Obligatory disclaimer: This review contains mild spoilers.
Let me start by saying this: Magonia was one of my favourite reads of 2015. It was eccentric and full of magical elements infused with scientific facts. The writing made me feel like the whole time I was soaring with Aza on a personal cloud of mine, leaving behind reality for quite a bit when I was reading Magonia.
I know everyone has dreams of flying, but this isn’t a dream of flying. It’s a dream of floating, and the ocean is not water but wind. I call it a dream, but it feels realer than my life.Magonia by Maria Dahvana Headley
So when I heard there is a sequel along the way I felt over the cloud! I added Aerie when it didn’t even have a title to my wishlist and started counting down days to read it. There came a cover of Aerie equally as pretty as that of Magonia’s which by the way was just perfect from cover to cover.
But then the reviews from other Goodreads members started to pour in. I got a little nervous because I didn’t want to base my opinion regarding whether my friends enjoyed Aerie or not. So I avoided Aerie’s book reviews like the plague because of spoilers.
Finally, I started reading it after delaying it for so long. The author did a great job giving some snippets from Magonia that helped me remember details from the first book. I was becoming less and less sure about the story, the further I read it. Magonia was such a whimsical read for me I didn’t want to stain my memories of it based on Aerie. My gut was telling me that it will not live up to my Magonia-like expectations of it.
Long story short- My gut feelings were proven. I didn’t enjoy that book at all. Never once it got my heart beating by the plot twists and got me awed by the magical element of it. Jason was insecure and thought the whole time that Aza was going to leave him. (I felt all the feels for him, I still like him and agree that it justifies what he did to protect Aza) and Aza was stuck between choosing the life she was meant to be living and living inside one she was unknowingly forced to live.
Dai acted like a mindless robot but then suddenly questioned the authority, switched teams by helping Aza out while a few minutes ago he was beating Aza’s boyfriend into pulp. The heck? It was just too fast for my brain to handle.
Dai’s character had so much potential, but he was only reduced to this angst-filled, mopey young man. We didn’t even get to see much of him in the book. Also, I didn’t particularly appreciate how the author ended the story of Heyward. She was by far my most favourite character in the book, and I was rooting for her to at least meet her real family; instead, all she got was to die a terrible death. I couldn’t stand it at that point. Heyward’s death caused me to let my feelings die for this book. Thus, Just like the case with The Mediator series by Meg Cabot in which the last book felt like a terribly written fan fiction. Magonia will remain standalone for me.
*Flying off to listen to Crystals by Of Monster and Men because I’m sure it was written just for Aza*