Monday, 7 September 2015

Review: The Weight of Feathers by Anna-Marie McLemore

Publication Date: September 15th 2015
Publisher: St Martin’s Press/Thomas Dunne Books
Length: 320 pages

Huge thanks to Netgalley and St Martin’s Press/Thomas Dunne Books for sending me a copy in exchange for an honest 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.

This is such a stunningly beautiful book, one that I’ve been excited about for most of the year. It has it all – lyrical prose, subtle magic weaving its way through the narrative, and star crossed lovers.

I didn’t quite know what to expect when I started reading, and I liked having no expectations or preconceived ideas of what I might find. It was like unpacking a present, being surprised and enthralled by all the little pieces of plot sliding together to create a beautiful story, the characters evolving and growing into real people.

It’s a story about magic, unexplained raw and fascinating magic in the form of Sirenas – the Paloma girls who swim through water as mermaids in their travelling act, blessed with a love of water and swimming and the ability to stay under until the tourists watching truly believe they might be mermaids. And the Corbeaus, no fear of heights, a love of being up in the highest branches of the trees tumbling and dancing with the feathered wings of their costumes rippling in the wind. Just those two families and their acts are stunning, but once you start adding in the family feuds, the secrets, the lies and the history it evolves into something complex and fascinating.

I loved Lace and Cluck, the views into their families and their fascinating lives they offered. The history, the traditions, the beliefs and hierarchy that comes with each family. The melding of their cultures with their family histories and attitudes. They were such gentle people, enfolded into this aggressive feud and desperately trying to find themselves and their own ways in life.

The only reason that this wasn’t a full five star read is that whilst it was beautiful and lovely, I never felt like I was truly connected to the characters. I felt like I was watching this magical spectacle unfold from a distance, when I wanted to be right in the middle of it with the smell of the makeup and feathers tangling in my hair.

However despite that one bump in the reading experience, I really love it. It’s a beautiful story, diverse, magical and completely unique to anything else I’ve read. A stunning debut novel, and one of my must read novels for September.
If you liked ‘The Night Circus’ by Erin Morgenstern then this is a must read. It has the same magical quality to the writing, lyrical and soft, subtly creating a truly engrossing and moving narrative that weaves around you until you are thoroughly ensnared.

No comments:

Post a comment