By: Melanie | June 8, 2015 | (67) Comments

Review: Magonia by Maria Dahvana HeadleyMagonia by Maria Dahvana Headley
Publisher: HarperCollins Australia
Release Date: April 28th, 2015
Genres: Fantasy, Science Fiction, YA
Pages: 320
Source: Received in exchange for review
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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?

It’s been 3.5 weeks since I’ve read Magonia and since then I have bought this book for 2 people, recommended it to all of my friends, given away a copy as a Twitter giveaway and broken my book buying ban (that only managed to last 3 days) to buy myself the hardcover of the book. So I guess it’s safe to say that I really really like this book.

They weren’t kidding when they said that Maria Dahvana Headley’s writing is comparable to the works of Neil Gaiman. Because MagoniaThis book had me eating up each and every word.

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.

Magnolia is about Aza Ray who is slowly dying. What I feared most was for this book to be about a self-pitying girl who would sit in the corner and wallow away about how her life totally sucks. But thank God, this is not that story. No – this is the story about a girl with a peculiar lung disease who soon dies and awakes in a completely new world where she can not only breathe, but also finds herself in the middle of a feud between two worlds. And to top off a completely refreshing story line that plays a lot with mythological aspects, we get an incredibly entertaining main character. Aza Ray is sassy, smart and funny without really trying. She definitely has that dark humour thing going on and I absolutely loved that about her.

I myself have never gotten my period, which I’m actually not too upset about. Postpone the misery, I say. It’s because I’m too skinny, and have no luck gaining weight.

Clarification: by “too skinny,” I don’t mean Sexy Goth Girl in Need of Flowery Dress and Lipstick to Become Girl Who Was Always Secretly Pretty but We Never Saw It till Now. I mean: dead girl walking. Corpse-style skin, and sometimes when I cough, it’s way gross. Just saying.

I was very surprised to find out that this book is actually in told in dual POV. While at first I found it really irrelevant for Jason (Aza Ray’s best friend and possibly hopefully something else by the end of the book) to have his own chapters, you soon see why it’s so necessary for his voice to be present throughout, and I seriously loved it. Jason is one of those really nice and sweet guys who are just so darn reliable and authentic. He’s undeniably cute and loved how he was always looking out for Aza, but isn’t just stupidly and blindly ‘in love’ and has no life apart from Aza. The guy has a brain and knows how to use it.

In general, I loved the world that Headley has introduced to us. It’s ethereal, magical, and painfully spectacular. I loved the creation of a new Magonian race and the complexity and detail the Headley gave them. This author has an amazing imagination that I truly envy. 

Magonia is definitely not a book you want to be missing. It is certainly going down as one of my top 15 of 2015, and I’m sure it’ll make many of your lists as well. Read. This. Book. 

~Thank you HarperCollins Australia for sending me this copy!~

4 Stars
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Owner (and crazy nut) at YA Midnight Reads
Melanie is one of the totally fabulous bloggers at YA Midnight Reads. She's a 16 year old student from Melbourne, Australia. She is normally found binge watching TV series, reading , blogging, procrastinating or fangirling about how Percabeth is the best ship ever. She's also a lover of caps lock and uses it excessively.

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67 Responses to Review: Magonia by Maria Dahvana Headley

  1. What I loved about Magonia is the timelessness of its storytelling. It’s like the author was telling me a bedtime story. And I was glad too when we didn’t get a self-pitying main character! I really enjoyed Aza’s voice and I hope there’s a sequel because so many things were left unsaid in the ending for me.
    Miguel @ The Quirky Reader recently posted…Uprooted by Naomi NovikMy Profile

    • Melanie says:

      Oh yes timeless is a perfect word to describe this novel! Yeah, I do hope a sequel is in its making, especially with the way everything was left at the end of the book!

  2. I want to read this so bad! I have been reading such good things about it. And the snippets that I have been seeing. I need!
    I was hesitante at first but now. I need it, but I have no money at the moment and I brought some books a couple of days ago and now I want this and arrrg.
    Thank you for the reiview.
    Angel @AngelReads recently posted…Book Review: Modern Monsters by Kelley YorkMy Profile

  3. lily says:

    I’ve been curious about this book Melanie but hearing that you went through such length to get this one in the hands of SO MANY PEOPLE makes me want to drop everything and read it immediately. I shall add it to my list for the next time i go to the bookstore & it’s all your fault.
    lily recently posted…Every Last Word: ReviewMy Profile

  4. Siiri says:

    Lol before I get on reading your review, gahh! Every time I see this book I think of Magnolia and the cuteness that is Ryder and Jemma! I need to re-visit that otp of mine sometime 😛 Anyhow, I haven’t read anything by Neil Gaiman yet (oooops!) so I have no idea what kind of writing these authors have, but the excerpts you shared are really great! Eeeep! I didn’t really know what this book was about and your description is awesome, Mel! I love me some great characters and it looks like the author managed to flesh them out well 🙂 Looks like someone is going to add a certain book called Magonia to her “to-buy” list now 😉
    Siiri recently posted…Review & Playlist: The Summer of Chasing Mermaids by Sarah OcklerMy Profile

    • Melanie says:

      OMG dude you’re not alone! I used to think that Magonia and Magnolia were the same book but nope, totally different! The only same thing about these two is that they’re both super fantastic xD

  5. MELANIE OMG I HAVE MISSED YOU AND YOUR LOVELY BLOG SO MUCH!! I can’t believe I haven’t stopped by in forever- I’m going through your old posts as we speak. Girl, I LOVE the design, it’s so clean and elegant and GORGEOUS. Who designed it and please can they share their secrets?!?

    I actually won this book in a giveaway, and now I’m ridiculously excited that I did!! It sounds like this book is basically perfect. I’m LOVING the sound of this writing, it sounds pretty magical. Plus YES to actual humor from the main character! Jason sounds like a fantastic best friend, and it’s awesome that he isn’t blindly in love with Aza Ray (although, ahem, that name will forever remind me of another beloved character…).

    Basically, I AM VERY EXCITED TO READ THIS NOVEL NOW. Hopefully I love it as much as you did!! Lovely, lovely review, as always Mel. <33
    Aneeqah @ My Not So Real Life recently posted…Inspired By 99 Days: What We Can’t ControlMy Profile

    • Melanie says:

      ANEEQAH <333 Mitchii @ The Aeropapers designed it and I can't get over how beautiful it is myself xD

      Oh yes haha Jason 😉 I actually don't get confused with characters from other books because of their names, to be honest though. OKAY I HOPE YOU LOVES THIS BOOK, GAL <33

  6. Olivia Roach says:

    I honestly cannot wait to get my hands on a copy of this book. I love the idea of a book which has been written beautifully and the mention of such good world building. It sounds right up my street 🙂
    Olivia Roach recently posted…Olivia’s Catastrophe ~ The Book Nerd LabelMy Profile

  7. Sounds like a good read! I’ve had this one on my wish list for a while, but I’m glad to hear that it’s really as good as it looks. Thanks for the review!
    La Coccinelle @ The Ladybug Reads… recently posted…New to the TBR Pile (28)My Profile

    • Melanie says:

      My pleasure 😉 Oh yes, this one lives 100% up to it’s hype, and if not more. I hope you pick this up soon because I’d love to read your thoughts!

  8. Hilary says:

    Cover loveee. When I read the synopsis, I was instantly wary because the world seemed so fantastical that it had the potential to be a trainwreck but I’m so glad to hear a rave review from you!
    Hilary recently posted…Review: Vicious by V.E. SchwabMy Profile

    • Melanie says:


      Right? This cover is just so so gorgeoussss! And oh yes, the potential in this book was quite well explored, IMO! I definitely recommend you to read this 🙂

  9. I’ve heard mixed things about it but I do want to try it out some time! 🙂
    Bieke @ Istyria book blog recently posted…{Bookish Babble} Pro’s & Con’s of Re-readingMy Profile

  10. Okay, I was a bit hesitant about this one to be completely honest Mel, but you’ve definitely convinced me here! This sounds like such an imaginative and creative debut and I look forward to experiencing the fabulous mythological world-building and creative storyline for myself! Thanks for sharing, and fabulous post!
    Zoe @ Stories on Stage recently posted…The Secrets We KeepMy Profile

  11. Rashika says:

    I actually had this book checked out from the library and had been meaning to read it seeing how much praise it was getting but I ended up having to return it. I WILL GO BACK FOR THAT COPY, MEL AND MAKE YOU PROUD.

    I am already excited because of how awesome Jason sounds but also because of Aza’s wit. I love me some witty characters!

    Lovely review, Mel!! 🙂
    Rashika recently posted…BEA 2015 Recap PostMy Profile

  12. Okaaaaaaaaaaaaay. I’ve been putting this one off for a while now because I wasn’t sure if I’d like it. But gosh darn it all….what you said about Aza not being self-pitying and Jason being a best-friend-hopefully-romantic-interest just….yes. I need to read this book soooooon.

    Thanks for the awesome review!
    Sierra Abrams recently posted…Review: The Start of Me and You by Emery LordMy Profile

  13. This sounds so different that it makes me want to read it. I have to admit I love that cover as well. Just the fact that you have recommended it and bought the hardcover tells me a lot!
    Melissa (Books and Things) recently posted…The Desert Spear by Peter V. BrettMy Profile

  14. Amber Elise says:

    MEL. I’ve heard so many mixed things about thsi book, I don’t know what to do! But buying books for people is always a GLOWING recommendation.

    And Neil Gaiman is my absolute favorite human being…

    Hmmm..I’ll get the audiobook. It has been decided!
    Amber Elise recently posted…[Discussion]Red Hair=Special?My Profile

  15. Lexa Cain says:

    Usually when I see the publisher’s putting big hype/author comparisons before the blurb, I know the book sucks and they’re desperate. This is the first one that I’ve seen heartily recommended. Now I want to read it. (Considering you didn’t have one bad thing to say about it, I’m wondering why you didn’t rate it higher. I think you’re too stingy with 5-star ratings, girl! Splurge a little! lol)
    Lexa Cain recently posted…Celebrate: The Hard Part & T.B.Markinson’s June GiveawayMy Profile

    • Melanie says:

      I actually don’t really mind the comparison in this case because I find it to be rather accurate as it is much like Neil Gaiman’s works and well.. both the MCs from this book and Fault in Our Stars have a girl who has an illness.

      Haha yeah I’m just a really stingy gal. xDD

  16. Well then. I’m glad I bought this last week. You make it sound so marvellous. 😉
    Joy // Joyousreads recently posted…On the Night Table [18]: This Week’s Reading PileMy Profile

  17. Vane says:

    I will read it, ma’am! Sounds intriguing, though I don’t like the blurb (A meets B blah, blah). Great review!

    P.S.: Argh! So many books to read! I don’t know when I’ll have the time to read this.
    Vane recently posted…Re-read review: The 5th WaveMy Profile

    • Melanie says:

      Yayaya so glad to hear that! Yeah, I don’t like X meets Y comparisons either but I guess this one is accurate in some ways so I don’t mind it too much. Thank you, Vane <33

  18. OHhh, I WANT IT. And thanks to you it’s officially moved to my to-buy list. xD I was just kind of waiting for the library, but ajfkdls, I think this is the kind of book I need to own. NEIL GAIMAN IS LIFE, I TELL YOU, LIFE.
    Cait @ Paper Fury recently posted…2015 YA Books That My Cold Clammy Paws Desperately Wish To SnabbleMy Profile

  19. Ahh I’m SO glad you loved this too, Mel! I actually haven’t read any Neil Gaiman book (yet), but yes, Maria’s writing was just perfection. <3 I adored Aza Ray's humor as well–it was both funny and deep at the same time, which is incredibly hard to pull off. AND YES JASON ASDFGHJKL GIVE ME A JASON PLEASE I WANT ONE.

    Fab review as always, lovely!
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  20. czai says:

    I’ve seen positive reviews on this one. I thought this might not be for me but somehow, after reading your review, II kind of want to give it a try 😀
    czai recently posted…[REVIEW] The Secret IngredientMy Profile

  21. Ahh will definitely be reading this! Fantastic review! 😀

  22. First, I love the cover. It is gorgeous, especially that feather. The synopsis has captivated me before but read some unpleasant reviews so I forgot about it. Now I know I need to keep it in mind again and give it a shot. I actually like dual points of view so I can understand both characters feelings. So glad you enjoyed this, Mel!
    Genesis @ Latte Nights Reviews recently posted…Latte Nights Obsessions #4My Profile

    • Melanie says:

      Right? Yeah that feather is the very thing that makes that cover so freaking gorgeous. Honestly, not a huge fan of dual POV but I think it was used well here! 🙂

  23. Hannah says:

    Had this on my TBR pile – but your review made it sound amazing! And that cover is gorgeous too. Excited to start reading!
    Hannah recently posted…Review: Emmy & Oliver – Robin BenwayMy Profile

  24. Alise says:

    I had a few issues with this book but overall I felt the same, the writing is magnificent and so visual. The world the author created is unbelievably creative, and that aspect was a favorite of mine as well. I’m glad you really liked this one!
    Alise recently posted…Buying Ban and TBR Smash Challenge UpdatesMy Profile

  25. Merel (Lucy) says:

    I’ve read a couple of reviews about Magonia and all I can say after reading yours is: I. NEED. THIS. BOOK! And soon! I’ve heard nothing but great things about it and your review just officially convinced me that I need this book!
    Merel (Lucy) recently posted…Let’s Talk #1 | How I Discovered My Love For ComicsMy Profile

  26. Hmmm… I honestly wasn’t sure I wanted to read this one, but now you have my questioning that. I just may like this one! 🙂
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  27. Chri says:

    I’ve… never read anything by Neil Gaiman, but if his works and this book is anything like what it sounds, I think I’m going to have to. Loved the excerpts, and the cover (I love how the feather turns into little birds – so pretty!). Thanks so much for sharing; great review, Melanie!
    Chri recently posted…Shuffle // SHISHAMOMy Profile

  28. Valerie says:

    YES YES YES GLAD YOU LOVED IT. I have it on my shelves and I WILL GET TO IT SOON. I just, don’t know when. BUT YOU’RE REVIEW AND REC WILL NOT GO TO WASTE. (But honestly I just skimmed your review so that I could go in slightly blind) 😀
    Valerie recently posted…The Mass Effect TrilogyMy Profile

    • Melanie says:

      Haha totally understand that! I do that with most books I’m reading soon as well too. I cannot wait to hear your thoughts on this one gal!

  29. Kirsty-Marie says:

    I loved how she wasn’t self-pitying and actually made fun of it at times, totally my type of character. I was afraid once the whole her dying and going to Magonia, I thought Jason would have disappeared from the story, so glad he has his own chapters and how adorable and you can really see how much he feels for her and how he was so adamant on finding her and how he goes about doing that and I kind of fell in love with him a little. And now I want to reread it, haha.

    • Melanie says:

      Right? I cannot deal with self-pitying characters. It’s like they’re forcing us to try and pity them too when it’s actually giving the opposite effect. Yeah, I thought Jason was gonna just be there at the start to help set the mood and stuff but nope! So glad he stayed.

  30. Kelly says:

    Hooray! I was finally able to load your blog and comment! And there’s no cake waiting for me. Start baking girls.

    I loved this one too. Ohhh, so incredibly much. There was something so incredibly beautiful about skyships, song birds and just the overall tone was so breathtakingly lovely. I swooned, not over her love interest, but the actual writing. Aza was so spunky, I loved her honesty and also that Jason refused to wrap her in cotton wool as well, but treated her like he would others not suffering an illness. It was simply beautiful. I’m absolutely thrilled you enjoyed this Mel, incredible review <3
    Kelly recently posted…The List Book… The One With The Really Long TitleMy Profile

    • Melanie says:

      Oh yes, Larissa just out shopping for the eggs and flour, we’ll get cracking soon! (Ha. hahaha my puns be so punny.)

      Thanks, Kels! So glad that you loved this one as well and yes that’s the perfect word to describe Aza! Very spunky xD

  31. I really want to read this book! I’m very intrigued by the original story line. A sick girl and an alternate world and air people? Wohoah. Plus, those quotes are awesome. Great review, Melanie!
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  32. Romi says:

    This is a truly spectacular review, Mel! If anything else, the fact you start it by saying how many copies you’ve gifted makes me super interested- although this is a book that is the highest anticipated on my tbr as it is! I really enjoyed reading your thoughts on this. I’m surer that I’m going to absolutely cherish this one than I’ve often been sure before. Everything I’ve heard of it, positive and negative, makes me certain it’s a book that I am just going to devour. It sounds absolutely, start to finish, like my sort of book.
    And you adored it! This is truly brilliant! xx
    Romi recently posted…Mini Reviews (10)My Profile

  33. wow so glad you loved this book. I haven’t dived into yet but I hope to one day. I love the realistic fiction mix with sci fi. Sounds amazing.
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  34. AHHH, I desperately wanted to review a copy of this, but both batches of ARCs were snatched up. And apparently with good reason, too.

    I love it when a book is completely different to what you might have thought it would be. I love the fact that this takes a really popular trope in YA at the moment, and transforms it into something new and magical. It sounds AMAZING.

    I really like dual POV, when it has purpose and is done well, so I’m glad it worked out in MAGONIA.

    I desperately want to read this now, more so because it looks like it is a standalone? We really need more of those in the sci-fi and fantasy genres, oh boy.

    As per usual: lovely review, girly! <3
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  35. Salwa SM says:

    Melanie!!! I have missed you! I feel so terrible for not visiting as much as before and I was surprised with the new layout, which I love, by the way!

    Anyway. Yay!! I’m so happy you really liked this book because I bought a copy of it and I can’t wait to indulge in it. Great review as always! <3

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