The Weight of Feathers – Anna-Marie McLemore
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.
Review: The Palomas and the Corbeaus are warring families of circus performers. The Palomas put on tails and perform underwater while the Corbeaus wear wings and dance in the trees. The families usually avoid one another, but one day, a disaster brings Lace Paloma and Cluck Corbeau together. They begin a forbidden romance that could tear their families apart.
I have mixed feelings about this book. There are some elements that I absolutely love and some that I feel more “Meh” about. First, the book is beautifully written. There are some repetitive descriptions (everything tastes like salt for some reason), but overall the writing is strong. It’s my favorite part of the book. It’s atmospheric, and the imagery it creates is stunning.
I also really like the cultures of the characters. The Palomas are Spanish and the Corbeaus are French-Romani. The author incorporates Spanish and French words in to the narrative. The characters’ cultures and superstitions are a big part of their lives. It makes the magical realism elements of the book more believable. The reader always has to wonder if the curses could be real because the characters believe in them so strongly.
I’m not a huge romance lover, but the romance is handled well in this book. Cluck and Lace are both very sweet. They really do seem to care about each other. I like that the author shows how living with an overbearing family can damage a person, and I think the book ends perfectly. The ending is exactly what I wanted. I was so happy for Cluck and Lace. This book puts a unique spin on the classic Romeo and Juliet love story.
Even though I enjoyed this book, I did have a lot of issues with it. I never felt like I was fully immersed in the story. It didn’t capture my attention, and the book was very easy to put down. I think my problems came from a mixture of underdeveloped characters, slow pacing, and a lack of worldbuilding. I got confused fairly often because some of the scenes are hard to picture, and it’s difficult to keep all of the characters straight. Family trees would have been great. Knowing more about the world would have also helped with my confusion.
This isn’t my favorite book, but I still think it’s worth reading, especially if you love magical realism. I’m interested to see what the author writes next. She’s definitely a talented writer.