Rating: 2 Stars
Synopsis via Goodreads:
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?
This is the kind of book where I feel a little guilty for not loving it.
I wanted to love it – I really, really did. I tried. I read the first few chapters and was sure I was going to love it and it was going to be a four or five star book for me and I was going to add it to my favorite-2015 shelf, but . . . it just didn’t happen. I . . . I tried. I really did.
I roared through the first 1/3 or so, but then . . . but then I got about halfway, and I had to drudge up some serious mental willpower for that, and then I just dropped the book and didn’t pick it up for a while. I kept looking at it, sitting there so nicely and prettily on my tan leather chair that I use only for reading, thinking about how gosh-darn pretty that cover was . . . and still I didn’t touch it. I dreaded having to finish it.
So you’re probably like, “Well, Hannah, why didn’t you just DNF it?” And I’ll tell you, random voices speaking into my head, that it’s because the writing was. So. Pretty. I loved it. The heroine and nerdy (THANK YOU GOD) love interest kind of reminded me of Hazel Grace and Gus a few times, just because of her whole, you know, inability to breath properly and the fact that they’re both disgusting know-it-alls, but I kind of love that, because I’ve also been accused of being a disgusting know-it-all.
I loved that Aza wasn’t a flightless bimbo who drooled over the other, more muscular (somewhat, kinda) love interest. In fact, there are times when they’re about to have a nice little intimate moment, maybe kiss, maybe canoodle . . . and then Aza laughs. Because she’s just so over it, and this is so cliché she wants to barf, but not really, because that’d be gross. But, seriously, dude, back up, ’cause you may be a finer specimen of the opposite sex, but, boy, I got a little genius, slightly insane, slightly schizophrenic boy back home that I’ve been BBF’s with forever, and, quite frankly, you are not intellectually stimulating. So. There you have it.
And I don’t really understand why I didn’t like this so much – actually, yes, I do. It’s because about halfway through, I got bored. Which is frustrating, because this is the genre that I love the most. Crazy ships in the sky, bird people and killer sharks in the clouds. Yes, please, with a side of sexual frustration. Especially with a nerdy, genius boy who has OCD and enjoys repeating the infinite numbers of pi. Yes. That’s my stuff.
It had all the factors I love, but there were parts when Aza was just a little too accepting of the things she didn’t understand and making blood oaths with her insane mother, that I just wanted to facepalm. Seriously? This is the girl who had a unsated curiosity for everything she didn’t understand? The girl who asked too many questions and would argue for the sake of arguing? Where’d she go?
I wanted Aza to tell her mother to go to hell. I wanted her to listen to all the screaming voices in her head telling her things were not as they appear. I wanted her to not buy into the whole, Oh, we’re the starving, destitute people in the sky who just want to steal some seeds to grow our own food from the poisonous humans bellow who owe us, even though they don’t know we exist. We’re the victims here, therefore everything we do is justified.
Firstly, I literally had to roll my eyes when I realized this was ANOTHER one of those, Oh, look at how humans are killing the environment and poisoning the air and STARVING THE BIRD-PEOPLE IN THE SKY AND THEREFORE ARE DEVILS. ‘CAUSE OBVIOUSLY. GEEZ.
Because this means they should steal the humans’ answer to these problems right under their noses because they’re the ones who destroyed everything in the first place. Yeah, totally okay. Don’t question it, Aza. Totally makes sense as your mother is making other pirates walk the plank. No, no, shhh. Go back to bed, but before you do, here, give me your hand so I can cut it and make you swear a blood oath that you’ll do this for us, even though you’ve only known us for four weeks. Shhh . . . don’t question it.
MAKES TOTAL SENSE. ‘CAUSE OBVI.
I kept being reminded of Castle in the Sky, which should have made me love this. If the overall theme was still there, just minus a good chunk of the middle of the book, this would be rated much higher. Really, I mostly enjoyed Jason’s parts. He’s a hoot to read.