Review: Magonia by Maria Dahvana Headley

Review: Magonia by Maria Dahvana Headley Magonia by Maria Dahvana Headley
on April 28th 2015
Pages: 320

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?




Well, crap. Here I am again, black sheeping my way through a book that everyone and their mom seems to love. I think this is most likely a case of me being the problem as opposed to the book being the problem. I really just didn’t get it.jennifer-dunno

There were good parts, don’t get me wrong. There was even a time when I was really getting into it! Here’s how it went down:

The Beginning

So, Aza has some mystery illness that no doctor can figure out and that causes her to have breathing issues. That has to be very difficult. Also difficult is Aza’s attitude. But her friend Jason was pretty great, so I stuck with it, even though I was a bit bored. Then I actually started to enjoy their friendship, and the “will they or won’t they?” thing, and it started tugging on my feels. There were points that I was in tears over Aza and Jason and her sickness, and other spoilery stuff that I won’t mention. Suffice it to say, I was really starting to enjoy the book.

And Then….

Bird people. With giant ships in the sky. The hell?! I just…. couldn’t. First of all, I was confused. So, so confused. What are bird people exactly? I was basically picturing a team mascot, perhaps something like this:bird-mascot-costumes-50120Hawk20Falcon

Things in the beginning had moved slow, and then suddenly Aza is a bird person, in this whole new world, and I simply couldn’t keep up. And also, it was kind of too weird and I stopped caring.

There were a few things I enjoyed, though. The writing was very pretty, and Jason was fantastic as a character (even though some of the stuff about him was highly unrealistic, his character itself was great). And, some of the stuff at the end was pretty enjoyable, so there’s that.

But it seemed rushed in general. There was a lot of stuff crammed into 320 pages, which is probably why I had a hard time connecting to the bird stuff (well, that and the fact that it was bird people flying through the damn sky on big old ships). And I don’t know if this was an intended outcome, but as the book wore on, I felt pretty sure that I was being given an environmental lecture? I could be completely off base here, but that’s how some things came off.

Bottom Line: This was just not for me, but a lot of people absolutely adored it. There’s apparently a sequel, but I don’t think I will be partaking. I was fine with how this one ended, and honestly, I can’t do anymore bird people.


**Thanks to Mimi @ M&EM Read for the chance to read this one!**

So… are you going to give the bird people a try? Have you already? I would love to hear thoughts! 

Posted April 3, 2015 by Shannon @ It Starts at Midnight in Review , / 25 Comments

25 responses to “Review: Magonia by Maria Dahvana Headley

  1. Hmm, sorry you didn’t enjoy this one more. I really don’t think I am going to give this one a try. My TBR is already too long. I don’t need to add to it. It sounds like it wouldn’t be worth it. Hope your next read is better.

  2. NOOO 🙁 I heard mixed reviews about this book which is quite frankly scaring me </3 I might not like it either since we have a little similar tastes in books – thanks for the honest review though! Hopefully your next book is a hit for you 🙂

    • I’m sorry! That is so funny- I just said on another comment that we seem to have similar tastes hahah. Great minds too apparently 😉 And yeah it wasn’t for me. Though I do see a TON of positive reviews (and a handful of DNFs, which makes me feel slightly less bad hahah)

  3. You’re not the only one who didn’t love this book, I saw other reviews this way – so I guess I’ll pass, thanks for sharing 🙂

  4. Since I have a copy, I have to give the bird people a try, I am looking forward to the writing though! Uhm, everything else, go in with low expectations, right? Though there were weird bird people in The Girl at Midnight and uh, snake people…So I think I’ll be okay with that, haha.

  5. Ugh, I was really looking forward to this one…BUT BIRD PEOPLE?!? Yeah, no thanks. I’ll probably skip this one cause that’s not really my thing and I can pretty much say I won’t enjoy it. Thanks for pointing this out 🙂

  6. I know we discussed this one on twitter a little bit, and at that point I’ve been really enjoying the book. But, as the book continued, it started getting weirder and weirder, and I was getting more confused, so I was not as impressed as I was at the beginning. The writing was really beautiful, I have to agree on that, but the bird people, yeah, idk about that. It’s not that bird people bothered me that much, I thought the concept was pretty cool. Ships in the sky with bird people on it, it was the fact that I couldn’t picture it all that bothered me. (and that little mascot over there, that’s totally what I’ve been imagining.)

    • YES, I think that was it- I had no idea what these bird people were about, so I was just picturing nonsense. I should add that they were on the pirate ship from Jake and the Neverland Pirates in my head too 😉

  7. Sorry you didn’t love this one! It does sound a bit strange. I’ll be reading it soon, and I’ve heard both good and bad things, so I’m curious! Love the sound of Jason, tho.

    Thanks for your honest review! I hope your next read is much better. 🙂

    • I’ll be curious to see if you liked it! It seems people either REALLY liked it or… you know, not so much 😉 Jason WAS great, he made me happy, even if the bird people did not hahha. Thanks! I hope you enjoy it!

  8. Too bad you didn’t like it! I’ve been so excited to read this one… It seems to be getting either love or hate reviews. I like weird books, though, so I think I might still give it a try sometime.

    • If you like weird, this may very well be a great book for you! I mean, I am okay with weird, but I was more confused than anything. I do hope you enjoy it though, and a lot of people do!

  9. Awww, I’m sorry that you didn’t like this one that much, Shannon! I enjoyed this and its fantastical elements, but I did have a hard time picturing the people at first, too, then I just winged it and pictured them as singing sky people. HAHAHA.

    • Hahahha thanks!! I am glad you at least got a laugh out of it! I am glad you liked it (well, loved it!) so much, I think there are so many people who will adore it, I just wasn’t one (clearly 😉 )

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