Magonia by Maria Dahvana Headley + Giveaway

magonia - maria dahvana headley

Magonia by Maria Dahvana Headley + Giveaway

Magonia by Maria Dahvana Headley

Published by HarperCollins on April 28th 2015
Paperback copy from Fully Booked
320 pages


Maria Dahvana Headley's soaring YA debut is a fiercely intelligent, multilayered fantasy where Neil Gaiman's Stardust meets John Green's The Fault in Our Stars in a story about a girl caught between two worlds . . . two races . . . and two destinies.

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 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—but as 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?

Magonia is hands down a fantastic read. Heroine with a history of hospitals? Ships in the skies? Birds in the lungs? These story elements easily demand a reader’s interest. More than that, Magonia’s narrative and exciting plotline will keep you engrossed and leave you quite breathless. And speaking of breathless…

“Heart half on Earth, half in the clouds. I am still like no one else. There is still no place I belong.”

Meet Aza Ray- miracle girl with a very curious, unsolvable lung disease that makes breathing difficult for her. Death hangs around Aza, threatening, but somehow it hasn’t taken her yet. Maybe she’ll actually live to sixteen. But when she glimpses a ship in the sky and starts to hear someone calling out her name from said ship, her disease strikes and this time it’s a fatal blow. Though Aza passes on from earth, she finds herself in the clouds above (nope, not heaven), where Magonia lies. On the Amina Pennarum, the sky ship that was apparently not at all a delirious hallucination, she discovers many things about herself- how she possesses a power unlike any other.

“If you look at the sky that way, it’s this massive shifting poem, or maybe a letter, first written by one author, and then, when the earth moves, annotated by another. So I stare and stare until, one day, I can read it.”

What I have to say about Aza is that her character voice is absolutely awesome. She has so much personality and sass going on for her. I was hooked by the first few pages where she explained the tragic situation that was her inability to breathe. Being in her head was an enjoyable experience because it was so genuinely entertaining to read. I think has a lot to do with the writing, which I really loved. It’s striking and unorthodox. I know it won’t work for everybody but it worked perfectly for me. In fact, I thought the prose was exquisitely beautiful and poetic.

“I think about celestial junk. Like, maybe every planet in this solar system is discarded by giant hands. Each star a crumpled ball of paper, a love letter lit on fire, a smoldering bit of cigarette ash.”

I especially really liked how Headley lays down the setting. Magonia is such a bizarre fascinating place and it was described so vividly. Everything was imagined so well. She backs it up with a refreshing mythology, tales of UFO sightings, and a great back story that kept me engrossed in finding out more. Talk about excellent world-building! The chain of the events that follow also were very exciting. Not to mention magical. Singing heart birds and storm-making skywhales magical. The fantasy aspect of the book was truly astonishing- completely unique and worth discovering.

“I’m dark matter. The universe inside of me is full of something, and science can’t even shine a light on it. I feel like I’m mostly made of mysteries.”

Another thing that was really strong in the story is the emotional connection between Aza and her loved ones on earth. It made my heart hurt how Aza’s family and bestfriend, Jason, loved her so so much. I was touched by their dynamics and I couldn’t help but cry when Aza was lost to them. *sniffles* Also, Aza Ray Boyle and Jason Kerwin, you guys. I {         } them more than [{{{(             )}}}]. Their relationship was just completely lovely.

“All I can see are my own eyelashes and my own eyelids, and somehow, also, my own brain, all the pathways inside it, everything dark and narrow, and getting narrower, bookshelves closing it, books crushed, falling into muddled piles, pages crushed, words mangled, and me, running through it all, trying to get out before the walls collapse.”

I think by now I’ve given you more than enough reasons to go and read this book. Magonia is an enchanting novel with characters, emotion and writing that can stir your heart. Let this book take your breath away.

Magonia by Maria Dahvana Headley is available in Fully Booked.


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63 Responses

  1. Well it would have to be the magical world of Grisha :) I like the Russian inspired world of this series. The ancient beasts that serves as amplifiers…

  2. Sounds like an awesome book with a gorgeous cover. Honestly, I already put it to my tbr pile just because of the cover without knowing the synopsis hahaha :D

  3. And oh for the giveaway, the most fantastic element I’ve read in book would have to be…Angelfall by Susan Ee because it’s about angels who have gone bad :D

  4. Even if your review itself didn’t convince me enough to read this book (It has), the quotes themselves would have convinced me to read Magonia. My favorite books are often the ones that feature vivid, poetry-like prose, and the quotes here scream poetry. I think I might check this one out.

  5. Your review was great! There are a lot of books where I love the special little touches, but the one that popped into mind was the wisps in This Shattered World by Amie Kaufman and Meagan Spooner. I loved how Amie and Meagan wove Irish and Scottish folklore into a book where aliens roamed. It was fabulous!
    Thanks for the giveaway!

  6. I can’t remember exactly how it is but the Edge Chronicles world was super amazing and weird with rooms in honey-comb like structures…

  7. Oh thanks for this giveaway! I just love your blog. I fell in love with it. Your review makes me want to read that beautiful book, Well the fantastic elements I encountered was in Percy Jackson series. The Greek Mythology, the Gods, Half-bloods, flying shoes, pen turning into a sword. I love it. Thank you Hazel for this giveaway :)

  8. Protagonist with a sass and mythology. MYTHOLOGY! This just made me more excited about Magonia. Thanks for the giveaway, Hazel! I’m gonna try my long-forgotten luck on this one.

  9. I am so intrigued by this book, AND there is a Neil Gaiman blurb on it :) Great review! Thank you for hosting this giveaway! The thing about fantastic elements is that I generally love almost all of them. On one hand, I’m a fan of your typical magical beings: dragons, elves, fairies, wizards, warlocks… And I also love original unusual concepts, but I have special place in my heart for fantasy with roots in mythology.

  10. When I first heard about this book, I thought the elements are really weird. I mean, the interesting kind of weird. I’m glad you enjoyed this one, Hazel! I like quote numbers 3 and 4. The Magicians trilogy by Lev Grossman holds most of the fantastical, weird stuff I value deep in my heart.

  11. Beautiful, beautiful review, Hazel. Magonia is a book I am incredibly excited about reading, and have been for some time. I have no doubt at all that it’s going to be a book perfectly suited to me, and the little quotes you spattered throughout your review only help to convince me of that. It seems like it’s written utterly gorgeously, and I just can’t wait to get a copy and discover all the strange, wonderful magic that this novel seems to contain.
    Lovely review! Xxx

  12. Thanks for the awesome review. Just makes me want to read it mooorreee!!

    One element I usually like seeing our minor gods and goddesses, it doesn’t have to be Greek or Roman (I loved Chaos of the Stars because of the Egyptian mythology). Also, wizards and magic of course (Harry Potter!, need I say more?) :)

  13. I guess the most fantastic for me aside from the world of A Song of Ice and Fire is the world of Let The Sky Fall by Shannon Messenger. It’s all about travelling by wind and talking with the wind. It’s quite cool since wind isn’t so much explored unlike fire and water. :D

  14. I think A Darker Shade of Magic has great fantastical elements, especially in the way that the MC can travel between all the different Londons.

  15. Oh great review Hazel!!! Some of the great fantasy elements I read are from The Night Circus like” a desert and a maze constructed from towering clouds”. This book is an extraordinary blend of fantasy and reality which turned to be one of my favorites.
    Thank you for the giveaway! Cannot wait to read this book. :)

  16. I would go for A Darker Shade of Magic. I really love that book ♥

    PS: New follower here :)
    Fellow Filipina blogger here ♥

  17. I would say the most fantastic elements I have seen is to use metal to do magic in the Mistborn books.

  18. Most every book feels sort of fantastical to me, the fact that an author can string together the right combination of words and it paints a vivid picture in my mind, to me, that’s magical.

  19. An important and the most fantastic element I’ve red in a book is the beautiful and amazing writing, especially the writing of Tahereh Mafi in the Shatter Me Series. It’s just so beautifully written and the way sentences were crashed out as the narrator changed her mind.

  20. I enjoyed Milly Johnson It’s Raining Men, there was a magical quality to it that left you guessing is it true?

  21. Everything that involves magic…and flying definitely! Other interesting elements for me would be anything victorian or fairytale-ish (e.g. knights, princesses, paiges, etc) haha thanks for the giveaway dear!

  22. I absolutely love your review! I think my favorite element of a book would be time traveling since I’m such a big fan of Doctor Who and I also love it when it involves travelling dimensions. Even though I’m not the biggest fan of science itself, I love sci-fi

  23. Definitely the angel-devil dynamic in the Daughter of Smoke and Bone!! Had a major reading slump after the second book :’)

  24. I love your review! I think im going to love this book, since I haven’t read it yet. But I am very very interested to read it!

  25. The book’s synopsis is very well written and I would be adding this book to my to bre read list!! :)

  26. There’s a lot, actually! My faves are the The Circus of Dreams from the Night Circus, Howl’s Castle from Howl’s Moving Castle, and London Below from Neverwhere.

  27. I think I am not living my life to the fullest since I’m missing to read magical and fantasy books like these. But I think Harry Potter, Wings and Wicked Lovely series are considered books. Hihi, but I love your review about Magonia and I want to imagine my scenes like you did. Thank you for this! ♥ More powers xoxo

  28. The most fantastic elements I’ve read in a book would be immortality! I love books having faeries and vampires and long-life evil antagonists. :)

  29. my most fantastic elements i’ve read in a book is probably the wyrd thing in throne of glass, i find that very interesting! and the blood magic in the pirate’s wish :D

  30. I’m a big fan of YA fantasy so I’ve read a lot pretty fantastic stuff. But one of my recent favorites is Stolen Songbird by Danielle Jensen. It’s a love story between a girl and a troll. Basically, Cèline is kidnapped and brought to Trollus to marry the troll prince, Tristan because they believe that this will break the curse that has them trapped under a mountain. It’s so much more than romance. Danielle Jensen created an intricate underground kingdom with a fascinating back story. I highly recommend this book if you haven’t read it yet.

  31. One of the most fantastic elements that I have ever read in a book is moving cities. As in, the cities are literally mobile through some sort of technology.

  32. One of the most fantastic elements I’ve read in a book is Yvaine in Neil Gaiman’s Stardust; I never would’ve thought of stars as living creatures! So beautiful!

  33. It would be Crimson Bound where Rachelle vigorously fought with deadly creatures in order to find a legendary sword which can save their world.

  34. I love how there are people with silver bloods in Red Queen. When silver bloods shed blood, it’s silver (obviously), but it fascinates me. I imagine they are dripping shining silver blood.

  35. This book sounds interesting! The most fantastic I’ve read are the wyrds in Sara J. Maas’s Throne of Glass series.

  36. This is one of my most anticipated books for this year. I’m so glad you found it really fantastic, Hazel! I’m not really a big fan of Fantasy reads. I tend to be really picky about them but I guess I found many interesting elements in A Darker Shade of Magic by Victoria Schwab. The mere fact that there are parallel Londons existing in the book definitely got my attention.

  37. I really love books with beautiful cover because they reflect about the story… this book looks really exciting… and really looking forward to read it. :)

  38. most fantastic element: Hogwarts. Always. a freaking magic boarding school will always top everything ;)

  39. I’m sure there are more fantastical elements, but my favorite at the moment are the angels in Laini Taylor’s Daughter of Smoke and Bone. I’ve heard nothing but great things about Magonia. Can’t wait to read it. :)

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