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.
All the doctors can do is give her drugs and hope they keep her alive. So when Aza catches a glimpse of a ship in the sky, her family chalks it up to a cruel side effect of the 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. The sickness catches up with her.
Aza is lost to our world.
And found, by another.
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 she can use it to change the world.
As she navigates her new life, Aza discovers that war is coming. Magonia and Earth are on the cusp of a reckoning. In Aza's hands lies the whole of humanity - including the boy who loves her. Where do her loyalties lie?
Maria Dahvana Headley's soaring YA debut is a fiercely intelligent, multilayered fantasy rich with symbolism and steeped in allegory. Aza's journey pulls her deep into the questions of home, of love, of self, and of just what it means to find them all.
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Hard to Review
I really liked the world building, for the most part. It was fairly creative and new. Some of the things were a bit on the ew factor (birds in your chest) and other things are never truly explained to my satisfaction (the whole taking that skin thingy) but it's still very colorful and interesting.
The worst part was the beginning, the characters, and somewhat the plot. It's very obvious that the author put a whole ton of thought into the world building but it's just as obvious that she let the world building take precedence over character and plot. To be quite frank, this book doesn't actually start going until chapter 6. If you skip to chapter 6 with the knowledge that Aza has an unknown, uncureable illness than you've just still a whole lot of annoying mindless prattle that is largely self-aggrandizing (along the lines of 'yeah, I'm dying but I'm so down to earth about it all') and seems to go on and on and ON and WILL-THIS-NEVER-END ON!
What's worse, for me, was that once this starting actually going somewhere we were forced back into a second POV that was largely just thinking and PI shit. So you're like YAY! FINALLY! A PLOT! and then you're dropped into Jason's head and you're all DAMN IT ALL!
Moreover, the beginning and the rest of the story don't feel like they fit together. The beginning has, for the most part, little to no magic in it and you're thrown head first into an incredibly magically heavy UF after chapter 6/7 that you're not be prepared for (that's the original UF concept part.) I know some have expressed a difficulty in the sharp/sudden contrast.
The characters are a bit cliche and this is one of those "strongest magical girl ever alive EVER-LIKE-FOR-REALZ" type UF book.
Still, it's an original idea and that's always welcome. I'd be willing to read more from this author if the author worked more on her characters and plot.
They did a good job.
As I said, this is very hard to review. You'll see people say they gave up because the beginning (which is rather long tbh -- 20%, I think) is incredibly slow. No, wait, I'm not sure that's right since it doesn't go anywhere and the use of the word slow implies movement. Anyway, if you can handle that then give this book a try. If you're thinking of giving up, skip to chapter 6 and try from there.
- Amazon Customer "Me"
I wish there were more stars to give!