The Weight of Feathers by Anna-Marie McLemore is everything a magic realism novel should be. It seamlessly weaves together magic and reality and a familial dispute for the ages until a beautiful novel about love and life and accepting yourself emerges.
This book was released on 15th September 2015.
This review may contain mild spoilers for this book (What I consider spoilers might not be what you consider spoilers but I thought that I’d put it out there just in case). READERS YE BE WARNED!
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.
Why did I wait so long to read this book!?!? The Weight of Feathers was an absolutely magical read, I honestly couldn’t put this quasi-Romeo and Juliet retelling down.
Like I said before The Weight of Feathers is kind of a Romeo and Juliet retelling except the main characters are older and there is no tragicly stupid death at the end. Actually, the only parts that are like Romeo and Juliet are the “star-crossed lovers” and the feuding families parts. Other than that I’m not sure I would classify it as a retelling. Either way it doesn’t really matter because the story was absolutely amazing! Reality and the magic was woven together seamlessly to create an amazing backdrop for the tale and the pacing was perfect, not too fast but not too slow.
Instead of a paragraph (because I am lazy) here is a list of a few things that I think you should know about the characters (both major and minor):
- There are two families: one is French and the other is Spanish/Mexican.
- Both Cluck and Lace are POC and many of the characters deal with deformities and/or disabilities.
- Many of the minor characters have a big influence over the events in the story.
- The families are kinda mafia-like. They are super close knit but also know the hierarchy and the younger ones don’t cross their elders.
- Despite the “close-knit” description from the point above, both protagonists are hated/disowned by their families due to a disability or superstition.
- There is no insta-love at all which makes me SO INCREDIBLY HAPPY YOU HAVE NO IDEA!
I mentioned this earlier but I must say it again, I was super impressed with how the author wove together the magic and fantasy aspects of her story with the reality of the characters being part of travelling performances. With the two different families being French and Spanish there were also a lot of French and Spanish words being used which I adored and made it feel all the more real, even though I had to google translate some of them.
At the end of the day, I really think that this is a book that everyone should read. It is just that good. Even though you have just finished reading this review, thus making this part kind of irrelevant but I would recommend going in blind and just experiencing the novel in all its amazingness without too much prior knowledge of the plot and/or characters.