Fantasy, Young Adult

Magonia – Maria Dahvana Headley Book review

August 13, 2015

Magonia by Maria Dahvana Headley

Prepare yourself for a whole lot of fangirling, because Magonia was absolutely outstanding. 

I first heard about Magonia towards the end of last year on an episode of Epic Reads’ Tea Time. I thought it sounded good, so I added it to my TBR list. When it was released, I read the sample Kindle chapters and loved it, but something told me to save it for my holiday.

Reading Magonia in the Ice Bar Stockholm

So I did, and I devoured it during every spare moment. Literally. The photo above was taken in the Ice Bar in Stockholm. It is literally the coolest place I’ve ever read a book. (And if there’s one thing you should know about me, it’s that I use the word ‘literally’ correctly.) 

I’ve read a handful of excellent books this year, but Magonia went beyond that. It’s one of those books that grabs you by the scruff of your neck and doesn’t let you go until the last page. 

It’s so different to anything I’ve read before. It’s a wonderful blend of fantasy, life, love, and magic, with some realism thrown in. 

Magonia is narrated by Aza Ray, and her best friend Jason. Aza has received comparisons to Hazel Grace from The Fault In Our Stars, and this time it is a just comparison.

Aza has suffered from an unknown breathing illness her entire life, and it will probably kill her one day. Her attitude towards illness and death, and her sarcasm is reminiscent of Hazel Grace. But the comparisons end a few chapters in when Aza ends up in Magonia. 

You Hold No Horrors For Me - Jason Kerwin - Magonia quote

Jason’s character was brilliant; you could feel his anxiety, worry, and compassion for Aza leaping off the page. 

Other secondary characters are fairly well built, but I do want to find out more about the Magonian characters, especially Dai. 

Aza undergoes a significant amount of character development throughout the book. At the beginning, she’s sarcastic and very Hazel Grace, but by the end she’s strong and willing to stand up and fight for what’s right. 

One of the best things about the book is that Maria Dahvana Headley actually based the book on real reports. In 815, a treaty called De Grandine et Tonitruis (On Hail and Thunder) was published, which listed Magonia as a place in the clouds where people lived in ships, and a used the weather as a front to steal grain. It’s quite interesting if you Google ‘magonia mythology’. 

These facts are woven into the story to give it an edge of realism that had me sneakily checking the sky for ships. 

I love it when authors do that because it gives the book something extra that pulls you even further into the book and engulfs you in it. 

The world building was brilliant, and it reminded me of The Edge Chronicles a lot. 

Magonia is the first book in a series, with the second book due out in 2016, but it stood up 100% on its own. It’s been a while since I could say that about a book, but if for some reason the next book never appears, you won’t be disappointed. You will be left wanting mind you because it’s just so darn good. 

This book is hands down, the best book I have read this year. It blows everything else out of the water. Just read it. 

Are you convinced? Are you gonna pick up Magonia? 

Magonia book rating - new favourite

Magonia Book Cover Magonia
Magonia
Maria Dahvana Headley
Fantasy, young adult,
Hardback
320

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?

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  • I’ve just added this to my TBR on Goodreads! Sounds amazing. Thanks for the recommendation 🙂
    Jas } jaspooleblog.com

  • Oh, this sounds amazing! When I was little, I used to think that, when you died, you lived on the clouds, and that there were cities up there. I also used to think that the “cloud people” woke up when the sun set, and went to sleep when the sun rose.

    I think I need to read this book! 🙂 Thank you for sharing.

    • I hope you enjoy it as much as I did.

      Ooooh, that’s interesting. That sounds like the start of a good book you know.

  • bee.

    Haha – loved that photo of you in the bar! I find it really difficult to put books down and ~be sociable~ these days, haha!

    • Well I don’t drink, so it was something to do :p Pah, sociable? What’s the point in that when you can have bookish friends?

  • I am completely convinced. My copy arrived today 🙂

    • Did it?! Looking forward to hearing what you think about it. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did.

  • Emily

    OH, I never even knew it was based on a real thing! Well, kind of 😉 That’s so interesting. I wasn’t a huge fan, because it was a big weird for me, but so glad you enjoyed it 😀

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  • danniella josephine

    This sounds very interesting 🙂 might be a little too complex for my brain though :’) I love the picture of you reading it in the ice bar!

    Dannie x

    • Haha, I doubt it! It did take me a while to picture some things, but you get so drawn in that you just can’t put it down.

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