My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Publication Date: April 28th 2015
Point of View: 1st Person & Alternative
Genres & Themes: Young Adult, Fantasy, Romance, Family, Magical Realism, Science Fiction, Lyrical
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?
I know everyone has dreams of flying, but this isn’t a dream of flying. It’s a dream of floating, and the ocean is not water but wind.
I call it a dream, but it feels realer than my life.
Breathe, Lola, breathe!
Oh god. What did you do to me, Magonia? How dare play with my emotions… over and over again? You showed me your careless, beautiful, powerful, pitiless and heart-wrenching sides… when I was not prepared for them. Is this how Aza felt, daily, living on Earth, her lungs not being able to function properly? Well, if that was your goal, you succeeded.
Aza can’t breathe. Her disease is a mystery to every doctor and… incurable. She’s going to die soon; she always knew it would happen. Things are getting worst though. It’s when all her hopes falter and she feels herself weaken to a very dangerously sensitive and raw state that she sees something spectacular amid the sky: ships that sail into the air! What is the significance of this? Why is she the only one able to witness such thing? Is that…
While, by moment, it reminded me of The Strange and Beautiful Sorrows of Ava Lavender and Daughter of Smoke & Bone, Magonia remains one of the most creative and original and unique stories I’ve read in years. I can’t even categorize it… it both felt like a magical realism story and a fantasy one. It was the kind of book that makes you believe in everything that is happening inside it and brings all of your senses to life, but it nonetheless did contain creatures of multiple sorts and an invisible-to-the-human-eye world surrounded by air.
Aza started off as impertinent and know-it-all and judgemental, but her peculiar and sarcastic humor charmed me:
Rare, like my disease is standing onstage in a tuxedo belting out a torch song that has a chorus along the lines of ‘‘Baby, you’re the only one for me.’’ And then the disease just stands there, waiting for me to walk into its arms and give up resisting. Who talks like that? No one. Loved it.
The great thing about Aza, you have to know, is that she experienced so much… and it changed her throughout the story. Her character development will not go unnoticed. I’m saying this because, if Aza gets on your nerves at the beginning, you might think about giving her another chance… She will prove you that she is more than she appears to be.
There was a love-triangle. But an interesting one. And it actually ‘‘made sense.’’ After all, Aza thought she would never ever see boy #1 and her and boy #2 had a rare bond that couldn’t be broken in a snap of finger.
The writing… I devoured it. It had everything I consistently look forward to inside a writing style: figures of speech, short and long sentences, germane descriptions. And it also gave an appropriate depending-on-the-scene atmosphere to the story, which is something I think to be very salient when it comes to a narrative.
Magonia is my favorite 2015 publication so far. Therefore, I am recommending it to you, reader.