ARC Review: Magonia by Maria Dahvana Headley

ARC Review: Magonia by Maria Dahvana Headley
by Maria Dahvana Headley

Genres: Drama, Fantasy, Mythology, Romance, Science Fiction, Young Adult
Publication date: April 28th 2015
by Harpercollins

Format: eARC


Amazon | Book Depository

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 in exchange for an honest review.

If you’re going to ask me to describe Magonia in one word, that word would be charming. It was elegant, magical and absolutely captivating.

Reading this book was like floating on a magical, puffy, pink cloud. While eating fairy dust and watching shooting stars. That’s how alluring this book was. The only other time I’ve felt this way was while watching the Stardust movie!

While Aza wasn’t physically strong, personality-wise, she was feisty and sassy, which is why it was no wonder I was immediately entertained by her narrative. I felt like I casually slipped into Aza’s mind while reading, and her perspective’s such an interesting one, considering her unique condition and odd personality.

She also had such an amazing relationship with her best friend and the love of my life, Jason. It’s amazing how they’re both quirky, and they just have this natural closeness that makes you want to push their faces together while screaming, “Just kiss already!” Jason was such a sweetheart, and it was absolutely heartwarming to see that he was willing to go through such lengths to get his best friend back.

There is a sort-of-but-not-really love triangle, but I can’t really go into detail without spoiling. Let’s just say that romance lovers need not worry–the other half of the triangle made sense, and the everything went down smoothly.

While the characters and their relationships were fabulous, I can honestly say that the best part about this novel was the world-building. This book is based off a more unknown mythology, and let me just say that Magonia has one of the most gorgeous settings I have ever had the honor of reading about. Everything was so imaginative and vivid, with talking birds, singing birds, and a flying ship in the sky. Sounds crazy? Maybe. But it’s the good kind of crazy. It’s… wondrously strange.

And OH GOD, the writing, you guys. You know how much I’m not a fan of the more lyrical prose, but Headley’s writing just made the story much more real. Like floating on a magical pink cloud, indeed. It was just so elegant yet simple and easy to get into. Feeling what Aza and Jason felt was just natural with this glorious writing. (Not kidding–I may have cried a few times.) I fell in love with it from page one!

The gist of it is that THIS BOOK IS AMAZING AND YOU SHOULD ALL BUY IT AND READ IT AND PET IT. Yep. That sounds about right.

Rating Report
Overall: 4.1
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Aimee is a sixteen year old bookworm from the Phillipines! She reads any book that catches her attention, but she mostly reads YA. She's into graphic design, writing and sleeping. You can find her at Deadly Darlings, The Book Geek, Goodreads and on Twitter.

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  1. says

    How pretty is the cover though.. I have a copy of this somewhere in my kindle, I just need to get started on it. I’ve heard the fantasy is a bit intense in this one and there is a lot going on? I giggled when you mention Jason is the love of your life.. He is all yours .. for now :) I hope I like this one as much as you have – wonderful review.
    Benish recently posted…Wreckage ♥ by Emily Bleeker ReviewMy Profile

    • Aimee says

      Yep, it’s totally gorgeous! And you have to start this now, Benish! :) The fantasy IS intense, and there’s always something crazy brewing. ;) Ha, Jason is MINE. :P I hope you end up loving this too! <3

  2. says

    I am very excited to hear about all of this Aimee! I am so looking forward to the amazing writing, GORGEOUS WORLD BUILDING, and the characters. Seriously though, everyone is talking about the writing and I really want to get into it soon :)

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  3. says

    AIMEE!!! This book sounds absolutely wonderful! I don’t know why I completely overlooked it when I had the chance to read it, as everything you’ve described sounds like everything that I love in my books. I also can’t wait to meet the love of your life Jason ;) and be able to experience this gorgeous writing for myself! Lovely review as always! :)
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    • Aimee says

      I feel that way about so many books, haha! Once you meet Jason though, no stealing. He’s mine. ;) I really do hope you end up loving this!

    • Aimee says

      I wouldn’t say it’s slow paced, personally, especially towards the end. It’s very strange though–that I can agree with. :) Hopefully you’ll love this, Jen!

  4. says

    This such a great review, Aimee! “Reading this book was like floating on a magical, puffy, pink cloud. While eating fairy dust and watching shooting stars.” I actually laughed. Out loud. I’ve been debating whether or not to pick this up because I’ve heard a lot of mixed things about it (especially about the whole bird thing) but you definitely make me want to pick it up!
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    • Aimee says

      Thank you, thank you. I try. ;) If you’re into weird books, then the bird things just might turn out to be your favorite aspect of the book. :D

  5. says

    What a wonderful review! I felt like I was reading a review in a magazine. I have had the book on my radar (mostly because of the brilliantly done cover). I think I have seen one full review for it other than this one, and it was also in praise of the book. This story seems like it would be a wonderful palate cleanser after a dreadful dnf, or a serious subject book. I adored the movie Stardust, so I am certain it will appeal to me. Thanks for another well thought out review. :)
    La La in the Library recently posted…TELL ME TUESDAY #39My Profile

    • Aimee says

      Thank you for your kind words, Linda! :) I really hope you enjoy this. The cover is gorgeous! And you just DNFed Seeker, right? No better time to start this one!

    • Aimee says

      Aw, so sorry to hear that, Paula! D: The last few parts were actually kind of insane, in that you’ll either love it or hate it kind of way. xD

  6. says

    OMG Aimee! How much did you love it. HOW MUCH! I could have eaten this book, word by word and licked the cover until the print wore off. It was glorious! BEAUTIFUL! I love the lyrical prose and this was amongst the best in young adult I’ve ever read. It made my heart ache and flutter, I just wanted to crawl inside it and live there. I can’t even form coherent sentences. Fantastic review! <3 *flails about like a muppet*
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    • Aimee says

      I SAW THAT YOU LOVED IT TO, KELLY! *double flails* I wouldn’t want to print to wear off though–then I can’t reread it. ;) I’d probably just put this book in its own glass trophy case, complete with a throw pillow. ;D

  7. says

    WOW it’s great to hear that you loved this one Aimee! I absolutely can’t wait to get to my copy, and captivating settings can really make a book stand out. It’s good that the ‘love triangle’ works out, and the friendship sounds adorable. Thanks for sharing :)
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  8. says

    Beautiful review, Aimee! I’m so, so pumped for this, it sounds exactly like my sort of thing, even in the reviews that haven’t been positive. I feel sure that it’s going to be like my imagination and dreams on page, strange and fantastical and unpredictable, and with each review I read I’m more sure of that. It sounds utterly beautiful and I love the whimsy that it seems to contain. I’m really thrilled it became a favourite of yours, and you really wrote a gorgeous review; if I wasn’t already sold, I would be now. Xx
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    • Aimee says

      I’m so glad to hear that you’re excited for this, Romi! If you’re a fan of whimsical and magical books, then I’m pretty sure you’re going to adore this one. :) Thank you so much! <3

  9. says

    All I want to say is that I need this book in my life. That’s it. Done.

    … well maybe a bit more.

    I did request a review copy for this one, but sadly I was declined :( I will try and get a copy through my own means though because it sounds like a beautiful story. The world building sounds mind blowing and if I could fall in love with a book already, it happened the moment I set my eyes on that cover.
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    • Aimee says

      I hope you love this, Olivia!
      Don’t worry, Harper declines all my requests, haha.
      I KNOW. That cover is just absolutely divine.