Arrow Review #11 – Magonia

Magonia by Maria Dahvana Headley

This review may have some spoilers! If you don’t want to be spoiled, do not continue!

Rating: 2/5 Stars
Series: Magonia, #1
Length: 309 Pages
Purchase: [Amazon] | [Barnes & Noble]
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?


Do you know that feeling when you ask someone how their day has been and they suddenly start telling you their life story you didn’t even ask for? This is what this book feels like. The entire first 100+ pages were just random backstory before anything even started in the present day and started to get somewhat interesting. It was literally a bunch and blah, blah, and blahs. I was so close to dropping this book, but for some odd reason, I kept going. I’m now questioning why I even bothered to continue it.

When I first looked at this book, the idea was intriguing. There was something that caught my attention. Ships in a sky, a girl for some reason that can’t breathe? It almost sounded like a Peter Pan type of story with a twist to it. I learned afterwards that Magonia is a legit thing that has happened in history. If I remember correctly, there were many reported sightings in the 1800’s of flying ships in the sky and it was deemed “Magonia.” This book had a wonderful fantasy setting, most I have ever seen. However, at some point, the imagination went way out there. A good for fantasy, a bad for trying to comprehend it. It was a like a child describing some imaginative land or thing that makes total sense to them but you haven’t got a single clue what they actually mean. You just smile and nod anyways like you actually understand them for some odd reason. The child is then happy and you’re still totally confused.

This book was just confusing. The writing did not even make sense. I understand that this was a first person POV narrative, but some of the writing just did not need to be in there. The author thought it would be good enough to put in these brain-teaser like writings in. I mean, the author kept putting these {{ }} in the middle of the sentences, without even giving a single clue what it meant. It was just thrown in there and I’m supposed to guess what the word is? No thank you. Here’s an example: I was going to go {{ }} crazy if I even saw one more {{ }} time somewhere. The writing was just random and I felt that it was not needed.

When I also looked at the book the first time, I saw that it was obvious that this girl, Aza Ray, would go to some new land to live or something. My first reaction was thinking that it was cool. I like stories where they go from one land to another somehow. However, they left out one important information. BIRDS. THIS LAND IS POPULATED BY FREAKING BIRD HUMANOID THINGS. The birds you see flying around, at your window, or even on a tree branch? BIRD HUMANOIDS. When on earth, they appear as birds. Above the clouds, they’re some humanoid things with bird qualities. If I knew this book was about BIRDS, I probably would have never started this book to begin with.

Also, there are some birds that are just birds. However, they have special places they live in. How would you feel if these birds lived in your lungs? Right, I am not even joking! You have to sing with some bird, but they have to live in your lungs, and your chest is some apparent door that you can open and close if your bird wishes to fly around out. A door on your chest, a bird in your lungs? Uh… WHAT? I’ll tell you, somehow I thought this book was for young adults… to read to children. The entire time, I just sat there wishing I was banging my head or something. I would walk off the plank of a sky ship willingly if I was stuck on one of these ships.

So overall, it appears that this book has the perfect fantasy setting with something good for it. Instead, it just appeared to be some perfect illusion. It happened to be about so many other things than listed and was writing so confusingly. Perhaps I am just not meant to see and believe this world if it actually exists somehow. I can’t see myself going further into these series, but I wish others good luck if they decide to do so.

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