Wednesday, September 30, 2015

The Weight of Feathers by Anne-Marie McLemore

Title: The Weight Of Feathers
Author: Anne-Marie McLemore
Publisher: Thomas Dunne
Release Date:
Sept 15, 2015

The Gist: 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.

Cluck and Lace come from performing families that have been feuding for longer than either of them have been alive.  Each holds a touch of magic and a fear and hatred towards the other.  The families each carry with them a list of crimes committed by the other tracing back to a mysterious flood that took a member from each side.  The fued has been going on for so long that the younger generation doesn't appear to have any idea what it stems from, they simply continue to perpetrate crimes against each other as taught by their elders.  
In the middle are Cluck and Lace.  An unfortunate accident throws them together, though neither knows the background of the other, and they are forced to confront generations of hatred and misinformation.  As their love for one another grows, they seek out the truth behind the flood and an end to the violence.  
The magical families and their history was the most fascinating part about The Weight of Feathers.  Each family creates an air of mystery during their performances, but still take great pains to hide those things that are truly magical about them.  While the Paloma's dance in the water, the Corbeau's dance in the trees, each building fears and superstitions regarding the realm of the other.  Throughout the novel, we piece together parts of history to create a narrative them speaks of terrible tragedy and disasterous decisions. 
While the families themselves created an enthralling universe, unfortunately, the main characters did not.  Cluck and Lace had no real sense of chemistry and nothing in common.  Despite Cluck claiming passion and excitement at Lace's mere touch, it did not come across on the page.  I was interested in the mystery of them, in the mystery of their families and in what the future would bring for them, I just couldn't root for them as a romantic couple.
The plot is a slow and steady burn towards the truth which culminates in the families having to face the reality of their circumstances, however, nothing really seems to change for anyone other than Cluck and Lace.  I really did LIKE this book but, while the writing was lovely and the magical elements were wonderful, there was simply too much riding on a lackluster romance for me to love it.

Teaching/Parental Notes:

15 and up
Sex: Kissing
Violence: Fist Fighting, Familial abuse
Inappropriate Language: Bitch
Substance Use/Abuse: None


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