Title: Aerie

Author: Maria Dahvana Headley

Series: Magonia, #2

Publisher: HarperCollins

Release Date: October 4th 2016


Four Stars

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

This review may contain spoilers for previous book(s) in the series.

My Thoughts On…

…The Plot

“Maybe I don’t have everything, but that doesn’t mean I’m not reaching for it. Good morning, world. This is the new version of Aza Ray, walking between the edges, balancing on the impossible still wearing a flight suit and a pair of unlikely boots.”

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.

“I’m in the dark again, this time without a song to save me, and then dark is everything I see, everything I know.”

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.

…The Characters

“I am the master of my fate:
I am the captain of my soul.”

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.

“My future is flight, says my brain as we rise.
I’m a hoax, a dying boy who’s grown wings.”

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.

“Maybe love is just that, and only that. The choice you make. And so, you choose to love. You choose to give it all up, to surrender your scared self and live in this mystery.”

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.

…The Setting

“We fly past constellations, past shooting stars, past asteroids, past parts of the sky that are burning. The wind is high and it burns my face. We tilt and then slide fast across clouds, just us and our flock of a million birds, out in the sky.”

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.

18 thoughts on “Aerie

  1. Pingback: escreversonhar
    1. Yes there are definitely a few spoilers in this review for the first book so if you plan on picking up the series one day don’t read it in detail. But yeah Aerie was better for me than Magonia was, the plot had better pacing which made it easier to get into.
      Oh yes those covers are beyond gorgeous aren’t they? 🙂


  2. Great review! I felt like the odd man out because I really did like Magonia. But then Aerie came out and I was surprised and happy to read it because it definitely outdid Magonia in a good way. Headley’s writing is so weird at first but it grew on me so fast.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks so much, oh I have seen some reviews for Magonia from people who loved the book and on one hand I agree with what they’re saying but on the other there were just a few things I didn’t enjoy as much.
      I do agree that Aerie was much better. It just felt like the plot was better paced and the characters even further developed. 🙂


  3. First, I have to say that the covers to these books slay me. They are so gorgeous! And it’s good to hear that the author improved on the pacing of the story and that the characters are developed a bit more. I was really hoping the otherworld would be just as exciting and fantastical as the covers promise it would be; it’s disappointing to hear that the author isn’t putting in more effort to build up Magonia. It seems like it would have loads of potential to be something extremely unique. I hope the world-building improves in the next book! Lovely review, Beth!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh they are beyond gorgeous. I have both books on my shelves now simply because I couldn’t resist the gorgeous covers.
      Compared to Magonia the pacing of the story was miles better in Aerie, things seemed to happen quicker and there was a definite beginning, middle, end to the story as well which I think also seemed to get a bit muddled in Magonia.
      I would have loved it if Magonia itself had been more developed, but as with the first book it just felt like it was there but not at the same time. We didn’t get any deeper background into the people, the culture, the history, anything.
      Thanks Azia. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Well, it’s good to hear that the story has improved from the first book, but very disappointing that Magonia itself is still not fully developed. Hopefully, the author takes a bit more time to build up her fantastical world in the next book! I’ll definitely be looking forward to that, and I also can’t wait to add another pretty book to my shelves lol.

        No worries! ❤

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Yeah it’s something I hoped for in this book as well but was left disappointed by in the end. I guess at least I can say the story improved a little and that was something on my list for this book you now?
        Is there a next book? I didn’t know there was but then again I though Magonia was a standalone so who knows? 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

      3. Oh! I thought there was going to be another book, but there might not be. Even so, I’d be happy to have just two of them on my shelves, simply for aesthetic purposes. I thought Magonia was a standalone, too! So, I was really surprised to see your review on a second one haha

        Liked by 1 person

      4. I’m honestly not sure myself. I thought Magonia was a standalone until they released Aerie. Now I think it’s a duology but that could change if they release a third book one day. There was an open-ish ending to this one so it’s possible! 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

  4. Hurray for better pacing and continued character development! Shame about the continually weak world-building, though. I’m definitely more likely to get my hands on Magonia now, though, knowing that the sequel was enjoyable despite its own (lesser) flaws. Great review! =)

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yeah overall there were more part I enjoyed in this book than I did in Magonia, but unfortunately the world-building just wasn’t there and that aspect of fantasy books is one of my favourite parts.
      Ohh that’s great to hear! I hope you enjoy both Magonia and Aerie, and if not that they won’t be as bad for you as Obsidian is turning out to be! 😀

      Liked by 1 person

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