Publisher: Thomas Dunne for St. Martin's Griffin
Publication Date: September 15, 2015
Source/Format: NetGalley || e-galley
[I received this book from the publisher. This in no way affects the contents of my 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.
I'm seriously impressed with The Weight of Feathers. It is whimsical, with imagination in how magic is incorporated into the details. It is clever, with nods to the original Romeo & Juliet story and deliberate, delightful turns of phrase. I can't say that I've ever read anything quite like this before - and that's a brilliant thing in this case. It was really all too easy to get caught up in learning about Lace Paloma, a mermaid of a girl, and Cluck Corbeau, a bird of a boy, and seeing how their feud between their families sets in motion the series of events that eventually bring these two together.
Lace is a smart, helpful girl who loves her family, yearning for her life as mermaid in her family's show. Cluck is a talented, intelligent guy who is shunned by the family he creates wings for, yearning for nothing but freedom from life on the road with his grandfather. Both have grown up with fear and suspicion targeted at each other's clans, thanks to their elders repeatedly warning them against one another and reminding them of the tragic history that started the feud. The warring between their clans is often brutal, hateful and violent, involving a lot of physical bust-ups, ill-conceived ideas and spiteful commentary.
McLemore's unveiling of the plot is meant to be savored, because it really is ingeniously done. While I'm certain to take my time when I reread, I could not help the need to flip through the pages as fast as possible to discover what would happen next this first time around. The stakes are high for Lace and for Cluck, both as a pair and as individuals. There was such emotional intensity tied to each moment, particularly when approaching the big climax of the plot, and I reveled in every second of it. I'm always awed when a writer is capable of luring me to be deeply invested in the outcome of a story, and that was certainly the case.
Really, the only reservation I had was the fact that I wasn't particularly feeling an intimacy with either Lace or Cluck. But the excellent construction of the plot, as well as the steady rhythm to the text, was more than enough to make up for that! I really enjoyed being immersed in this story, and look forward to reading more from Anna-Marie McLemore in the future.
Thanks to the lovely team over at St. Martin's Press, I get to offer a finished copy of The Weight of Feathers to one of my readers! Please note that this giveaway is US/CN ONLY, and all you have to do is enter via the Rafflecopter form below.