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Monday, January 04, 2016

Magonia by Maria Dahvana Headley

Magonia is a magnificent and exceptional debut novel. That said, it's not a book that will be enjoyed by everyone. I think it's meant for readers that are able to look beyond the physical world and are able to stretch their imagination. I mean, there's bird people, skyships, floating cities in the sky and talking birds. Lots of birds. But it's also about strong human connections, family and love. It's beautifully written and evokes strong emotions throughout the story.

Oddly enough, the first third of the book could have been compared to any contemporary young adult novels. It reminds me of The Fault In Our Stars, because Aza Ray is living on borrowed time. Despite her fragile body, she's a spunky 15 year old full of angst and unafraid to use her medical condition to get into trouble or cause some disturbances in school. Her lungs have a hard time transporting oxygen into her blood, making it very hard for her to breathe and do pretty much anything a normal teen might want to do. Doctors are barely able to keep her alive since they're pretty much clueless about what she has. Actually, there's no precedent so they named the disease after her. With her being the only patient with this disease, there's obviously no cure.

The first third of the book is where we meet Aza and her best friend Jason. They're almost always together, and have been friend since Aza's fifth birthday. Both are very analytical and intelligent, so when Aza starts seeing airships floating in the clouds and hearing her name whispered on the wind, they wave it off as hallucinations or try to find a scientific explanation for everything. Aza is on so many different medication that any of them could be making her see things. However, Aza can't help but feel something is coming.

When you hit the 100 page mark, everything shifts from a realistic world to a fantasy world filled with airships, bird people and magic songs. And for the first time since she can remember, Aza can actually breathe normally. Obviously her world is turned upside down and she sets off on a grand adventure. However, she can't help but feel homesick. She misses her mother, her father and her sister, but most of all, she misses Jason. She never got the chance to tell him how she felt and now that she's separated from her childhood life, she knows it will take a miracle for her to ever see her loved ones again.

I don't want to reveal to much about the plot because it deserves to be experienced first hand. I love the fantasy world Maria Dahvana Headley created and because the characters are so analytical, we're almost led to believe that this fantasy world is actually plausible. So many themes emerge throughout the book, like family ties, teenage death, teenage romance, industrialism and its effects on the environment, and so much more. The book has been compared to Neil Gaiman and I completely agree with the comparison, so any fan of the genre and his writing will undoubtably enjoy this debut novel.


stephsig moon

Tynga is a 32 years old mom of two, from Montreal, working as a lab technician in an hospital specialized in heart disease. In her free time, she enjoys reading all things Paranormal and photography.

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  1. I still have to read this one. I grabbed it on Black Friday, but it's coming up soon on my TBR. Glad you love this one!