Read of the Week: ‘Magonia’ by Maria Dahvana Headley


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?

This was a really interesting read to dive into. I’ve been sticking to contemporary YA fiction for the last few months, admittedly, mainly because that makes up most of what’s been landing on my doorstep, so it was nice to deviate from the usual. That being said, even though fantasy is on a whole other spectrum in itself, I think that it’s safe to say it isn’t exactly common to come across something that really is out of the norm. Werewolves, vampires, witches–we’ve all seen them done, and now we’re seeing them done in sparkly new ways, but Magonia? This is completely out of the blue, and in the best way possible.

Even more so, this is a wonderful fantasy with one size fits all: plenty of genres to be seen and loved, or in other words, double trouble. There’s something here for everyone. Action, romance, and mystery are all present, making for an all-around enjoyable read. Whenever I found myself tiring of one element, things would take a sharp turn and it was like I was being immersed in a completely different environment with something else to worry about. It kept me on my toes, and I think it’ll do the same for you.

The usually dreaded love triangle was present here, but it was done in a way that almost felt natural and not at all overbearing. Both love interests were from different worlds with different personalities, and both saw Aza as two completely different people, so they both felt really compatible and suited. I liked the way it was presented, and for the most part I am driven crazy by the never-ending triangle theory. I don’t know what’s worse, the love or Bermuda triangle. You decide.

The ending of Magonia was conclusive but definitely left room for more tales to be told, so I’m looking forward to what Headley has planned next for these characters.

Anyone looking to move away from “normal” fantasy and move into a new and exciting story should check out Magonia.

Rating: 8/10

Steph is 20 years old, born and raised in Miami, Florida. An avid reader and aspiring author, she oftentimes wishes she were a fictional character. The rest of her free time is divided between watching bad foreign films and partaking in Disney trivia. She can be contacted via Twitter (@Stephest21) or email :
  • Nobody Ramirez

    Thanks for this!