The Weight of Feathers
By: Anna-Marie McLemore
Release Date: September 15, 2015
Publisher: Thomas Dunne
A copy of this book was provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.
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.
After reading the summary I was excited about the idea that The Weight of Feathers had a Romeo and Juliet feeling about the story- with two people falling in love against all odds and their family’s deep rooted hatred of one another. This story alternated between the point of views of both Cluck and Lace both written in third person. I’m typically not a fan of third person because it usually doesn’t allow for me to connect. I didn’t have this problem at all with TWoF and seeing the story unfold in this way allowed me as the reader to see from both sides how each family functioned.
I was afraid that within the space of one book that perhaps I’d not feel that the families really despised each other and that this division between the two wouldn’t seem enough to keep them apart. Well, Mclemore more than created animosity between the Palomas and the Corbeaus. I was mesmerized by the history and myth each family held on to and believed in. It really created an atmosphere of tension knowing that these two warring families were so easily able to bump into each other around the small town they occupied for their shows. Their relationship with one another really did feel explosive and I was incredibly impressed with how well this feeling came across the pages.
The writing in this book was beyond beautiful and the descriptions incredibly vivid and crystal clear to visualize. I really felt that I was there at both family’s camps. Everything was drawn out so clearly I really was transported into the setting as corny as that might sound. The prose flowed elegantly and smoothly and was really wonderful to read.
This story was very character driven so there were not a lot of action sequences and the pacing could be considered slower if you are more interested in fast action scenes. The depth of the character growth and interactions was delightful and midway through the book I had trouble putting it down.
Another aspect I really enjoyed was the magical realism throughout the book. The Corbeaus are born with feathers and the Palomas with scales. Yes, this sounds sort of crazy but the way McLemore incorporated them seemed plausible and it was very easy for me to accept.
As I said above the characters really drive this story. As the summary states the story focused on Lace Palomas and Cluck Corbeaus. We experienced their life in their family and how it felt for them to work and live in a traveling show environment. I loved seeing the similiarities between the families as well as the differences. The little bits of French and Spanish thrown in really enhanced this feeling and helped to set the family atmosphere.
One small peeve I had- at first I was very hesitant of the nickname Cluck. It pulled me from the story but as things progressed and I was given the backstory as to why it really made sense and stopped bothering me. As a character, I adored Cluck and felt that his quiet stoicism was intriguing as well as heartbreaking in parts. His relationship to his grandfather was so touching to me and I found myself able to really relate to it.
Lace was highly relatable and likeable. I had no problem at all getting behind her story and rooting for her throughout the book. I wanted for her to find happiness. Loving both these characters really helped to enhance my reading experience. Together these two shone. I adored their relationship and I honestly wanted to read much more of them one on one (I needed more kissing!)
The secondary cast filled their roles perfectly and most of them felt very unique and fleshed out. Only a handful of them had much of their back-story looked into but the ones that did really stood out for me.
The Weight of Feathers brought me to tears, had me rooting for the main characters and completely entranced in these two family’s dramas. I felt that McLemore did an exquisite job creating her world and characters and I’ll be reading the next book she releases no questions asked.