“Death is the Santa Claus of the adult world. Except Santa Claus in reverse. The guy who takes all the presents away.”
I’ve read this book together with The Book Club of the Opinionated Hufflepuffs. I remember the first time I saw this book mentioned and immediately falling in love with the cover. It’s so gorgeous! I was really looking forward to Magonia… But unfortunately I didn’t end up enjoying it as much as I thought I would. I had a hard time getting into the story. Part of the problem was the fact that I was expecting a fantasy story from the start, and the first few chapters are more of a YA contemporary novel. I wasn’t convinced by the characters and the prose really bothered me. I know a lot of people actually love Maria Dahvana Headley‘s writing style, but to me it felt somewhat forced and annoying to read. What’s with all the ( ) [ ] anyway? As far as the worldbuilding goes: I do admit it is very creative and it shows she spent a lot of time creating Magonia. Unfortunately, I was mostly weirded out by the whole descriptions. I mean, a bird flying down the main character’s throat and then nestling inside her lung? Flying ships and half-birds singing to get things done? Not really my cup of tea. I guess Magonia might be one of those books you either love or hate… And I don’t think I belong to the first group.
Ever since she was little Aza Ray has suffered from a mysterious lung disease that makes it very hard to even breathe properly. They didn’t expect her to live that long, but now she is almost sixteen years old and still holding on. When she thinks she sees a ship in the sky, people believe it’s just a side effect of her medication. But Aza doesn’t think it’s a hallucination; she actually heard someone calling out for her from the ship. Only her best friend Jason seems to believe her, but it seems to be too late… As her lungs doesn’t seem to want to breathe no longer. Can she still be saved? And what about that flying ship? And the myths about Magonia?
Magonia sounded so good when I first learned about it, but unfortunately I ended up not enjoying it that much. The only reason I haven’t given it a lower rating is because of the quite impressive worldbuilding. Maria Dahvana Headley spent a serious amount of time creating the world of Magonia and it shows in the details. It doesn’t take away the fact that I was mostly weirded out by the whole bird and flying ship situation and the fact that I didn’t like the main characters doesn’t really help either. And the prose… Some people might like it, but I was mostly just annoyed by it. I really wanted to like this one! But I guess you can’t always get what you wish for…