Showing posts with label magonia. Show all posts
Showing posts with label magonia. Show all posts

Monday, January 30, 2017

[Review] Magonia (#1) - Maria Dahvana Headley: Bird Humans and Ableism

In MAGONIA, Aza has a chronic lung disease and suddenly hallucinates (or not?) a ship in the sky.

What intrigued me: Chronic illness and magical realism! Sign me up!

Strange narration and no structure

MAGONIA immediately surprised me with an incredibly unique voice. Aza's narration is very reminiscent of a stream-of-consciousness. It's hard to keep up with the plot, with her thoughts, with everything really, because there is hardly any indication of scene changes. I struggled a lot with the narration, even though it is undoubtedly very memorable and unique. 

MAGONIA uses the justification "it's magical realism, I don't have to explain anything" way too much. It desperately lacks descriptions to even begin to create images in the reader's head. This book can't hide that it has no structure whatsoever, doesn't make sense, and is absolutely weird. The weird thing isn't necessarily something negative, but it isn't a good kind of weird. I had no idea what was happening half of the time, and struggled to even understand the scenes because of the strange narration. It's really a novel that you have to pay attention to very closely to even be able to keep up, and I find that extremely unappealing and not very entertaining at all. 

Disabled people are not your plot device. Stop.

The problem with this book is that it starts out with a fantastic chronically-ill character and instead of celebrating the character's disability - decides to cure them. Could we just not do this generally. [highlight for spoiler]
  Yeah, I get it, she dies and ascends to another plane of existence and then it all makes sense why she was disabled in life because she's secretly a superhuman bird humanoid. Can we just not.
[end of spoiler]

What's the point in writing about disability if you magically cure it halfway in? Imagine how chronically-ill people feel when reading this book. Why couldn't Ava remain sick? This would've made for such a powerful read and I would've celebrated the crap out of this!

Even though MAGONIA technically doesn't deserve such a low rating because of the sheer skill, creativity, and unique voice, I am not supporting this behavior. Don't cure disabled characters for your plot, in fact don't even write about disabled characters at all if you only think it would make for an edgy blurb and brownie points! Just because it's fiction, you aren't allowed to write whatever you want, especially not if it involves marginalized people. Disabled people are not your plot device. Don't write about them if you just think it'll make for a good pitch.

Well, I should've known from the blurb. Describing chronically-ill people as "weak and dying thing[s]". NEXT!




Overall: Do I Recommend?

Absolutely not, I would even go as far as to actively advise against reading it because it's so incredibly, incredibly insensitive. MAGONIA lures with an interesting idea, but is absolutely ruined through its insensitivity and ignorant ableist message. So, at what point do real-life chronically ill people get invited to Magonia so everything will be rainbows and butterflies again?

Additional Info

Published: April 28th 2015
Pages: 309
Publisher: HarperCollins
Genre: YA / Magical Realism
ISBN: 9780062320520

"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?(Source: Goodreads)

Have you read MAGONIA?

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Tuesday, January 12, 2016

2015 Releases I Meant To Get To But Didn't | Top 10 Tuesday

So many great books have been released in 2015 that it's very hard for me to only pick 10. I'm very bad with keeping up with recent releases, so it's not a surprise that my list is veeeeery long.

I haven't read Throne of Glass and probably won't in the near future, but this new release would have been a great way for me to test out whether Maas' style works for me. I didn't buy the book yet and I feel like it's too late now anyways, haha.

9. ANOTHER DAY - David Levithan
Sequel to favorite book, yadayada, you've heard it before.

8. RED QUEEN - Victoria Aveyard
Everyone and their mothers were talking about this book. I have no idea why I didn't get my hands on this.

7. ALL THE BRIGHT PLACES - Jennifer Niven
To be honest, I had no idea this book existed up until the movie was announced. I'll definitely read it before I watch the movie.

6. THE WRATH & THE DAWN - Renee Ahdieh
Man, I'm bummed that I didn't get to this. I love books about evil kings.

5. AN EMBER IN THE ASHES - Sabaa Tahir
Had I seen this in a book store I would have bought it without hesitation. The opportunity didn't present itself, sadly.

4. MAGONIA - Maria Dahvana Headley
Man, I saw this everywhere but I never read the blurb until now and now IM MAD that I didn't read this book.

3. VANISHING GIRLS - Lauren Oliver
I loved Before I Fall and was weary about Delirium, but I definitely wanted to give this a chance. Weird.

2. SAINT ANYTHING - Sarah Dessen
I definitely wanted to give her next book a chance, why does she write so quickly!!

1. SIX OF CROWS - Leigh Bardugo

I'll probably never read her Grisha trilogy but this would have been an A+ way for me to dive into the world without committing to the Grisha books!! Ahh, I'm mad at myself!!!

What's the book that you wish you had gotten to read in 2015?

Top Ten Tuesday is a meme originating from The Broke and the Bookish. Every Tuesday they choose topics that we are supposed to create a list about, considering our personal reading preferences.

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