharing! I'll have to have a look at this one!!

    1. Oooo yes Renee I think this book would totally be your thing!! Lots of flailing to be had over it haha!!

  2. Good grief! Sorry you didn't love this one!

  3. One book that i will add to my collection.

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