Looking To The Skies



Screen Shot 2015-04-03 at 4.47.08 PMThere comes a time in every readers life when they stumble upon a book that challenges their ability to form a logical (let alone complete) sentence. Whether it’s the plot, or the characters that live inside the plot, the only thing that comes to mind is:

What did I just read?

For a reviewer, this sentence is the kiss of death. It dampens our ability to sound sane while explaining why we loved “said book” so much. But…at the same time it elicits excitement.

“What do you mean ‘what did you just read?’ That’s not a review…that is a copout!”

To which I say fair enough. But, you have been warned. This review might indeed be what some refer to as: a hot mess

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?

At the risk of sounding like a squealing teenage fangirl, I LOVED this book!! It’s not your everyday fantasy, it’s more than that. It’s the dreams I had as a child. It’s everything beautiful about escapism reading. It’s inventive, and invigorating, and just flat out WEIRD! (Which I have to admit is a limited-edition gem in YA lit today.) It’s also incredibly difficult to discuss without giving away its secrets. Alas, I will try. 

The story itself is really quite wild, and (like I stated above) I found myself on more than one occasion wondering what the hell I was reading. However, that simple thought, the… “what the hell am I reading?” made me WANT, no…CRAVE the next page. And I’m so happy that it did. This book was equal parts Neil Gaiman and Philip K Dick. It was fantastical and heartfelt. It was blood pumping and mystifying.

“Magonia” was so full of awe inspiring moments that I found myself having to stop and talk about it with a friend just so I could understand what was going on. (Though, I’m not so sure SHE knew what was going when my texts went something like: “It’s so F’ing brilliant/weird/heartbreaking/entertaining/WTF! There really is no better way to describe it. There are flying boats/super sharks/OCD boys/bats as big as ships/evil baby snatching drowners/lung birds/rock summoning war cries!) I’ll spare you the rest, because I start to sound a bit psychotic, but you get what I’m saying. 

It is a perfectly woven web of everything that makes fantasy worth the ride it takes you on. 

That said (cause there’s always a ‘but’ isn’t there) there are a couple of idioscynracies (that I thoroughly enjoyed about this book) that I’m convinced others might claim to have serious issues with. For instance, information dumps. (At least two on every page.) Here’s an example of what I’m talking about.

“It’s the brain amplifying neural noise in order to look for missing signals. For example, if you look at a clear blue sky without context, you start to hallucinate. Look at snow too long, and you’ll see cities.”


“The students of Pythagoras used to go into dark caves and stay there in order to bring it on. Wisdom out of nothing. Astronauts say they see the same thing. And Artic explorers.”


“The proper name for the North Star is Cynosure, names after a nymph. It’s a scipsteorra, “ship star,” for navigation. In some of the old stories (give it up for the many peculiar and awesome philosophers of the 1600s – in this case, Jacques Gaffarel, and no, I can’t explain how I happened upon him….cont.”

Both of the main characters (Aza and Jason – who dual narrate Magonia) are rather manic in their dialogue. They are also obsessed with random facts. (ie: they spend a lot of time on wiki doing research about nonsense.) That shows in the writing. The dialogue will hop back and forth in sync with the characters looping train of thought. Some paragraphs are one word sentences. Some are two or three words. When reading it to yourself it makes the character seem out of breath, or easily distracted. (Much like Mafi’s characters did in “Shatter Me.”) I find this endearing, it illustrates the panic in the brain of the character you’re reading about. But it can be irritating. And can cause hatred towards a book that is somewhat phenomenal in its making.

The characters are very complex in their make-up. Meaning: they don’t talk (or for the most part even act) like normal teenagers. They talk with parentheses (signifiers if you will.) That may not make sense to you, but if you decide to read this book it definitely will. There are a plethora of gaps, hashtags and ‘&’ symbols inserted for the sole purpose of intellectual instinctivity. (Yep, pretty sure that’s not even a word.) What I mean is…the readers brain fills in the blank with what THEY are feeling from the characters. It’s a fascinating way to build characters without putting everything in black and white. In a way…Aza and Jason are very reminiscent of John Green’s overly-intellectual characters. And from where I’m sitting…there’s nothing wrong with that.
In short (because Lord knows this review has gone on for way too long already) I was bowled over. Thunderstruck. Enraptured. I was a toddler the first time they ever experienced the natural high of sugar. I couldn’t sit down. I couldn’t stop shaking. And I wanted more. MORE I TELL YOU!!! 
It’s important to note that there WAS NOT a cliffhanger ending to this novel, BUT…there is plenty of room to continue the story if Headley feels so inclined. If she does, I’ll be the first one in line for a copy.
Fantasy fans of all ages, SNATCH THIS ONE UP!!!
Happy Reading my fellow Kindle-ites and remember: I [[[[{}]]]] You.
Add it to your Goodread shelf / Amazon wishlist 
Publication Date: April 28th
Rating Report
Overall: 5

About Misty

Your friendly neighborhood narcissist. I'm sarcastic, cynical and a bit cranky. I own a soap box so big that sometimes I have difficulty stepping down off of it, and I'm about 94% certain I have multiple personalities. I don't sleep enough, and I read more than any person should ever consider normal. I have anger management issues, especially when I'm stuck in traffic and I have an unhealthy obsession with my Kindle. I am a vampire lovin', zombie obsessed, book-in-hand, iPod freak. You either love me or hate me. You be the judge.