I have been looking for this kind of book since I finished reading The Night Circus for the tenth time. Whimsical and dark, unexpected, and balancing between dream and awake, this book is just what I wanted and needed. Mermaid scales and feathered wings, illusion and magic – this book has exactly the right amount of whimsy and heart to sweep you away for a good while.
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.
Beautifully written, and richly imaginative, The Weight of Feathers is an utterly captivating young adult novel by a talented new voice.
This book is exactly what I was hoping it would be – magical, beautiful, a little sad, and populated with characters who feel very real. It reminded me of a The Night Circus because it felt like reading a waking dream. I often questioned what was real and I was somewhat puzzled by the expectation that some mysteries have no answer, but I really loved the way this felt like a modern fairytale. Rival families with a whole mythology of superstitions and prejudices about each other are responsible for raising Lace and Cluck. Their lives parallel in so many ways, but the small differences develop them into just the person that the other needs. I really enjoyed the ebb and flow of their relationship, and the imagined betrayals and gentle kindnesses add up to a very believable romance. As characters, they have both flaws and strengths, and that made them feel like real people who I cared about deeply. The plot, too, is carefully crafted to reveal just enough to keep frustration low without giving it all away until the end. There is a lot of tension that ratchets up a notch every time a new piece of the puzzle is unearthed from the murky past, and that made for such an engaging and surprising read. Some readers won’t like the whimsy and uncertainty of the unfamiliar world where this story is set. Others will scoff at the unlikely and inexplicable things that happen courtesy of magical realism. However, if you adore a story where illusion and magic swirl and bleed into each other, you will certainly enjoy The Weight of Feathers. I am adding it to my classroom library wishlist because I know my high school readers will enjoy the depth and reality of the romance and the beautiful backdrop in which it is set.
I received an ARC from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.