cover image Magonia


Maria Dahvana Headley. Harper, $17.99 (320p) ISBN 978-0-06-232052-0

Terminally ill from infancy, Aza is willing to accept that she’s dead. There’s a container of ashes to prove it. It’s on Earth, along with Jason—the boy who she’s long loved and who loves her in return—and every other familiar touchstone of her brief, angry existence. Yet Aza is very much alive on the massive Magonian airship Amina Pennarum, with a piratical captain, who declares herself Aza’s true mother, and a crew of jays, robins, owls—and one screaming ghost. Headley, who co-edited Unnatural Creatures with Neil Gaiman, riffs like an improv comic through the factoids of a Google age, giving her characters retentive memories and lightning search skills. Like the best improv, the first-person narration is funny, furious, and vulnerable. The haunting conclusion leaves many issues unresolved, but the ferocious, intelligent power of Aza and Jason’s bond is completely affirmed. Sweeping, strange, and built around a richly imagined world of chimerical bird-men and airships, the novel is ideal for fans of Laini Taylor’s Daughter of Smoke & Bone and its sequels. Ages 13–up. [em]Agent: Stephanie Cabot, Gernert Company. (Apr.) [/em]