Author: Maria Dahvana Headley
Standing: Book 1
POV: 1st person by Aza, present tense
Genre: YA fantasy, paranormal
Source: Physical copy
Release: April 28th, 2015
Favourite Line: "Our song is strong enough that Caru and I can fly if we need to. I don't have to try it. I know it's true."
Rating: 5 Stars
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?
✭ ✭ ✭ ✭ ✭
I have never read a book quite like this one before! It is wholesomely unique!
Aza Ray suffers from a disease no one has ever heard of before, one that makes it hard to breath. Five days left until her sixteenth birthday, strange things start happening: the discovery of a feather in her left lung, "hallucinations" of ships in the sky, whispers of her name in the wind. And then she's gone. Gone into the world in the sky, into Magonia. Magonia, where Aza can breath, where she's no longer the fragile girl from before. Magonia, where she can't return home. Only her best friend, Jason, is convinced that she's still alive, and is searching for her from the ground...
Magonia. Ships in the sky. Skypirates, squallwhales, sky sharks, batwing masts, singing things to life and beyond. Absolutely nothing I've ever read of, never dreamed of reading. I love pirates as much as any other girl (cough, has anyone seen Pirates of the Caribbean Obviously I love them!), but this book just took the idea above and beyond what I was used to. The imagination of the author is utterly breathtaking, even if strange and foreign.
Aza's character was awesome. She went from someone who's sullen about the fact that she's dying, to a confused girl, to someone who refuses to do things for others, to do things for herself. She fully understands that there will be consequences, consequences that will no doubt show up in the next book, but she does them anyways because it's right.
To be honest, I think I liked Jason more than Aza. Jason is Aza's best friend, the guy who has chosen to stick beside her every since they met when they were five. He's a genius, the only one able to match the randomness and wittiness of Aza's mind, with a fountain of facts ready to be spoken. He takes Aza seriously, not because she's sick, but because she's Aza. They have pi memorized together, they have infinite ideas, they share philosophies and everything. When Aza leaves for Magonia, Jason refuses to stop searching for her, refuses to give up on her. He uses everything in his power (he has a lot of power and scary connections) to track her down, to solve the mystery of the world above ours. I really wish I had a friend like that, someone who would never give up on me, who would take even the slightest chance and run with it.
The writing was poetic, and the author really captured the snark of Aza. I absolutely loved parts that went like this:
Yes. That is amazing. That is awesome. And the book is full of these neat things.
This book is also filled with beautiful themes and real-life problems. Magonia is a world in the sky...and as we all know, humans haven't been taking care of the skies. Pollution (or "human poisons") are causing squallwhales to sicken (squallwhales are what provide cover for the ships in the sky, making them look like clouds), and nothing can grow in the air (yes, they have plants that can do that!). We also have themes of home, since Aza has two to choose from: Earth, where she's lived her whole life with people who love her, or Magonia, the place she physically belongs in, with a destiny far greater than she ever imagined. I mean, think about it. Say Earth was killing you. And then you discover a place you could go to, where you are the exact opposite of weak, but at the cost of giving up your home and family. What would you do?
I also loved the Magonians themselves. Each have a bird in their chest, called a canwr, and when both sing together, they can sing things to life. Aza happens to be extremely powerful, and is able to sing the unimaginable. Sky to sand, rock to water, free fall to hovering. That is an amazing power, one that I've never read about before. Singing as an equivalent to telekinesis, singing as an equivalent to bending all the laws of nature. It was so cool!
All I know is that I want to sail the skies now, and have the power to sing things into existence. And birds. I think I have a newfound appreciation of birds. I'll be keeping an ear out for their conversations, hoping to hear their readyreadyready singing. I can't wait for the next book, and I'll be watching the skies, hoping to glimpse a ship while I wait!