Format: Hardcover, 309 pages
Release Date: April 28, 2015
Genre: YA, Science Fiction
Aza Ray is drowning in thin air.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.
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.
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?
Magonia is the first installment in author Maria Dahvana Headley's Magonia series. 16-year old Aza Ray Boyce has a rare disease called Azaray Syndrome. Yep, it's actually named after her since it's so rare. Since an early age, Aza has lived under the cloud that she will die one day, and maybe that day will be tomorrow. Her best friend, 16-year old Jason Kerwin, is the only person who hasn't turned his back on her. In fact, Jason is allowed to accompany her to various places where she knows she has to wear masks.
He also knows every possible drill and emergency procedure should Ava go into distress & code. Things become rather strange, when Ava sees something in the sky. Was it a hallucination, or did she really see ships in the sky? One could say that this might be an instance of seeing UFO's. Then the voices begin. Then Jason tells her about a place called Magonia where strange beings actually live on ships in the sky. Seeking shelter in her own bedroom, Ava sees a whole flock of different birds, and they seem to be interested in her.
Stay with me, because that isn't even the weirdest part. The weirdest part is when a bird flies into her mouth, and ends up in her chest which causes Ava to seize. The bird also seems to be talking to her. What? You heard me. This chain of events ends with Ava dying, & waking up on a ship with strange creatures looking at her. What's amazing is that Ava is no longer having issues with breathing, nor is she on death's waiting list. There are other changes as well.
The sky is a place where there are a whole lot of new things for Ava to discover, including the fact that she has a mother, also Captain of the ship she wakes up on, and that she was taken 16 years ago & dropped off with downers. Ava experiences a new world where flying whales, & pirates, & storm sharks are real, & dangerous. Where humans, aka downers, are the enemy because of their destruction of planet earth's resources. Where a prophecy may indicate that Ava will save Magonia from dying. It is a place where she has to learn to live an entirely different lifestyle. She also has an ethologidion, Dai, who is supposed to help her sing, and who also gives her power.
While Ava is waking up to a whole new reality, Jason has been suffering. But, after coming face to face with his own brand of craziness, he goes on a path of collecting everything he can about Magonia, and those who live in the sky. Dare I say that I like Jason even if he was a bit on the strange side? Even if he wore an alligator suite to a funeral? Ok, yes. But, he's also the one person in Ava's life that doesn't try to take something for her, or put her into a situation that can have consequences for everyone.
I adore originality. I adore new mythology and diverse characters who aren't human. I really, really do. I would rather read something original, than have someone say this book is based on someone else's idea. I love the basis for this story, and the world building, and the characters, and how Ava struggles with understanding how different she really is from her best friend Jason. This story may be a bit on the strange side, but who cares? Strange is awesome! Again, I say, I love Jason. I love what he does over the course of this book to find Ava again like he promised her.
I have already received a copy of the sequel to this series called Aerie, and will be reading that book shortly. Thanks to HarperCollins for granting me early access. I received this book for free from Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.