Magonia by Maria Dahvana Headley

Tuesday, December 05, 2017
That cover got me from the moment I saw it. Holy hell, what a color-and-motive-combination. But I am not so sure if I would have read it anyways, if I´d known what it was with all the birds. Still getting goosebumps when I think of all those scenes where they are playing a key role in it.

Magonia* by Maria Dahvana Headley
Magonia Series #1
Published by HarperCollins on April 28, 2015
ISBN 978-0-0623-2052-0
Pages 320
Format Hardcover
Source Publisher

Aza Ray Boyle 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 terrible 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 – but ahs she navigates her new life, she discovers that war between Magonia and Earth is coming. In Aza´s hands lies fate of the whole of humanity – including the boy who loves her. Where do her loyalties lie?


I don´t know what I was expecting, but surely not what I was getting. 
The story is of great fantasy, no questions here. But how everything was set up – sometimes very nasty.

Aza is fighting for air. Since she can think the air around her felt thick and not right for her. No one knows why she´s sick or how they can help her. Not her mother, not the doctors at the hospital. The older she becomes, the more likely it is that she will die. A fact her parents ignore the best way they can. 

Things are addressed that are not always easy for the reader to understand and somehow scary if not disgusting. At least that is how I see it. No question, the idea of a city in the clouds, of imaginative explanations, why there is acid rain in the world, or why sometimes from one second to the other a bad weather breaks out or even entire crops are destroyed, are awesome. There is incredible potential in the plot, though the implementation is not always the best. 

What´s annoying, from the first moment, is, the way Aza is treated by her people in Magonia. Everyone assumes that she is on the same level of knowledge as the others. Illogical if you consider that she didn´t grow up like the others. She learned completely different things than the rest of the people of Magonia. But no consideration is given to that. Instead she is treated as stubborn and stupid. A clear flaw. 

The theme of death is sensitively addressed or denied, because none of the characters – except for Aza – wants to deal with it clearly and clearly. 

The language is simple and clear, and the style not always easy to understand. During the entire reading the story stays a mystery and at the end, the reader is left behind with an awkward feeling, mixed emotions and a very controversial sight of what is or can be.

Aza is not exactly what I would call an easy to handle girl. She shows a brash nature to her environment, is cynical and very sarcastic. And when she wants to speak with her parents about her coming death or demands their support, she is mercilessly abandoned.  Her parents have their very own way of coping with the unexplained illness of their daughter.

And she is not a character you just accept. She sees things incredibly complex, brings them together in a way, others would not dream of, and has a view of the world and herself - often pushing hard to the limit of what is bearable. But she does not give up. Neither herself nor her principles and for sure not what she believes in. And that drives another figure downright, because Aza refuses to be made a puppet. Even if she must commit an absolute taboo.  

What a weird, unusual and strange novel. The idea behind it is beautiful, that´s for sure. And could be intriguing if the peculiar implementation were not. With the ghoulish elements that go sharply to the limit of disgusting, not exactly what I call reading pleasure. Shown is a brutal world which is in parasitic relation with the earth we know. In combination with the red thread of omnipresent death not exactly conventional. For me, due to some illogical things, and the distance I always felt, just an average novel. But judge for yourself. 

Happy reading


*I read the German edition new release by Heyne fliegt on April 3, 2017 

Maria Dahvana Headley ©John Ulman

Maria Dahvana Headley grew up in Idaho on a ranch. Writing is her profession; She has already made a name for herself as a scriptwriter and journalist, but her true passion is the fantastic stories. And collecting 18th century historical star atlases. Her short fiction has been nominated for the Nebula and Shirley Jackson Awards. The author lives in Brooklyn in an apartment with a seven-foot stuffed crocodile and constellations on the ceiling. 

author image

Happy reading Vi@Inkvotary

I am Vi, forty-something, avid reader, blogger and painter who loves to talk and write about books. A day without one in my hands is a wasted one. Skilled florist with a degree in writing - oh yes, that works.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Copyright © 2015-2017 Inkvotary. All Rights Reserved.
Dinah Theme by Anna Moore and These Paper Hearts.
Roses + Kitten by Maria Kytyzova. Used with permission.