13.1.15

Book Blurb Breakdown: Magonia by Maria Dahvana Headley

book blurb breakdown

Book Blurb Breakdown is a Sarcasm & Lemons feature where your anal English degree-holding author (gently) rips apart jacket blurbs to pin down what makes her want to pick up the book instantly--and what makes her want to throw it at the wall.  See the original post for more detail.  




today's blurb

Status:  Unread


the blurb: as is 
from Goodreads

Neil Gaiman’s Stardust meets John Green’s The Fault in Our Stars in this fantasy about a girl caught between two worlds…two races…and two destinies.

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?


the blurb:  shredded 

Neil Gaiman’s Stardust meets John Green’s The Fault in Our Stars (Okay, we're making some strong claims here.  Stardust!? TFiOS?  I mean, I get that Neil blurbed it, but...still.  I get a little eyebrow raisy.  Also, please explain to me how tongue-in-cheek fantasy meets heartwrenching contemporary cancer book?  If it's because of Aza's lung disease only, I will be pissed.) in this fantasy about a girl caught between two worlds…two races…and two destinies.

Aza Ray is drowning in thin air. (Nice, catchy.  I am interested.)

Since she was a baby, Aza has suffered from a mysterious lung disease (Why is it mysterious? This makes me think it was inflicted magically, which makes me wonder, why would you inflict a lung disease?  Seems pretty cold, man.) that makes it ever harder for her to breathe, to speak—to live.  (This is a pretty cool set-up.  I'm intrigued.  Definitely sets up an immediate conflict with the universe.)

So when Aza catches a glimpse of a ship in the sky (So Stardusty!  Cool!), her family chalks it up to a cruel side effect of her medication. (Aw. I now feel bad for her and want to hug her.) But Aza doesn’t think this is a hallucination. She can hear someone on the ship calling her name.  (This is great.  Really succinct, sets up a conflict and a mystery without going into too much detail.) 

Only her best friend, Jason, listens. Jason, who’s always been there. Jason, for whom she might have more-than-friendly feelings. (Yeah, yeah. Heard this one before. Is it even necessary to mention the feelings part? I'd pretty much assume.) But before Aza can consider that thrilling idea (Jason? The ship? Jason on the ship? I'm confused), something goes terribly wrong (This is kind of vague. What was supposed to happen if it went right? It doesn't grab me.). 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. (This is pretty cool. It reminds me a lot of Trial by Fire, where the main character was deathly allergic to pretty mcuh everything on Earth, but this turns to magic powers in the alt world.  But that book was meh so I hope to see it done better here.)  Better, she has immense power—and as she navigates her new life, she discovers that war is coming.  (This is an "and?" Isn't it more of a "but?" It's like, YAY SHE HAS POWER, YAY WAR!) Magonia and Earth are on the cusp of a reckoning (Why? Is there a history here?). And in Aza’s hands lies the fate of the whole of humanity (How come she has this power?  Does she become super special?  Is she caught up with a rebel faction?)—including the boy who loves her. Where do her loyalties lie?   (Um, maybe with her family?  I don't like this last sentence at all.  It's kind of a weak ending for a pretty big set-up.  Obviously we expect she'll have to decide, but this wishy-washy sentence about loyalties isn't strong enough.) 



the verdict 
4/5 stars

would i read it?:  yes 

Claims of grandeur aside (I'm looking at you, first sentence!) it's a pretty good  blurb.  The first half definitely is.  It starts out with very pithy, concrete details that set up a unique conflict.  I mean, potential hallucination ship?  Desperate girl with a deadly disease?  It's the perfect place for some magic, and the blurb also describes it in a very compelling way.  Then we get to the second half and it kind of waffles.  We have the typical best friend love feelings OMG sparkly bit, yeah, yeah.  And then that's sort of lumped in with "Oh, yeah. Something happens. She's in Magonia, yay!"  Which I'm sure does not do justice to what actually happens.  Then it gets better again.  We have this bit about her disease being gone, her strange and amazing power, and it's nice and succinct again.  But then we go back to the wishy washy vagueness.  There's a war!  For some reason!  Loyalties!  It's just kind of meh.  But there's enough meat here aside from the vagueness that I'm really intrigued, so overall, it does the job.  



your thoughts

Does this blurb grab you?  
Do you agree with my thoughts?  If not, how so?  
Do you have any recommendations for blurbs I should shred?  



previous breakdowns 

Love Letters to the Dead by Ava Dellaira
Red Rising by Pierce Brown
Dangerous by Shannon Hale
She's Not Invisible by Marcus Sedgewick
Of Metal and Wishes by Sarah Fine



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