Review: Aerie by Maria Dahvana Headley (Magonia #2)


Aerie by Maria Dahvana Headley // VBC ReviewAerie (Magonia #2)
Maria Dahvana Headley
Published: Oct. 4, 2016 (HarperCollins)
Purchase: Book Depository or Amazon
Review source: copy provided by publisher in exchange for an honest review

Reviewed by: Amy

Rating (out of 5): 4 stars

Note: While this review will be spoiler free, it will reference the previous book. If you haven’t yet this series started, check out VBC’s review of book 1, Magonia.

It’s been a year since Aza Ray Boyle returned to land from Magonia in another borrowed skin. She has everything she wanted: the love of her best friend Jason, her family back, and a life where she’s not dying every day. Things are normal. But now that Aza knows who she really is, what she’s capable of, the things she can do, she can’t forget that. She still sings with her heartbird Caru, but she also longs for the sky.

Jason is so happy to have Aza back, but in that happiness lies an undeniable paranoia. Jason was there when he lost Aza the first time when she died. He can think of no greater pain than losing her a second time. He sees how Aza looks at the sky, up at the clouds. He knows she’s still communicating with her heartbird. He also knows that Magonia wants Aza back. Will do anything to get her back. So Jason, being Jason, obviously has a contingency plan in place. But this contingency ends up backfiring in the worst way possible. It just may be the thing that breaks Jason and Aza.

Meanwhile, Aza’s maniacal birth mother Zal has escaped, with the help of Aza’s singing partner Dai, from the Magonian prison in the capital of Maganwetar. Zal Quel is still set on her mass destruction of all the drowners on Earth. In her megalomania she might just destroy everything, Magonians and drowners alike.

When I read Magonia earlier this year, I was just completely blown away. The mythology, the imagery, was so beautiful. Aerie gives readers more of the same, albeit expanded upon, and I was more than happy to go back to this amazingly interesting world.

This series, these two books, are Aza’s story. In Magonia, Aza is basically introduced to what she truly is. Yet in Magonia Aza was used as a pawn by her mother trying to harness Aza’s song for her own devices. So pretty much Aza’s teachings were deceptive, they tried to tailor her song to death and destruction. In Aerie we see Aza struggle with what her song actually is, in other words, we see her trying to find her own voice; which can also translate into Aza trying to find herself. She’s kind of caught in the middle. She loves her Earth life: parents, sister, Jason. But she’s tethered to so much in the sky, including her heartbird Caru. We see Aza figure out if she can fit in both places, and if she wants to fit in both places. But one thing she knows for certain is that she must stop Zal Quel.

My conclusion is: the two books in this series tell Aza’s story perfectly. Personally, I felt some of the secondary characters were a little flat here. This is especially true for Zal Quel. Villains are always so interesting in fiction, but I felt that even by the end, the why of Zal Quel’s actions were still unclear and hazed over. Maybe we’ll get more stories told in this world. The vastness of Magonia is thoroughly felt, and while I’ve enjoyed reading Aza’s journey, I would equally love more exploration and maybe to delve into the history a bit.

Overall, these two books together have been a surprise of the best kind. If you’re looking for a different type of world, look no further than the Magonia series.

Sexual content: references to sex

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