Author: Maria Dahvana Headley
Series: Magonia, #2
Release Date: October 4th 2016
Where is home when you were born in the stars?
Aza Ray is back on earth. Her boyfriend Jason is overjoyed. Her family is healed. She’s living a normal life, or as normal as it can be if you’ve spent the past year dying, waking up on a sky ship, and discovering that your song can change the world.
As in, not normal. Part of Aza still yearns for the clouds, no matter how much she loves the people on the ground.
When Jason’s paranoia over Aza’s safety causes him to make a terrible mistake, Aza finds herself a fugitive in Magonia, tasked with opposing her radical, bloodthirsty, recently-escaped mother, Zal Quel, and her singing partner, Dai. She must travel to the edge of the world in search of a legendary weapon, the Flock, in a journey through fire and identity that will transform her forever.
– Blurb courtesy of goodreads.com
This review may contain spoilers for previous book(s) in the series.
My Thoughts On…
After finishing Magonia I was eager to start Aerie. Despite the problems I had with the first book I was still interested to see where the story went, especially after everything Aza and Jason went through and discovered. Aerie picks up a year after where Magonia left off where Aza has fitted seamlessly back into her old life, or so it seems. Her parents and her sister know the truth about who, and what, she is and as always she has Jason by her side.
However there is still a large part of Aza that craves the sky, craves the home and the peace she felt in Magonia opposed to being on Earth wearing a skin that’s not hers and struggling to breathe. Aza worries about the day her mother and Dai will come back for her, so when her sister mentions that someone saw ‘Aza’, someone who looked like the dead girl they buried more than a year ago, Aza knows there is only one person it could be.
While Aza has been dreaming of Magonia Jason has been preparing for the day Aza’s life there catches up with her again, or so he thinks. Thinking he is protecting her Jason ends up leading her enemies right to her, enemies Aza didn’t even know she had on Earth, and enemies who are more than equipped with everything they need to keep Aza their prisoner and bring Magonia to its knees.
With help from a very unlikely ally Aza manages to escape from Earth and flee to Magonia, but Magonia is not the same as it was when Aza left it. Zal has escaped from prison and alongside Dai she is launching her attack, not just on Maganwetar but on the Earth and all the Drowners. Aza finds herself in the middle of a civil war which looks to become so much more than that. Knowing she is the only hope against Zal Aza finds herself searching for a legendary weapon that can take down her mother once and for all.
But there are dangers Aza isn’t aware of, and while she may have left her life on Earth there are two people who haven’t been left behind. One of the main issues I had with Magonia was the pacing of the plot, the first half was too slow and it didn’t leave enough room to develop the second half of the plot, leaving it feeling rushed and unfinished. Aerie did not have that problem. We’re more aware from the beginning who Aza’s enemies are, and what journey she will be going on to face them. Overall Aerie was a much better paced story.
Aza Ray believes she has what she wants, back on Earth with her family and Jason, but there is still a large part of her that craves the sky. She wants to believe that she can fit in with the Drowners again, like she did before she knew about her Magonian heritage, but it almost feels like Aza’s life is not her own anymore. Instead she is forced to change who she is at her heart to fit in on Earth again, and she still has to live with the ghost of the old Aza who died on Earth what feels like a lifetime ago.
Despite her contentment on Earth there is a part of Aza that has been preparing for something to happen, and when she believes Heyward is back and possibly after the people Aza loves she can’t not react. Aza has never really thought much about the state of Magonia after she left, through Zal and Dai hardly leave her thoughts. Aza only saw a small part of Magonia and doesn’t yet understand what happened there in her absence, how bad it has become for the people there.
Jason is forced to completely re-evaluate who he is in Aerie. Everything he does he does to protect Aza but instead he makes the wrong choices and ends up betraying her to an enemy he wasn’t aware she had. In the beginning of Aerie Jason loved Aza and seemed to want to hold her to him, worrying about the day she may leave him for Magonia again, but as he chases after her once more Jason is forced to face the repercussions of his actions and forced to re-evaluate himself and his feelings for Aza.
We saw a lot more of Eli in Aerie. Now that she knows the truth about her sister Eli believes someone will try and take her away again, and she is determined to be ready for that threat when it comes down from the sky. In their own way Aza, Eli and Jason have all been preparing for Magonia’s next move, but when Zal makes it they are all woefully unprepared. The development of the characters in this series has always been one of my favourite parts; I only wish we’d seen more of Heyward. She was such an interesting character in Magonia and though we got to see more of her in Aerie it felt like her story was cut off too soon for us to really get a feel for her as her own character.
We get a lot more added to the world in Aerie; there are more characters and more creatures, and so much more of the world to explore, but at the same time there was no deeper development to the world than there was in Magonia. I’ve read magical realism books where aspects of the fantastical new world are left to the imagination, where there are holes in the world building but it’s written in a way that allows your own imagination to fill them. I think that’s what Maria Dahvana Headley tried to do with Magonia and Aerie but all it did was leave me with too many unanswered questions.
Despite having some mixed reviews I did enjoy this series. It had its issues but it was an enjoyable story and I felt Aerie took what was started in Magonia and developed it into something much more. While the world building was a little lacking I felt some of the character development more than made up for that.
What did you think of Aerie? Was it a favourite of yours or could you just not get into the story? Let me know.