ARC Review: Magonia by Maria Dahvana Headley

April 1, 2015 Review 46 ★★★

ARC Review: Magonia by Maria Dahvana Headley
Magonia by Maria Dahvana Headley
(Goodreads | Amazon | Book Depository)

Publisher: HarperCollins
Source: Edelweiss
Pages: 320
Release Date: April 28th 2015
Genres: Death & Dying, Fantasy & Magic, General, Legends, Myths, Fables, Love & Romance, Social Issues, Young Adult
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?

I received this book for free from the source listed above in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

aliseThis book and I had a very interesting relationship. There was a point where I was really tempted to give up on it but I continued after reading so many positive reviews. I am glad I did, because MAGONIA is truly a unique novel and I love originality, particularly in YA. However, I remain conflicted about the book as a whole.

In the beginning, my experience with this one was very similar to THE STRANGE AND BEAUTIFUL SORROWS OF AVA LAVENDER, a book I had tried reading about six months prior to this one and failed. Like I mentioned above, I love original plot-lines but I guess even I kind of a draw a line where I expect a familiar reality-to a point. MAGONIA was just a bit too confusing for me, but this is a personal preference.

I wish I had the imagination to create the fantastical creatures and concepts Headley did. It is so complex I could easily see multiple books exploring the world of Magonia and sky ships, batsails, heartbirds and so much more.

I think I would have enjoyed this one more if the real aspects were kept out of it and it was strictly a fantasy, there was just too much to cover and I think more time should have been given to some elements, particularly the ending that felt wrapped up a bit messily.

Besides the main character of Aza, I felt like the other characters were not fully developed. This might have been due to my initial disconnect with the novel itself, but all the characters seemed more like game pieces to move about rather than characters that could interact with the world around them.

All things considered, I liked this one. It transports you to another world that does not seem too far away, although it is definitely different than anything you could ever imagine. Back to the real world now!

place reality

Rating Report
Overall: 3.2

46 Responses to “ARC Review: Magonia by Maria Dahvana Headley”

    • Alise

      Yeah I think it is definitely going to be one of those books where you have to read it and decide for yourself, you know? Sure :D

    • Alise

      It so is! Actually I think I have read a blurb or review that mentioned that so you aren’t the only one! Thanks :)

  1. Mallory @ The Leaning Tower of Tomes

    I’ve been seeing mixed reviews lately, but I’m still determined and excited to read it! The cover is beautiful and the synopsis sounds intriguing. Sad to hear that the character development isn’t all that great, but glad that the world is very original. :)
    Mallory @ The Leaning Tower of Tomes recently posted…TBR List — April 2015

    • Alise

      I’m glad, some people really enjoy it so I definitely recommend that. Yeah, pros and cons, I think it depends on personal preferences!

    • Alise

      Hahaha, sorry, I know this review is kind of all over the place xD I would suggest still giving it a try though! Thanks :)

  2. Micheline @ Lunar Rainbows Reviews

    Well you pretty much summed up all the elements I was hoping this one would bring to the table: something unique, unlike anything else. It sucks that the characters weren’t developped more fully though – and that you struggled a bit with the more realistic aspects. Sometimes, I find when books blend fantasy and realism, I have that issue too – things don’t always mesh like the author probably planned. In any case, I’m happy you ended up enjoying this one for the most part :)
    Micheline @ Lunar Rainbows Reviews recently posted…Review: A Monster Calls

    • Alise

      If that is what you are looking for, this book definitely has that! It really was, if they had a little more development I think the story would have had a bit more depth. Exactly! I’m glad someone knows what I mean :P Thanks!

  3. Sarah @ One Curvy Blogger

    When I first spotted this book on Pro Shelf Awareness, I knew I had to read it. It sounds unlike anything I’ve read before – like a mixture of science fiction and childhood illness. What a combo that I never would have though would work out well. It’s crazy how imaginative some people truly are!
    Sarah @ One Curvy Blogger recently posted…Holding Strong by Lori Foster

    • Alise

      Definitely a rival! DoSaB didn’t bother me as much because it still had aspects that reminded me of the real world but this is, I don’t want to say odd, but odd :P Hope you like it!

  4. Kirsty-Marie

    I’m reading this one soon, still a little anxious about it now, especially with the development of the other characters, and I really hate when you feel like they’re only there to do their part to keep the story moving, than them feeling like real characters. :( Buuuut, really looking forward to reading the Magonia parts!
    Kirsty-Marie recently posted…Guest Review by Amber: Old Magic

    • Alise

      Yeah, it’s a trade off, the characters could have fleshed out more but the world was amazing. I do hope you like this one though!

    • Alise

      Yeah, I really struggled with my thoughts on this one. If you really want to read something completely new, I would give this a shot. Sure! :)

  5. Faye M.

    I’m glad that despite some reservations, you were able to enjoy this one, Alise! I loved the fantastical elements in this book, too. I mean, the first parts were really heart-wrenching, too (I cried when she was brought to the hospital and everything), but they really are overshadowed by the fantasy factors, which were incredibly unique and refreshing. There IS going to be a book 2, right?!
    Faye M. recently posted…ARC Review: Becoming Jinn by Lori Goldstein

    • Alise

      Me too! Agreed, the emotional parts got me as well but I was so torn and somewhat confused by the integration of the fantastical elements alongside reality. I would definitely think so based on how it ended but I couldn’t find anything on a second.

  6. Silvia @ Darkest Sins

    Too bad you felt the other characters weren’t fully developed, I hate when that is the case. Although, I must say, you got me quite intrigued now. I didn’t know about this book, but I’ll keep it in mind. It may not work great for me as well in the end, but it does sound like something unique to try…
    Silvia @ Darkest Sins recently posted…Life of a Blogger: Astrology

    • Alise

      Absolutely, if you are even a little bit interested because of the originality I would definitely recommend it.

    • Alise

      Thank you! This has both reality and fantasy but they just don’t really mesh well, I can’t really explain it. But if you weren’t interested in the blurb you might struggle with the story. I’m just so torn, as you can probably tell xD

    • Alise

      It’s not that, I can’t really explain. This one almost has two “settings” one being the real world and other being the fantasy world but they are interconnected and yet still don’t mesh well. It’s something you have to read, I wish I could explain better xD Thanks!

    • Alise

      Interesting! I will have to remember that if/when I read that one to keep persevering if I have issues. Thanks :)

    • Alise

      It’s definitely an interesting read, but yeah, a bit confusing. If you were unsure I would probably agree with your decision.

  7. Romi

    I’m so excited (you might even say pumped) for this one, because the peculiarity and amazing world and imagination is totally my thing, and I can’t get it enough in books- I just really love the sound of it, and hopefully it works really well for me. I’m sorry it was a bit hazy and not the best read for you, Alise! I am interested in the way life as we know it and this other world-life are mixed. I can imagine it could get pretty confusing, but here’s hoping it works better for me than you! Nice use of Enchanted gifs, by the way- and lovely review! Xx
    Romi recently posted…Books for when you’re… (19)

    • Alise

      I’m excited that you are excited, I really hope this one meets your expectations, I have a feeling you will really like it based on what you said. If you ever read it, let me know! Thanks :D

  8. Amir @ Not So Literary!

    I wonder if this is a series…maybe the characters will develop more as the series goes on, if it is. The book’s description for me is very vague and mysterious and it kinda has that Peter Pan feel after reading it for some reason. I’m glad you enjoyed this and continued on Alise, it may have not been a perfect read but finishing it saved this from being a disappointment that’s fore sure! Lovely review!
    Amir @ Not So Literary! recently posted…Musings: I’m a Wuss of a Series Reader

    • Alise

      There is definitely an opportunity there as the ending left some things open. You aren’t the only one to mention that about Peter Pan, interesting! Thanks :)

    • Alise

      It is definitely worth a shot if you are interested in a unique story, I hope you like it if you get around to reading it!

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