Book Review: Magonia by Maria Dahvana Headley
Such an imaginative world has been created, so much so, you may look up at the sky and wonder what exactly is going on over your head.
I am going to say straight up, that this book won't be for everyone. It was picked for my in real life YA bookclub and some members really loved it and others just thought it was too fantastical. You need to have an avid imagination or at least be willing to have a very unique new fantasy world in your head,
Aza is dying. She in fact, should be dead by now. She has been living as the 'sick girl' on earth for a very long time. She is the outcast, sick girl at school but her best friend Jason is weird too.
Before you roll your eyes at another sick girl trope in YA, just hear me out.
Aza is dying, because she cannot breathe the air of our world. It's drowning her, like water would drown us. She belongs in the sky. She has been gone too long and her people are hunting her. They want her back.
This book was so unusual. The style was slightly off putting at the start until I got into the rhythm of it and then I was fine. Aza is a super smart person and the way she views the world would make me roll my eyes a bit if it wasn't for the fact that it was well explained. She has been in and out of school and having to learn things that a child should never have to know. Her best friend Jason is also a genius which is also slightly unbelievable but I went with it, because he has been trying to cure his best friend of her disease and he has a really cute alligator suit he wore to her birthday when they were kids and I was just won over by his character, okay?
The world Aza finds herself in is confusing to her as a character, and so as a reader, we are confused along with her. As she figures things out, we as a reader do as well. It isn't a case of info dumping which I really appreciated. The world is unique with boats that sail through the air, plundering human crops and animals, escaping the 'breath' and batwings that are like the sails of the ship and whales that make storms, and half-bird, half-human creatures, and birds that fly in and out of chests and heartbirds and singing that magically does different things when you connect with the birds.
Aza doesn't trust these new people and I don't blame her. She is told that one of them is her mother but she very quickly puts it together that she is not going to get the mother-daughter cosy relationship building that one may expect. Her mother is a tough captain, going rogue and has sacrificed a lot to ensure her current plan works. A plan that involves her newly found daughter and may link to why mother and daughter were separated, to begin with.
I will definitely continue with the series because I need to find out more about the events that occurred towards the end of the first book.
Overall I loved the uniqueness, the heartbird storyline and the friendship between Jason and Aza. I loved the inclusiveness of the author with Jason having two mums in the story and it not being a big deal, which is the way it should be. At times it was difficult to picture in my head exactly what was happening because of how unique the story was and it may just be my curiosity but I wanted to know more about the world, the history, the birds, breath, and the story behind the mother and the pirate.
2018 Reading Challenges:
Have you read Magonia? If you have, have you continued with the sequel? I would love to know your thoughts in the comments below.