(Website, Twitter, Facebook, Goodreads)Published by Macmillan on September 15th 2015
Genres: Fantasy & Magic, Love & Romance, Young Adult
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. Beautifully written, and richly imaginative, Anna-Marie McLemore's The Weight of Feathers is an utterly captivating young adult novel by a talented new voice.
As soon as I read the summary for The Weight of Feathers by Anna–Marie McLemore, I knew I wanted to read it as soon as I possibly could. It has a Romeo and Juliet feel but mixes in magic and two feuding traveling performer families who let superstitions drive their actions.
The main characters are Lace and Cluck and I loved how the chapters had a lead in either in French or Spanish…depending on whose perspective it was from and based on the family’s heritage. Lace is a Paloma and her family has a traveling mermaid show that she has recently been added to by her grandmother. Cluck is an outcast in his family, the Corbeaus, but he has learned how to make the wings his family uses in their tightrope walking show. The story is centered on these characters but also the conflict that exists due to something that happened between the families twenty years ago.
As readers, we get glimpses of each of these families separately as well their own interpretation of what happened between them so long ago. I thought McLemore did a wonderful job of pulling me into the story of these families and then ultimately the impact their history had on both Lace and Cluck. Admittedly, there is a twist I never saw coming and kudos to McLemore for being able to pull it off.
When they first meet, neither Lace nor Cluck know that the other is a part of the competing family and I immediately loved how they were with each other. If Lace had known who Cluck was right away she definitely would have walked away a lot faster and by the time she realizes who he is, things are too late for her. Ultimately a disaster at the local plant throws these two together and they begin to build a friendship and more.
Not only did I like Lace and Cluck together, I liked them as separate characters. Lace is smart and not someone who likes to sit on the sideline. Cluck prefers to blend into the background and avoid conflict if he can. I really just wanted to hug Cluck throughout most of the story. I also loved the relationship Cluck had with his grandfather and as the story progresses, it changes.
McLemore does a wonderful job with the flow of this story and reveals pieces of what happened in the past as well as what is going on now at a good pace. I also thought the story itself was written beautifully. I wasn’t entirely sure what I was going to get when I opened the cover of this book but I couldn’t bring myself to put this it down until I turned the last page.
If you are looking for something a little different that includes well-developed characters and a story that will pull you in and have you rooting for the main characters to get their happily ever after definitely consider checking this book out when you can. I will absolutely be checking out any future books by McLemore as her debut is a beautifully written piece of work.
Thank you to the publisher and NetGalley for the review copy!