The Weight of Feathers
Author: Anna-Marie McLemore
Genre: Young Adult, Romance, Fantasy
Pub Date: September 15, 2015
Publisher: Thomas Dunne Books
For twenty years, the Palomas and the Corbeaus have been rivals and enemies, locked in an escalating feud for over a generation. Both families make their living as traveling performers in competing shows—the Palomas swimming in mermaid exhibitions, the Corbeaus, former tightrope walkers, performing in the tallest trees they can find.
Lace Paloma may be new to her family’s show, but she knows as well as anyone that the Corbeaus are pure magia negra, black magic from the devil himself. Simply touching one could mean death, and she’s been taught from birth to keep away. But when disaster strikes the small town where both families are performing, it’s a Corbeau boy, Cluck, who saves Lace’s life. And his touch immerses her in the world of the Corbeaus, where falling for him could turn his own family against him, and one misstep can be just as dangerous on the ground as it is in the trees.
The Weight of Feathers was easily one of my most anticipated books of the fall. I mean, did you read that description? A Romeo and Juliet style family feud with of performers, one family who wears wings and climbs trees and another who swims around in mermaid tails? SIGN. ME. UP! When this book finally arrived in my mailbox, I eagerly jumped into this story, ready to be swept away.
Sadly, this was one of those books with a lovely premise and poor execution. Nooooooooooo *shakes fist*
The prose of this book was so distracting. It was filled with pretty, lyrical sentences that said a whole bunch of nothing. It made me feel like there was a bunch going on, but in reality, there wasn’t much to this plot. There wasn’t nearly enough of the performances of both families, and what details there were about it, were written in the confusing, lyrical prose. For a story that claims to be heavy on families, by the end, I felt like I knew practically nothing about either of them.
There were so many side characters in this story, I didn’t know who was who, or who looked like what, or who was related to who. Even with the main characters, Lace and Cluck, I didn’t really feel like I knew them. They felt so plain and average to me, which is definitely not what I expected. If I had to choose a favorite character, I’d probably go with Cluck; he was kind and had a snazzy sense of style. Some of the scenes between him and his brother made my stomach twist when I read them (fellow readers, do you know what I mean? Poor Cluck!) The other POV half of this story was Lace. If I had to pick one word to describe her, it would be superstitious. Even as she progressed throughout the story, she stayed very wary of Cluck. It made me annoyed, because she had all the evidence against what she’s been told all her life, and yet, she still bought into silly stories her family told her. Maybe I’m being too hard on her, but that’s just how I felt.
The romance, once it got on its feet, was sweet. It was one of the redeeming qualities of this book. I liked Cluck and Lace together, even if I don’t understand why they were together in the first place. All Cluck seemed to think about was Lace’s knees, which he made seem like the most tantalizing pieces of flesh ever. And don’t even get me started on this book’s use of the word “breasts.” I swear, it was used at least ten times. But, looking past that, I was rooting for the two of them.
I felt like there was no real plot of this book. The pacing felt off for me, but I can’t tell if that’s because of the prose of the book or the actual plot itself. When you first start reading, there’s a big info dump about the two families and their “feud.” The two families have been enemies since an “incident” many years ago, where a Paloma was killed and the Corbeau’s turf was swallowed by a lake. It’s a lot for the reader in the first couple pages, and it makes the book start off slowly, and it never quite builds up to a nice and steady speed. There’s also two little mysteries hidden in this book. One had a very typical, cliche answer, but the other was more satisfying and tied back to other parts of the story.
This book is marketed as a magic realism type of book, but there was little to no explanation for the magic bits in the book, like the scales that every Paloma has on their body, or the feathers that the Corbeau’s grow in their hair. The “why” was never really answered, leaving me feel unsatisfied. I was expecting a bit of fantasy and instead got just crumbs of it.
Overall, this book was a bit of a let down for me. I thought the romance was cute, but the distracting prose and lack of a plot let this book fall short. It wasn’t a terrible book. It just felt bland to me, and for a book that claims to be anything but, that’s a shame. That’s just my opinion though; if you’re into very lyrical books that’s heavy on romance, then maybe this book will be the one for you.