The Weight of Feathers

the-weight-of-feathers


Title: The Weight of Feathers

Author: Anna-Marie McLemore

Series: N/A

Publisher: Thomas Dunne

Release Date: September 15th 2015

Rating:

Four Stars

The Palomas and the Corbeaus have long been rivals and enemies, locked in an escalating feud for more than a generation. Both families make their living as travelling 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 magianegra, black magic from the devil himself. Simply touching one could mean death, and she’s been taught since 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, The Weight of Feathers is an utterly captivating young adult novel by a talented new voice.

– Blurb courtesy of goodreads.com

My Thoughts On…

…The Plot

“Each feather became ten more. They spread like a thousand red lacewings. They rose like every one was its own bird, full and winged. They turned the trees to autumn, all red-feathered boughs.”

After finishing When the Moon Was Ours, which is my favourite magical realism book of the year so far, I moved The Weight of Feathers to the top of my to-read list. While I preferred When the Moon Was Ours The Weight of Feathers was still a brilliant magical realism book; it’s a wonderful story, with amazing characters and a fair bit of enchantment. Anna-Marie McLemore has become one of my auto-buy authors now, anything she writes will go to the top of my to-read list and I can’t wait to see what she comes out with next.

Lace is a Paloma, one of the two travelling performing families. During the day she helps her great-aunt make the costumes and helps her cousins with their make-up but each evening she dresses in her mermaid tail and, together with her cousins, puts on a performance for the locals. Cluck is a Corbeau. Their act is performed in the trees, and with the wings Cluck creates they dance like fairies through the branches.

After something that happened years before, resulting in two deaths, the Paloma’s and the Corbeau’s have been bitter enemies. They each believe the other family is cursed but when Lace gets caught out in the poison rain and one of the Corbeau boys touches her to take her to the hospital Lace herself becomes cursed. She is thrown out of her family and with nowhere to go, believing she owes Cluck something more to get the feather burn on her arm removed, she goes to the Corbeau’s to try and make amends.

“It hurt, his hands on her burns. It stung like a hot shower, pins of water and steam stabbing in. She was ready for it. The sting reminded her she was a body knitting itself back together. It was why she liked his hands on her. His wrecked fingers knew how to handle something ruined.”

Unlike Lace Cluck is not part of his families performance. He is despised by everyone, seen as cursed because the feathers that grow in his hair are tinged with red and not pure black. Instead he hides away with their wings, creating them for their shows and seeking refuge from his brother and mother. Cluck doesn’t realise Lace is one of the Paloma’s. All he sees is a local girl who needs his help, who he enjoys spending time with and who he wants to keep around.

The more time Lace spends with the Corbeau’s the more she sees a different side to them; she sees the magic and wonder in their shows, and she sees the kindness of Cluck and some of his cousins. However as a Paloma Lace knows if she is discovered they will kill her, and she knows her feelings for Cluck are the quickest way to get her into trouble.

…The Characters

“She smelled like halved apples and the new metal of sewing needles and a little like cinnamon.”

Lace is loyal to her family and her abuela, who runs the family. She believes all of the rumours about the Corbeau’s and their magic; she has been taught to avoid them, to fight them if necessary but never to touch them for fear of their curse spreading. But after her stay at the hospital, when a burn in the shape of a feather appears on her arm, Lace believes she has been cursed by Cluck. She believes the only way to get rid of the burn, and return to her family, is to earn his forgiveness.

Despite throwing away some of her families superstitions as she spends more time with the Corbeau’s Lace still is a Paloma first and foremost. She still believes once day she will be able to return to her family and become one of their mermaids again.

“He was beautiful in ways that made him ugly to his family.”

Cluck has never really belonged to his family. When he was nine his fingers were broken by his brother and ever since then his left hand has been crippled. His whole life he has been beaten by his older brother and ignored and scorned by his mother but he sees a life away from the Corbeau’s as some distant dream, too far for him to reach. Cluck is unaware of who Lace really is, he sees nothing more than a local girl who he likes spending time with.

The relationship between Cluck and Lace is one that develops slowly. Lace is terrified of Cluck, and his family, finding out who she is but she needs his forgiveness and she is determined to earn it. The more time she spends with him the more she sees past the rumours and whispers her family have shared about the Corbeau’s and their curse.

“The scar on her forearm meant she could never be loyal to her family. Her name meant she could never be loyal to the Corbeaus. The only one left to be loyal to was him.”

The relationships both Lace and Cluck have with their individual families are very similar. Both bow to the whims of the matriarchal figure who runs the family with an iron fist and takes no nonsense from anyone. Both Lace’s abuela and Cluck’s mother are strong characters, but in the way that beat down the people who dare to stand against them.

There is a lot of tension between both families; because of something that happened long before Cluck and Lace were born the two families have been at war with one another. No one is sure what really happened, the Corbeau’s blame the Paloma’s and the Paloma’s blame the Corbeau’s, all it has done is foster generation after generation of hatred between the two families. Hatred which comes to a head in the few weeks both families are at Almendro at the same time.


I haven’t read many magical realism books, but if the ones still on my to-read list are anything like Anna -Marie McLemore’s works then it’s going to fast become a favourite genre of mine. The Weight of Feathers was a wonderful book focusing on Cluck, Lace, their families, and the curses which have haunted them for so many years now.

If you’re looking to jump into the magical realism genre I would highly recommend either of Anna-Marie McLemore’s books.

What did you think of The Weight of Feathers? Was it a favourite of yours or could you just not get into the story? Let me know.

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23 thoughts on “The Weight of Feathers

      1. Normally I just look at Goodreads, and where it says what genres a book is, there is normally magical realism written there. But I guess while reading it’s a book that has magic but couldn’t really be classed completely as fantasy.

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  1. This one has been on my TBR for a long time, longer than When The Moon Was Ours. I didn’t even know the same author wrote both until I followed her on twitter recently. I might have to move this one up my TBR as well because your review has me wanting to read it really badly. I’ve never ventured into the magical realism genre, as you know, but this one in particular sounds like one I could fall in love with. The character’s seem so memorable. Although it’s seems a bit Romeo & Juliet-esque (which I love) the whole magical aspect you describe is so intriguing. So many books I want to read asap but so little time! Lovely review as always, Beth! 😊♥

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    1. It’s only been on my to-read list for a little while actually, I only discovered it through another review on WordPress a little while ago, but after finishing When the Moon Was Ours I just had to pick it up. The reason I added When the Moon Was Ours was because the author has written this book actually! 🙂
      It’s a great book, and a perfect one to use to venture into magical realism as well I think. It definitely has some Romeo and Juliet aspects but I liked the characters in The Weight of Feathers a lot more, and I would have enjoyed Shakespeare more if he’d included more magic too! 😀
      I know that feeling! 🙂 I really hope you enjoy this book Melissa, and thanks. I’m glad you enjoyed my review as well! 🙂 ❤️

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      1. I didn’t absolutely love Shakespeare’s stuff, but I also didn’t dislike it. I agree with you though! I would have enjoyed it more if he had included more magic. It would have made some of his stuff way more interesting! But yeah I definitely plan on trying to pick this one up before the end of the year. I might do what you did and marathon read this with When The Moon Was Ours. 😊

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      2. The only of Shakespeare’s works I’ve read is Julius Caesar and yeah I was not a fan of that one! I don’t even think the addition of magic would have saved that story for me.
        That’s a good idea, I enjoyed both books and I think reading them together just made them that little bit more magical. Plus I think it’s easier to get into the whole magical realism genre if there’s other books you’re reading around it in the same genre!

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      3. I’ve had to read quite a few of his works for school and Julius Caesar was probably one of the one’s I liked the least. I didn’t hate it completely but there were parts I didn’t like. I also had to read the infamous Romeo & Juliet and loved it at the time but now not as much (I think I love the movie with Leonardo DiCaprio more than the play 😂). I did enjoy Twelfth Night though, that one wasn’t so bad 😊.
        Well I’m definitely going to do that then! I do find that when I read a certain type of book or genre that I want to dive into something similar afterward if I really like it. 😊

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      4. Julius Caesar was pretty much the only one in high school but I do remember reading A Midsummers Nights Dream and MacBeth in primary school. I enjoyed those two a lot more I think! I haven’t read Romeo and Juliet, which I find kind of weird given it’s one of the more popular ones.
        Yeah, that’s why I tend to go through periods where I will read only books of a certain genre. I’ve been on a bit of a YA contemporary kick at the moment! 😀

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      5. I’ve read A Midsummer Nights Dream as well and I remember loving the faerie aspect – when I picked up The Iron Fey I loved how it was an allusion to that in the sense that there were characters that transcended over from Shakespeare’s play. But the general story of the actual play was so odd and I remember skipping ahead a lot 😂. I probably would have never read Romeo and Juliet if it hadn’t been a required reading for school.
        Same! I’m stuck in contemporary world because of review books but at the moment I’m dying to finally pick of ToG and go back into fantasy for a while. 🙈

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      6. Honestly I remember none of A Midsummers Nights Dream, except there were fairies and they played pranks on two couples. I have The Iron Fey series on my to-read list but haven’t picked it up yet, I’ll need to soon!
        See that makes sense because now I’m no longer in high school I’m never going to pick up Romeo and Juliet, and I know for a fact I would have never picked up Julius Caesar if I hadn’t had to.
        I’ll be going back to sci-fi/fantasy very soon though, and I’m actually looking forwards to it so my binge read of YA contemporaries worked to get me over my book hangover from EoS! 😀

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      7. It’s a really great series! I loved it so much. I actually have my mom reading it now 😂. Whenever you do pick it up I hope you enjoy it. 😊
        I wouldn’t have either.
        Same! I was in such a fantasy slump before I had to read all of these contemporaries and now I can’t wait to dive back in. 😊

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  2. I hadn’t heard of this book before I read your review, but this is really interesting. I don’t think I’ve read a synopsis quite like this. I don’t read a lot of magical realism since I usually just read straight up fantasy when I read books about magic, but I need to add this one to Goodreads. Great review and thanks for a new recommendation! 🙂

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    1. Honestly this book isn’t that well known, I only discovered it thanks to a review I saw on WordPress ages ago!
      I won’t say I read a lot of magical realism but I think if you like fantasy you’ll like this genre as well. It was certainly the case for me and Anna-Marie McLemore is a great author to start with too, her books are just so amazing.
      Thanks Jill, and that’s all right I hope you enjoy this book as much as I did! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

    1. I feel it could be the universes (or WordPress’s at least) way of telling you you need to pick these books up as soon as. That’s how I feel when I see reviews of books I need to read! 😀
      It’s a really good book, not as good as When the Moon Was Ours in my opinion, but still an amazing magical realism story. 🙂

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