If you look at the sky that way, it’s this massive shifting poem, or maybe a letter, first written by one author, and then, when the earth moves, annotated by another. So I stare and stare until, one day, I can read it.
Reading this series takes me back to those nights where I would stay up late and watch those old Disney movies from the 2000s. It always felt like magic to me because I was staying up way past my bedtime. And Magonia brought me back to that feeling of being a child again – where I would believe in the magical and the beautiful.
I have never encountered a concept so lush and so original as Magonia’s. With each chapter I was fascinated with the world and mythology that Headley has created seemingly out of thin air (much of the series is based on the real Magonia). Basically, you have a girl with a mysterious lung disease that kills her breathing who happens to be half bird people that can sing like destruction in her wake. And Magonia or the world above ours, where these bird people inhabit and cause the weather phenomenon. I was mesmerised to the point wherein I would actually look up for ships hidden in the clouds.
Besides the premise, the writing was another highlight for me especially in the first book. Headley writes the way I like my YA: witty, smart, and downright hilarious. Like this one from Magonia,
Yes, I’m a reader. Kill me. I could tell you I was raised in the library and the books were my only friends, but I didn’t do that, did I? Because I have mercy. I’m neither a genius nor a kid destined to become a wizard. I’m just me. I read stuff. Books are not my only friends, but we’re friendly. So there.
Headley’s whipsmart writing works well with (look at this alliteration) our protagonist, the snarky and unapologetic Aza Ray Boyle. I really, really enjoyed reading her character so much. She’s dying but she’s still laughing is what I would describe her – definitely one of my favourite voices in YA of all-time. I also liked Jason, her quirky bestfriend and they have some of the best dialogue in the series (again another plus for me).
Also, this book is full of birds and bird people called Rostrae who have super singing powers. At first all the info dump is hard to take in but once everything clicks in, it’s a whirlwind ride.
Now if and if you’ve read Magonia and don’t know if you should read Aerie, by all means go for it. I should also probably note that these books are paced quite slow but they’re eventual page turners. Though overall, Magonia is much more fun whereas Aerie dialled down the charm and settled for serious things.
To conclude, I think this series is something special. There’s nothing like it out there. And it’s a story for all ages. I say go for and read.