The Weight of Feathers Hardcover – 13 October 2015
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- Publisher : St Martin's Press (13 October 2015)
- Language : English
- Hardcover : 320 pages
- ISBN-10 : 1250058651
- ISBN-13 : 978-1250058652
- Reading age : 14 - 17 years
- Dimensions : 14.78 x 2.74 x 21.72 cm
- Best Sellers Rank: 271,264 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- Customer Reviews:
The Weight of Feathers is one of the most stunning books I have read in years, and one that I desperately wish I had written. Equal parts heartbreaking, insightful, and charming, it's a truly unforgettable read. McLemore's gift for finding perfectly unique turns of phrase astounds, but equally important is her ability to bring to life fully-realized characters that you'll want to live with long after you turn the last page of this exceptional debut. --I.W. Gregorio, author of None of the Above"Readers beguiled by the languorous language-a striking mix of French and Spanish phrases, wry colloquialism, lush imagery, and elevated syntax-will find themselves falling under its spell. The third-person narration alternates between Lace and Cluck, doling out twists and building to a satisfying, romantic conclusion. A contemporary, magical take on an ever compelling theme." --Kirkus Reviews
Lush, elegant language, peppered with Spanish and French phrases, lends this romance an ethereal feel well suited to the book's magical elements. --The Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books, STARRED REVIEW McLemore's prose is ethereal and beguiling, the third-person narration inflected with Spanish and French words and phrases that reflect the non-magical aspects of the Paloma and Corbeau heritage. The enchanting setup and the forbidden romance that blooms between these two outcasts will quickly draw readers in, along with the steady unspooling of the families' history and mutual suspicions in this promising first novel. --Publishers Weekly In this tale of magical realism, the magic is so deftly woven into the fabric of the story, readers might overlook the more subtle moments. Told with skillful poetic nuances, this Romeo-and-Juliet story of forbidden love will entice fans of Maggie Stiefvater's "Raven Cycle" who wished for a little more romance. --School Library Journal You've never read a love story quite like this... Anna-Marie McLemore has created in entirely imaginative world and rich characters that will pull you in as if she's spinning magic herself. --Bustle McLemore's prose is vivid, with carefully chosen, colourful details giving readers a clear sense of place and character. An air of mysterious fantasy enshrouds the whole book, pulling the reader through it as if in a spell. McLemore is a writer to watch. --The Guardian "A gripping, beautifully rendered story with prose reminiscent of Eva Luna and a fantastical world as captivating as that of The Night Circus." --Sabaa Tahir, author of An Ember in the Ashes Scales and feathers touch and burn in McLemore's stunning debut. The beauty of the language wraps around you, not letting go until long after the final page." --Jaleigh Johnson, New York Times-bestselling author of The Mark of the Dragonfly and Secrets of Solace "Draws us into a world that's magical but still feels very, very real. The writing is beautiful, fluid, lyrical. I never wanted this story to end." --Robin Talley, author of Lies We Tell Ourselves "A gorgeous debut, lush and heart-tuggingly romantic, full of bittersweet magic." --Jessica Spotswood, author of The Cahill Witch Chronicles "An unmissable story... Will leave you enchanted till the last page. Beautiful." --Emery Lord, author of Open Road Summer "A dazzling debut full of imaginative flair, long-buried secrets, and hypnotic power. It drew me in with its gorgeous passages and left me reeling with a fantastical story about love and struggling against the confines of family and creating a life all your own, .--Nova Ren Suma, author of The Walls Around Us and Imaginary Girls
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Original Review published on Goodreads 27/01/17
So this is one of the very seldom times that I don't like a hyped book. Ehh, well no. Unfortunately, I often have problems with books that other people seem to enjoy a lot. I thought this would be absolutely right for me because I love Maggie Stiefvater to death and I thought The Weight of Feathers could be similar.
I do give a very well-earned star to the female narrator. Cynthia Farrell did a great job. I always anticipated her parts of the stories. But that also means that I despised the parts that Kirby Heyborne read. His French was awful. I guess not many Americans realize that but as a German, a direct neighbor to France, I do and I couldn't stand most of his reading with the supposed French accents or the direct French quotes from the beginning. That was very unfortunate because the idea for those quotes at the beginning was quite lovely and totally destroyed by this narrator.
I liked McLemores poetic language and her idea for the two different clans. Her weaving fantasy and reality together was fascinating. I think the story had a lot of fairytale elements. And maybe that was also the reason why it didn't work for me because it was still set in a realistic world. The animosities between Palomas and Corbeaus was always comic-like. Everything was exaggerated and I kept thinking that no rational person would ever be that superstitious or hold such an evidence free grudge for 20 years.
And there was another problem that I had with this book. There was close to nothing at all happening. All the tales and superstitions, that was basically the whole plot. You simply have to add the teenage love story to that and there you go. This was way too simple for me and I would have enjoyed a bit more action.
So overall, The Weight of Feathers just wasn't my cup of tea but I'm sure there will be lots of people that are delighted by this intriguing mixture of fantasy and love story. I would simply recommend to read the book and not let it be spoilt by the poor male narration.
I had read Anna-Marie McLemore's Blanca & Roja earlier for my book club and I liked it well enough, but I wasn't blown away. One of the main reasons I was looking forward to reading it was that their language was supposed to be lush and beautiful, I was thinking something like Catherynne Valente's prose. But I had bought all their books because I was very into the idea of magical realism.
I have a lot of free time on my hands lately (please don't ask), and I decided to revisit their works, this time with their earlier novel. I was expecting the same topics they usually wrote about, for the novel to include queer characters, but this one didn't, which disappointed me.
In this novel, we have the Palomas and the Corbeaus, two traveling performing families each using different skills. The Palomas don tails and swim, presenting themselves as mermaids to the towns they visit; the Corbeaus wear giant wings and climb trees, walking the branches as easily as breathing.
Each family also has their distinctive marks about them: The Palomas have escamas in certain places, but do not show them off to the patrons of their shows because they are a gift from the river goddess. The Corbeaus have feathers growing out of the back of their heads.
(I'm gonna stop right here and say that you could remove this element from the story and it wouldn't lose anything. Aside from a few times where Lace is trying to fit in with the Corbeaus, her escamas don't really serve a purpose. She thinks about them quite a bit in the beginning of the novel. While Cluck's feathers are more important to the story, they don't come up that often in the middle chunk of the novel.)
So we have Lace, who's just being allowed to join the Palomas' river shows, and Cluck, who's horribly abused by most of his family because his feathers are black with a tinge of red. And they meet. I'm sure you can guess where this is going.
But, by God, was it beautiful. I know I said their prose didn't catch me with Blanca & Roja, but here it was lush, beautiful, enchanting. It was so pleasing to read a book written like this. I do have to admit though that I would pick the book up, read it in chunks, and then put it down for days. Probably more to do with my current situation than interest in the novel, but yeah.
Also, I feel like the book dragged a little after Lace left her family? I'll get into that later.
Back on topic. The Palomas and the Corbeaus have been feuding for a few decades, since a mysterious event at the lake in the town both families are performing in killed a member of each family. Until this event, it was a friendly rivalry, after it became a blood feud.
The night the novel begins, Lace goes into town to get something to eat and notices her cousins beating up a local boy. She pulls them off him, helps him up, and he follows her to the store. Later that night, she notices black feathers with red shot through.
Even later that night, the plant in this town has a meltdown due to a problem Cluck's grandfather warned them about decades ago, and it begins raining acid. As Cluck is attempting to help save another member of his family, he finds Lace with her clothes burning into her body and decides to help her. As she's laying in the hospital, she finds out he's a Corbeau and furiously sends him away. When she recovers, her family finds a feather burned into her forearm and decide to disown her, leading Lace to join up with the Corbeaus, undercover, for some work.
It's a bit predictable, though I kinda enjoyed the romance here. Neither character felt like they had already fallen in love with the other before the story started. Cluck comes to realize he loves Lace over the course of the story, and Lace realizes that Cluck is different than his family.
I'm gonna end this by asking what time period this book takes place in. It felt very 50s-60s, but then there were things that felt present day...
It's a lovely book and wonderful introduction to McLemore's works, so I highly recommend it.