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The Weight of Feathers

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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.

320 pages, Kindle Edition

First published September 15, 2015

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About the author

Anna-Marie McLemore

28 books3,162 followers
Anna-Marie McLemore writes stories as queer, Latine, and nonbinary as they are. They are the author of William C. Morris Debut Award Finalist The Weight of Feathers; Wild Beauty; Blanca & Roja, one of TIME Magazine’s 100 Best Fantasy Novels of All Time; Indie Next List title Dark and Deepest Red; Lakelore, an NECBA Windows & Mirrors title; and National Book Award longlist selections When the Moon Was Ours, which was also a Stonewall Honor Book; The Mirror Season; and Self-Made Boys: A Great Gatsby Remix. Venom & Vow, co-authored with Elliott McLemore, is out in May 2023 from Feiwel & Friends, and their adult debut The Influencers is forthcoming from Dial Press in 2024.

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Displaying 1 - 29 of 1,297 reviews
Profile Image for karen.
3,978 reviews170k followers
September 1, 2018
He held a wet palm to her cheek. "I don't want you getting hurt."

"Everybody gets hurt," she said. "You know that."

this isn't the most "me" of all books, but i can definitely see its appeal for people who enjoyed books like Beautiful Creatures or The Night Circus or other stories featuring star-crossed lovers from feuding families with a fantasy/magical slant.

i snagged this one from netgalley because i liked the cover, i'd been hearing good things about it, and i've had good luck with circussy books so far this year (Church of Marvels, The Book of Speculation). plus, a boy with feathers growing under his hair?? that made me recall the heartbreaking feather-based magical realism of The Strange and Beautiful Sorrows of Ava Lavender, so i was sold! but this one definitely falls heavy on the "romance" side of the genre-spectrum, which is not a side i have ever been thrilled to find myself.

but if that's your bag, you may enjoy this one.

it's about two families: the french-romani corbeaus and the spanish palomas (avian imagery abounds), who are competing groups of traveling performers, independent of a circus or carnival. the corbeaus don giant wings constructed of wire and peacock feathers and climb trees and dance through the branches like bird-fairies while the palomas wear iridescent tails and perform in the water as sirenas, or mermaids. the families are extremely insular and superstitious and they each have specific genetic anomalies - the corbeaus grow feathers at the base of their hairline while the palomas have a scattering of scales somewhere on their bodies.

the two families have been at odds ever since an event twenty years in the past resulted in a death from each family; deaths each family blamed on the other. their feud has been sustained for all these years, with each generation being cautioned against physical contact with their enemies - to touch a member of the other family, or in some cases, to be touched by something the family owns, is to become cursed, unclean, and measures have to be taken to cleanse the taint.

-Fighting was the only safe way to touch a Paloma. Half this family believed if they ever let a Paloma brush their arm or bump their shoulder, they'd wither and die like wildflowers in July sun. But fighting was safe. The rage made it true and good. The anger and honor of defending this family shielded them like a saint's prayer. Hitting and kicking were safe. Anything else could bring sickness.

-Lace knew the danger of touching a Corbeau. Her abuela said she'd be better off petting a rattlesnake. But these feathers were not the Corbeaus' skin. They didn't hold the same poison as a Corbeau's body.

sabotage has also occurred over the years - petroleum jelly smeared on tree branches or nets placed in the water, which have resulted in injuries on both sides.

so what happens when a paloma girl and a corbeau boy meet and fall in love? why, this book is what happens.

almendro is the town where their conflict began, and it is the sole point of overlap between the families' tour route each year. it is in this town where fate puts cluck corbeau in the path of lace paloma. neither of them realize at first that they are from enemy camps, but once they do, it is too late - sparks have flown, attraction been cemented. both cluck and lace already had tricky relationships with the rest of their families (cluck much more so) and this relationship, when it is discovered, further complicates their standings within their families. sides are taken, accusations fly, and secrets kept for twenty years are exposed. the prominent themes are loyalty and pride, family and love, and the way grudges can be sustained and the past manipulated and ingrained into family lore to justify animosity.

each chapter opens with an aphorism in either french or spanish, translated into english below. the novel itself is peppered with french and spanish phrases, also largely untranslated. naturally, i loved the frenchy bits - both the language and the little jabs at my peeeeeeeople:

-…Lace's mother told her that tourists probably couldn't even take their children to the Corbeaus' show. "They're French," she said. "I bet they take their clothes off halfway through."


"You're blushing," she said. "I thought you were French."

"Not that kind of French."

the romance elements are more strongly developed than the magical ones - i still don't really understand WHY cluck has feathers or what lace's mermaid-scales do, other than "that's how this particular family is identified." neither the feathers nor the scales have magical powers that enable the families to perform their acts - they still need to construct theatrical elements to wow the crowds and they can't fly or breathe underwater, so their presence is strictly cosmetic and narratively extraneous, especially since they go to such great lengths to conceal these marks.

the palomas …used …plastic coins, sheer as beach glass, to cover their birthmarks. Their escalas were not some spectacle to be displayed in the show. Apanchanej, the river goddess who had blessed them with their love for water, had given them these marks, and they were not to flaunt them.

while …the blond Corbeaus coated their dark feathers in flour, to hide them. The show was all costumes and peacock feathers, lights hung in trees, tightrope walking. La magie of their bodies did not belong to the gadje, the people who were not like them.

there's no reason this story couldn't have been told without those elements, except that it adds a little fantasy zest to the love story.

and the love story itself is sweet, if you are a fan of romance, but there's such an overemphasis upon smells and tastes, especially of salt, it started to annoy me. everything is salt. if you don't believe me, here is a sampling.

He left the taste of black salt on her mouth. The woody flavor of charcoal. The sugar and acid of citrus peel. The soft metal of iron.

she has a preternaturally sophisticated palate, this one.

later, …the taste of violet-black salt still under her tongue.
and They carried the violet and ash scent of black salt.
and Her tail reminded him of raw pink salt.
and The metal-and-earth scent of violet-black salt.
and The black salt smell of his hair and sweat.
and She wanted to remember how he smelled, the salt and the cottonwood bark.

oh my god, enough with the salt already!!

there's also a repetitive emphasis on white and black, la magia negra/la magie noire, crow and dove. i'm not sure why there was so much bird imagery on the paloma side, since their performance has nothing to do with birds or flight. or why mclemore didn't just use a white aquatic bird like a swan if she wanted to get all birdy. unless "cisne" is not a credible surname.

but that's just me being complainy. i did enjoy a lot of the writing, especially when it was focused on the fact that these two characters were so damaged, physically and emotionally. i thought this was lovely:

It hurt, his hands on her burns. It stung like a hot shower, pins of water and steam stabbing in. She was ready for it. The sting reminded her she was a body knitting itself back together. It was why she liked his hands on her. His wrecked fingers knew how to handle something ruined.

and overall, it's well-written, but i value strong world-building over fantasy romance, so this one wasn't my particular cuppa. romance fans - clamber aboard, fantasy fans - catch the next one.

come to my blog!
Profile Image for Shelby *trains flying monkeys*.
1,573 reviews5,902 followers
September 13, 2015
I have a feeling I'm gonna get trolled for giving this one two stars.

I'm going to admit I am not cool enough for this book.

Shut up little Emo boy. I'm the cool mom. I bribe my kids to say so.

So you have Palomas and the Corbeaus families. They are both traveling performing families. They hate each other. I mean loathe each other.
The Paloma's act is the women are the mermaids in the show and they best do their jobs or Abuela will get them. You just don't cross that woman.

The Corbeaus used to be tightrope walkers. Now their act is sorta tree climbers extreme. They also grow feathers out of their heads.
I think of them as a cross between this:

And this:

The main characters are Lace Paloma who is one of the mermaids and Cluck (YES! that is his name) is one of the bird boy tree walkers. Of course they meet and fall in lurvvve.

Their families are going around trying to sabotage and beat the snot out of each other.

You know this little romance is just Romeo and Juliet doomed.

I would give this book points for being original and the writing is not too bad.
You have that touch of magic that makes you think these curses could come true, those feathers of death will get you every-time.

Booksource: Netgalley in exchange for review.

Review spotlight: Spotlighting reviewers so that the popularity contest around this joint gets evened out.
My friend Elyse is such a sweetie. She liked this book much more than I did plus she is much nicer than I am. She even likes me! Go show her some love <3

500 reviews2,414 followers
September 23, 2018
more by anna-marie mclemore:
when the moon was ours

5 Words to Describe The Weight of Feathers

1.) Engaging (adj.): very attractive or pleasing in a way that holds your attention.

"One does not wed hens with foxes."

You all know how much I hate flowery prose, but Anna-Marie McLemore made me fall in love with it. This book just had the perfect blend of easy-to-read and elegant writing. I mean, you could tell that the author writes some kick-ass prose that's still totally comprehensible and engaging.

It was really hard for me to put the book down--I read until 1 am even when I had to wake up at five the next day, just wanting to get more of McLemore's beautiful words.

Also: THE TWIST IN THIS BOOK. Asdfghjkl. Very engaging indeed.

2.) Whimsical (adj.): playfully quaint or fanciful, especially in an appealing and amusing way.

"Raise crows and they will peck your eyes out."

The actual story was just full of whimsy and charm--it was easy for me to get lost in all the magic and mayhem going on in every single page. The elegant writing definitely added to the authenticity of it all.

The fantasy aspects in the book were both adorable and sophisticated at the same time, which might not make a lot of sense now, but you'll get me once you read the book. (Why yes, I'm totally assuming you're going to read this book because you can't resist it.) Anyway, this sophisticated adorableness works wonders the the plot!

3.) Honest (adj.): free of deceit and untruthfulness; sincere.

"Tell me who you're with and I'll tell you who you are."

I'm happy to tell you that the main characters in this book are far from perfect--in a good, realistic way of course! Our hero Cluck is crippled and always armed with a busted lip courtesy of his brother. Our heroine Lace has a huge, red scar on her cheek. But the thing is, these imperfections just made these characters more lovable and a lot easier to empathize with.

Their families were also a far cry from picture perfect. Each of them had family members who weren't so understanding, and a few who would accept them no matter what. There were also many lies and secrets between families, which added to the ingenuity of the book.

4.) Swoon-worthy (adj.): feels-inducing. The romantic kind. (via me)

"Forbidden fruit is always the sweetest."

PEOPLE, THIS SHIP. I love it more than I love my life-size teddy bear. Not kidding.

Cluck and Lace just had so much chemistry! The romance wasn't really slow-burn, but it was paced absolutely perfectly. I never felt that things were happening to fast or without a reason, and GAH, I just wanted to squish their faces together and super glue them there. Okay, maybe not--that sounds kind of disturbing. But you get my point.

The angst made me cry, too. Bonus points because book crying is the best kind of crying.

5.) Gorgeous (adj.): dazzlingly beautiful or magnificent. (via Urban Dictionary)

"He who makes himself an ewe, the wolf eats."

Overall, I highly, highly--HIGHLY--recommend everyone to pick up The Weight of Feathers if they want some impeccable writing, truthful characters and relationships, an exquisite romance, and a hint of magic.

Profile Image for ❄️BooksofRadiance❄️.
603 reviews731 followers
April 24, 2019

I was initially sold on this when someone compared it to The Night Circus. It was nothing like the Night Circus. Aside from the fact that both are magical realism and involve a travelling circus crew, they couldn't be further apart.

I'm having trouble understanding my own feelings on this book so I’ll try my best to come across… understandable.

So, the story is about two rival families, the Palomas and the Corbeaus, who have been rivals and enemies locked in an escalating feud for over a generation.
Both families make their living as travelling performers in competing shows-the Palomas swimming in mermaid exhibitions, the Corbeaus, former tightrope walkers, performing in the tallest trees they can find. Oh, and did I mention the two star-crossed lovers, Lace & Cluck from opposite sides of the families at the centre of it all?

What I liked:

The setup of Lace and Cluck:

There were lots of Romeo & Juliette comparisons in some of the reviews I'd seen and read which put the ultimate fear in me (not for the reasons you suspect) because I'm not the biggest fan of R&J so my initial feeling was that it was going to be full of sappy and gooey, ‘only death shall part us’ lovefest that I did not care for. I was pleasantly surprised to see none of that gooeyness in here.
It felt, or more accurately, Lace and Cluck felt... mature and the pain of being outsiders or the black sheep of their families was portrayed in a way that didn’t feel overdramatic yet enough to make the reader feel for them, particularly Cluck. Their circumstances and personalities were well crafted, however, the arc of their friendship felt more real (to me) than their romance.

The feud:

When I first read ‘feauding families’ I thought, sure, how serious of a feud could it be? it is a love story after all. It’ll probably surround some rumours or minor disagreements that'll be taken out of proportion and be labelled as ‘feud” or… something ridiculous that would take a back seat to Cluck and Lace’s story.
I couldn't be more wrong. These people don’t mess around! Their hatred toward each other was so raw and brutal that even the slightest association could get a family member banished as if they never existed. I'm talking, deaths, assaults, serious injuries, sabotage, and many members of each family have either been perpetrators, victims, or indirectly affected. Serious? Suffice it to say, yes.

What I really appreciated was the comparison and contrast between the two families, especially how each family thought the worst of each other, yet both were more than willing to do unthinkable things to their own people. I very much loved this aspect but also had some issues which are better explained down below.


Now here’s where my little heart started going… ‘not that again!’. 😔 I loved Cluck so so so much that I wanted the entire book to be just about him (yes, then there’ll be no plot. I get it but the heart wants what the heart desires).
Cluck'd always felt left out in his own family his whole life, beat up by his older brother, Dax, always being loved less than Dax, never being allowed in the show, always being looked down upon and made to feel less-than on the daily basis and he'd never exactly understood why. I was so engrossed by his story that whenever the perspective changed back to Lace, I wanted to rip the pages right out of the book and never get back to it.
Which brings me to my next point. I had quite a rocky road with Lace, which, now that I think about it, is what hindered my connection with her because, to me, she was a hindrance and only served to get in the way of Cluck's story, therefore, I didn’t feel the connection with her as I did with Cluck, nor did I feel the romantic connection between them.

The one other character that I found to be so interesting and memorable was Cluck’s grandfather and I wish there was more page time with him.

What I didn’t like:

Too abrupt:

I liked the novel and I enjoyed it to a certain extent but if there’s one word I would use to describe it, it'd be - abrupt. Can the plot of a book be slow and yet feel so rushed at the same time? Because that's how I feel right now. Everything was so abruptly narrated and sealed that when it ended, I still felt like there were plenty more things I'd yet to understand.

The feud:

One of my biggest issues here is that I still don’t know what really started the feud. Throughout the book, we’re told how much they hate each other, what they did, and continue to do to each other but not how it all started. What was the origin of the animosity? How did it begin? That wasn’t really explained.

The ending:

Okay, what was that? No.

Overall, it was a fun read and I really did enjoy my time with it aside from a few issues that, as it turns out, ended up being the driving force of the entire narrative.


I give in.
The poster child for the weak-willed coming your way!🙋‍♀️ 🤦‍♀️

There’s a random powerful force pushing me toward this book. Which I’ve heard nothing about until very recently and I can’t function until I’ve scratched this itch.

Ohh, I’m gonna be so pissed off if after all this back and forth, it fails to leave up to my high expectations. 👀

I give in.
The poster child for the weak-willed coming your way!🙋‍♀️ 🤦‍♀️

There’s a random powerful force pushing me toward this book. Which I’ve heard nothing about until very recently and I can’t function until I’ve scratched this itch.

Ohh, I’m gonna be so pissed off if after all this back and forth, it fails to leave up to my high expectations. 👀

I give in.
The poster child for the weak-willed coming your way!🙋‍♀️ 🤦‍♀️

There’s a random powerful force pushing me toward this book. Which I’ve heard nothing about until very recently and I can’t function until I’ve scratched this itch.

Ohh, I’m gonna be so pissed off if after all this back and forth, it fails to leave up to my high expectations. 👀
Profile Image for Elle (ellexamines).
1,084 reviews17.5k followers
May 10, 2020
Why her?
Because it was hard to make her laugh, and harder to scare her.

When I finish a magical realism book, I always feel as if I enjoyed it, but I can never quite articulate why. If I struggled to push through a book, can I even say I enjoyed it? I've had the same experience with books like Maggie Stiefvater's The Scorpio Races and Moira Fowley-Doyle's The Accident Season. and I think I've come to the conclusion that this genre requires a certain mood out of its readers. While you can appreciate the strong character growth and quality writing, magical realism is all about connecting with the reader, in some undefinable way.
He and Lace were sewn of similar fabric, the raw edges of their families' cloth.

The Weight of Feathers follows the children of two competing families who fall in love. It's a bit of a Romeo-and-Juliet dynamic. But without all the death. And with far more character complexity.

The characters are clearly the star of this book. Lace Paloma and Cluck Corbeau are both complicated. At times they're both full of anger and hard to like. Their relationship almost demands your interest with its slow development. Even the side characters are instantly believable with strong voices. Some are despicable, some hard not to hate, but all feel real and rounded.

I also appreciated the writing and atmosphere. Anna-Maire McLemore does such a good job bringing the town to life that the odd storylines of the book somehow feel normal. This is how these characters live.

Essentially my only complaint is that this book takes too long to get going. Yes, I love slow-build plots as much as the next person, and the slow-build plot works to its best here. But I still spent around half the book wanting things to just get going. Adjust your expectations— this story is a slow build to an interesting conclusion, not a fast-paced ride.

VERDICT: If you can tolerate the slow pace and adjust your expectations, this is a fabulous book and absolutely worth reading. I'll be checking out McLemore's other books for sure. (For some reason I read their only not-gay one first, which just seems out of character for me??) Honestly, if you want more positive thoughts, check out Cait @ Paper Fury's review.

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Profile Image for Darth J .
417 reviews1,252 followers
Shelved as 'could-not-finish'
September 29, 2015
DNF @ page 100

The Weight of Distracting Purple Prose

This book is nothing like The Night Circus!!! Stahp comparing it.

So we have 2 warring family of traveling performers. One swims in fake fish tails and pretends to be mermaids, while the other wears wings and does some tightrope act. Here's the twist: the "mermaid" family actually has some scales on their skin and the other family has feathers growing out of theirs.

There's supposedly some dark magic here but what it really just seems like is some skin conditions and coincidences. I love me some magical realism books, but at 1/3 of the way through it's just mundane. At least Garden Spells had some real supernatural things going on, and the Marina's Tales series had actual mermaids. This book is just another in a long line of books with great blurbs and covers, but really nothing entertaining between the pages.

I'll just skip over the whole Montague/Capulet thing, because that trope is so freaking tired that Maleficent needs to just give it a spindle to prick its finger on already.

Speaking of foolish, I think many people who believe that the "writing is beautiful" here don't see through the illusion of purple prose masking the clichéd plot and flat characters. The pretension of trying to make everything sound lyrical weighs heavily and distracts from the fact that there isn't much going on at all. While I think it's great in theory to have characters from other backgrounds, italicizing every non-english word does not round out dull characters or a listless plot. It's all smoke and mirrors to try to dazzle you into thinking there's more to this insubstantial and disappointing book.

Perhaps I will pick this book up again one day, but for now I just don't have the patience for another Night Circus wannabe that doesn't live up to its description.

Profile Image for booksnpenguins (wingspan matters).
757 reviews2,309 followers
April 18, 2020
We are not small enough that you can pull us where you want us to go.


I only have one word for you, Anna-Marie McLemore: THANKS.
This novel is everything I've ever wanted in a book, and way more.
Fantastic writing (that kinda reminded me of All the Crooked Saints by my goddess in leather bracelets Maggie Stiefvater...or is it the other way around?), beautiful and original magical realism and amazing characters.
I'll forever cherish this tiny gem and keep it close to my heart for coming days.
Romeo & Juliet meets The Little Mermaid meets The Ugly Duckling, and together they give life to this heart-warming and feels-packed adventure of love, magic and self-discovery.
I wish all the books I'm going to read in the future were at least a bit like this one.

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Profile Image for Elyse Walters.
4,002 reviews35.9k followers
August 20, 2015
WOW... A Fantastical Tale!!!!! Just yesterday, I was high as a kite reading "Haroun and the Sea of Stories", by Salman Rushdie...(a Children's magical fairy tale), and
today, I'm swooning over "The Weight of Feathers, ( debut by Anna-Marie LeLemore).
This novel has a tribal feeling such as in "The Round House", by Louise Erdrich, to me with
and inventive cast of characters and scenes. It has a Romeo and Juliet feeling to it also by the
fact that two teens fall in love - but their families hate each other. Their families are rivals
and are divided by superstition and passed beliefs.

This novel shines for many reasons: the descriptions, and dynamic prose are beautifully and powerfully weaved together.
Exquisite and magnetic writing....with a little French and Spanish.
"She was ice as cake, her eye shadow the mauve of new lilacs. Painted wings spread from the bridge of her nose across her eyelids and temples. Rhinestones glinted at the corner of her eyes. The blue and bronze peacock feathers on her back ripplied like wheat".

"El mejor nadador es del agua"
"The best swimmer is from water"

"After the show you make yourself pretty and show your tail, her grandmother said. Left and take pictures of you".
"What?", Lace asked. Only 'Abuela's' favorite mermaids draped themselves on rocks
after the show. "Why?"
Abuela's put her hands on Lace's shoulders and dressdown, but she did to bless her when she was sick.
"Una oveja que arrea a Los vale mas que la lana," she said.
"The sound didn't break that squish of fruit and or the man's hands.
" A sheep that herds wolves is worth more than wool".

This is a finely nuanced novel, examining old family traditions and beliefs which have been passed down for generations, assumptions about others without truthful facts, stubbornness,
evil spirits, and it addresses every day problems and social conditions. It's a parable, a cautionary tale.... the deeper understanding about the complexities of being a human being.

This is an outstanding Young Adult book. It has all the components which make great storytelling with flawed but sympathetic characters whom to root for wholeheartedly.

Thank You St. Martin's Press, Netgalley, and Anna-Marie McLemor, (an outstanding new author), for the pleasure and opportunity to read this book.

Profile Image for Tadiana ✩Night Owl☽.
1,880 reviews22.7k followers
February 25, 2018
3.5 stars. Review first posted on www.fantasyliterature.com:

The Romeo and Juliet story is updated with a few twists in Anna-Marie McLemore’s debut young adult fantasy novel, The Weight of Feathers, published September 15, 2015. Two rival families travel between small towns in California in a nostalgic setting that seems to be approximately the 1960s, performing their Cirque du Soleil-type acts for the townspeople.

The French Romani Corbeaus (“Ravens”) attach wings made of wire and feathers to their bodies and perform acrobatics in the treetops.

The young women in the Latino Paloma family (“Doves”) dress up as mermaids and do mystic underwater dance routines.
Why doves? Seriously, they should have been called the Delfín ("Dolphin") or Angelote ("Angelfish") family, or something fishy water-related like that.

What outsiders don't know is that the Corbeaus actually grow feathers in their hair, and the Palomas have escalas, small scattered birthmarks that look like fish scales.

For the last twenty years, the Corbeau/Paloma feud has taken a bitter turn, to the point where the families try to sabotage each other, and anyone touching a member of the other clan – other than in a fight – will be exiled from the family.
Fighting was the only safe way to touch a Paloma… The rage made it good and true. The anger and honor of defending this family shielded them like a saint’s prayer. Hitting and kicking were safe. Anything else could bring sickness.
Each family is convinced that the members of the other family are completely, utterly and despicably in the wrong.

The story alternates between the viewpoints of two teenage members of these families: Lace Paloma, who struggles with staying thin enough to be considered a worthy member of the mermaid performers, and a Corbeau boy called Cluck, who works behind the scenes, fixing the performers’ feathered wings and performing other odd jobs, because an old injury to his hand prevents him from joining the performances. Cluck is an outsider in his own family, doing odd things like wearing his grandfather’s old clothes, and being bullied by other Corbeaus, especially his brother Dax. Both Lace and Cluck feel alienated, struggling with the superstitious rigidity and unreasoning anger and abuse that runs through their families.

When Lace and Cluck first meet each other in the town of Almendro, neither realizes that the other is a member of their rival clan. But a tragic industrial accident in the town brings Lace and Cluck back together. Cluck, in seeking to help Lace, unwittingly leads to Lace’s expulsion from the Paloma clan: a feather-shaped burn mark on her arm is the proof, at least to Lace’s abuela, who rules the Palomas with an iron fist, that Lace has committed the unpardonable sin of allowing a gitano (gypsy) boy to touch her. And Lace, believing that Cluck’s forgiveness for her earlier rudeness to him will remove the feather brand from her arm, allows him to take her to meet his family without telling him that she’s a Paloma. Inevitably the truth will out, but by then the attraction between them has taken hold, and even a bitter feud isn’t enough to erase it. Hope is, also, a thing with feathers.
She was there to pull Cluck to his feet and keep him there if he couldn’t stand. To make sure none of the pieces of him got lost if he broke. In case his mother, neat as a greenhouse tulip, failed to notice that he was not dust or cracked glass, and reached for a broom.
The evocative, dreamlike words and imagery throughout The Weight of Feathers tend to obscure, a little bit, the fact that these families are so dysfunctional and abusive. And yet there is love there too, enough to make it difficult for Lace and Cluck, or any member of their families, to break the cycle of hatred, where doing so requires them to also break the ties that bind them to their families.

The Weight of Feathers is peppered with words and phrases in both Spanish and French (I made liberal use of my Kindle’s automatic translation feature). Each chapter begins with an appropriate saying in French or Spanish; these, at least, are translated for the reader. The families’ different cultures and backgrounds add a welcome element of depth to this otherwise familiar story of two star-crossed young lovers. And there are some unexpected turns in the plot that make this something more than just a modern retelling of Romeo and Juliet.

This story is, at heart, a young adult romance spiced with some magical realism. The lovely, haunting language makes The Weight of Feathers a better-than-usual entry in the young adult fantasy romance genre, but I really wouldn’t recommend it to any readers who don’t enjoy young adult romances. If you do like sweet romances tinged with a bit of a supernatural element, you'll find rewards, and even some food for thought, in the pages of this novel.

By itself, the plot and storyline would rate 3 stars from me, maybe 3 1/2. But I'm kind of a sucker for evocative language and imagery, so I'm rounding this up to 4 stars.

Free advance copy received from NetGalley and the publisher in exchange for an honest review. Thanks!
Profile Image for Korrina  (OwlCrate).
193 reviews4,558 followers
June 26, 2017
Utterly brilliant. This is a book to be savoured in bits. I'm glad I had the chance to read this slowly, burning the beautiful lines in my mind. Anna-Marie McLemore is right up there among the writers who truly create art and movement out of their sentences. If you like Leigh Bardugo, Maggie Stiefvater or Laini Taylor, and you haven't read any books by Anna-Marie McLemore, I urge you to pick one up. You won't regret it.
Profile Image for ♛ may.
806 reviews3,793 followers
September 22, 2018
✔️ Book #6 for the Contemporary-A-Thon under the challenge, "read a diverse contemporary" "

i think i enjoyed the concept of this book more than the actual book itself

the characters are interesting and i love the diversity but my guys, the pacinggggg
and thats just rude, im trying to do a readathon here.

okay but seriously, i adore the idea of enemies to lovers, especially when its done in the romeo/juliet format where the families hate each other bc then its enemies to lovers + FORBIDDEN ROMANCE HELL YES builD THAT ANGST

but where this book fell short for me was the writing and the pacing.

it's so purple prose-y i would read paragraph after paragraph and grasp next to nothing of whats going on. im lost between the pages just trying to figure out where the PLOT IS HEADING. i know anna-marie's writing does improve, i enjoyed her later book, Wild Beauty much more but it was just really laid on THICK in this book

the pacing was slow but also fast. slow in the sense that there are pages and pages dedicated to one scene, unraveling it in the most cloaked way possible and then there's the romance that just....stems from nowhere

like these kids be kissing after their third meeting, honey stranger danger

and then when the ship did take off, i felt like it engulfed the story too much. it was just about how infatuated they were with each other and i didnt really care for it bc i knew it was just heading straight to the 'wait till the parents find out!!!' direction

but the plot (whatever i could understand) was interesting. i liked the idea of the families with their respective shows they put on for the locals (the acrobats and mermaid stuff, wish that was elaborated more bc im still confused as to what they do)

Cluck is a sweet baby and Lace is a darling and i really like their characters on their own

Dax can choke tho :)

i read this book as a diverse contemporary and i have to say that was done REALLY WELL. the characters are PoC (i love the phrases used in their languages, french and spanish, even tho i cant understand them bc im a failure when it comes to language learning :')). Cluck has a deformity in his hands and Lace is a burn victim.

idk if im going to try another anna-marie mclemore book. her ideas are genius, no doubt there, and her characters are precious but her writing style is really rough for me :/

“He was beautiful in ways that made him ugly to his family.”

2.5 stars!!
Profile Image for Rae.
205 reviews144 followers
February 1, 2018
Buddy Read with the lovelies Scrill and Ashlynn

AHH! I loved it!!

"He had taught her the language and the landscape, shown her this country’s trees, the secret thrill of almost falling."

"The sense of falling did not touch her, not as long as her body was between the hands of this boy who felt steadier in the air than on the ground."

We have all heard the story of Romeo and Juliette a thousand different ways, and we all fall in love just to have our hearts ripped out in the end. But what about a story of a Bird and a Mermaid? What if instead of just rival families they were actually rival traveling performers? And instead of Romeo and Juliette it was Cluck and Lace? Would you dare fall in love with this age old story again knowing that you might possibly end up heart broken in the end?

I did. I gave it that chance and I am so happy that I did. This was an amazing story about love and friendship and knowing when to believe in someone and when to stand up for those you believe in. This really hit me right in the heart, I couldn't stop once started and fell so in love with theses characters and families full of magic and mystery and wonder. This was beautifully written in alternating chapters between the Palomas (Lace's family of traveling mermaids) and the Corbeaus (Clucks family of trapeze artists). There were beautiful quotes and sayings written in the respective language to each family (french for the Corbeaus and spanish for the Palomas) at the head of each chapter, and then also woven throughout each chapter creating the beautiful atmosphere of each family you are reading about. I loved this. We not only have these vastly different families, one in the sky and one in the water, but they are also from such different backgrounds. Yet they have so many similarities. They both think that this unthinkable disaster that happened long ago that resulted in deaths from both families was the other's fault and because of this, they hate each other. The kids from each family are taught to fear and hate the opposing family. So they are not only rivals in their professions but enemies in life as well. But not all of them feel this way. Enter Lace and Cluck.

"She’d never been quick on her feet, but she could swim away so fast anyone would think she was a trick of the light, the flicker of a candle in a glass jar. Half her job was disappearing."

"She should have known all along not to trust the sky. It was where the crows lived."

"He was the one good one out of all these crows."

The little details in this book make it so beautiful. I love that the magic was so subtle that I wasn't really even sure if it wasn't just a normal part of life. The Corbeaus are known for the feathers they grow from their hair, and the Palomas are known for their escamas (or scales) a birthmark that appears somewhere on their body. This seemed so normal to me that it just worked. And it was the perfect touch.

"He and Lace were sewn of similar fabric, the raw edges of their families’ cloth."

"Cluck knew what Lace meant, that they weren’t so different, that the space between them was made only of names and colors."

"Cluck had brought her so high she thought she could brush her fingers against the moon."

Being a stand alone, I tend to think that they never wrap up things as nicely as I hope. And when I was nearing the end of The Weight of Feathers, I was worried that this would be the case. But the ending is just as perfect as the rest. Its a beautiful story, with beautiful characters and such a sweet and magical feel to it that all you can do is sigh from happiness when you reach the end. Although I did not want it to end, I was very pleased with how it wrapped up.

"Cluck and Lace followed them, him taking her waist to help her from one bough to the one below, guiding her through the air the way she pulled him through water."

Definiely give this Romeo and Juliette a try, its so different and so wonderful you wont regret it.

Happy Reading :)
February 8, 2016

 photo tumblr_static_9i013dua7604sk0g00w04g0s_zps1fet2rvg.gif

Very very cute. Just not...dazzling...in the way I wanted it to be. Don't get me wrong-it was beautiful. Just not for me. It wasn't a matter of the characters-because I adored them and was very invested and got lots of butterflies. It was the history. So. Much. History. And for someone who doesn't mind a little background information, this is perfect for you. The story was amazing. But, for me, when I'm as tired as I am, it took too much away from the romance I wanted to overtake the story.

RTC. Maybe. If I have time. lol

I think this ship has sailed. Oh whale. *shrugs*

For more of my reviews, please visit:

Profile Image for Stacee.
2,709 reviews703 followers
September 9, 2015
I just don't have words for this book. It was perfection.

Love love loved Lace and Cluck. They're so similar and so different and loyal to their families. I wanted to jump in the book and squeeze both of them.

It's lyrical and whimsical and swoony and strange and sad and I loved every single page of it.

**Huge thanks to Thomas Dunne Books and NetGalley for providing the arc in exchange for an honest review**
Profile Image for Scrill.
407 reviews205 followers
January 31, 2018
"The sense of falling did not touch her, not as long as her body was between the hands of this boy who felt steadier in the air than on the ground."

Long before their fateful encounter, Lace Paloma and Luc Corbeau’s families have rivaled. With a history that involves death, these two families live and breathe hatred for each other. As traveling showman, both families couldn’t be more different; the Paloma’s performing with fins in the water and the Corbeau’s with wings on the backs up in the trees. Amongst the hatred and superstitions, this unlikely pair’s romance may dig up the roots that set this family apart.

The Story- I absolutely adored this book! The story of the classic warring families of Romeo & Juliet is brought back to life with just a tad of magical realism. Let me be honest though, the only way I typically like Romeo & Juliet is when it’s played by Lenardo D’Caprio & Claire Danes with some fantastic music in the background (granted I have yet to see the Hailee Steinfeld movie that came out a few years ago – bad HS fan!)

Now while I might usually say that the interactions did not provide for a substantially built relationship, it does stick with the quick to fall in love notion that Romeo & Juliet provides. With that being said, the background of each character helps provide the platform that allows someone who is willing to accept who the other is, just as they are. That in itself is fair enough to fall in love with – banished by their families for various reasons sets up our characters to be open to the love that each other can offer. Anyway, the romance in this book is seriously so sweet!

The World Building- Beautifully written, Spanish and French influence was interwoven to add some additional flavor. Which, if you guys know me at all, just adds a million points. I loved how the families had traits about them that added an otherworldly presence – the fish with the scales and the birds with wings. It was fantastic way to add to the opposition each family would have towards each other, and a romantic way for the characters to learn to adapt.

The Characters- Both Lace and Cluck were so sweet despite their deeply embedded hatred for each other. There is something to be said about how they were able to fall for each other when their natural reaction was to recoil from just the touch of each other. Despite knowing how their family acts it was hard to see them be so loyal to what their family stood for. For the record, their families are awful! The fact that their families (for the most part) were so horrible just made it easier to cheer the characters on as they discover who they are and what they are destined for in their life.

The Soundtrack-The Temper Trap – Sweet Disposition

This was a buddy read with the lovely Ash and Rae.

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Profile Image for Mogsy (MMOGC).
2,028 reviews2,605 followers
January 9, 2016
4 of 5 stars at The BiblioSanctum http://bibliosanctum.com/2016/01/09/y...

Lately, most of my audio listens have been on the darker and heavier side, so when I was given the opportunity to review the audiobook of The Weight of Feathers, it didn’t take much convincing to give this lighter, more romantic title a try. Magical realism can be hit or miss with me, but even though I hesitated over some of the mixed reviews I’ve seen for this book, ultimately the theme of forbidden love won me over.

With shades of Romeo and Juliet, this novel tells a tale of two feuding families of traveling performers, the Palomas and the Corbeaus. The Paloma family’s claim to fame has always been their underwater attraction, with their women dressing up like mermaids to swim in elaborate dance routines, while the Corbeaus strap feathered wings to their bodies and put on tightrope acts and other feats of acrobatics high up in the treetops. Their competing exhibitions have always made them rivals, but twenty years ago, something happened between them to turn them into full-blown enemies. Since then, children of both families have been brought up to believe the worst of the other, adding superstition and lies to the flames of mutual hatred.

While the two families travel all across the country, every year they cross paths in Almendro, taking advantage of the large crowds drawn there by the annual Blackberry Festival. So it is there where Lace Paloma first meets Cluck, youngest son of the Corbeau matriarch. When disaster strikes the small town, Cluck rescues Lace from certain death, mistaking her for a local. Horrified that she now owes her life to the enemy, and cast out by her own relatives for being “cursed” by the Corbeaus’ black magic, Lace tracks down Cluck and inadvertently gets caught up in his family’s business. Not surprisingly, our two young protagonists end up falling in love, but the beginning of their relationship also sparks a mission to unravel the truth of what really caused the rift between their families all those years ago.

All told, I think I ended up liking this book a lot more than I thought I would, but it wasn’t all smooth sailing. Before I start singing its praises, I want to get the negatives out of the way first: for one thing, I had a seriously rough start with the first few chapters. Anna-Marie McLemore appears to trip up on the same hurdle that traps so many other talented but inexperienced authors, weighing down her writing with an overkill of flowery words and phrases. The thing about purple prose is that it is a lot more obvious in audio. The spoken words gave the impression of the writer trying too hard, with absolutely no subtlety or attempt to dial back at all.

But just as I was starting to regret my audiobook choice, the story started to grow on me. At first, I worried that the magical realism would hinder my enjoyment, since those aspects can sometimes get in the way of meaningful character development. Instead, I found the opposite. There’s no doubt that the romance between Lace and Cluck is the central focus, with magic being more of a background element and even downplayed. In truth, The Weight of Feathers is rather light on fantasy, with the exception of the ending and little smatterings of details here and there—like the fact members of the Paloma family bear birthmarks on their skin that look like fish scales, while those in the Corbeau clan grow feathers near their hairline. Even so, to me this is more about symbolism than magic. This book is filled with all sorts of opposing themes and imagery, contrasting the Corbeaus and Palomas: crows vs. doves, black vs. white, birds vs. fish, sea vs. sky, etc.

Strip that all away though, and the plot itself is actually very straightforward. It’s a love story, pure and simple, with a bit of family drama thrown in. I’ve seen people compare The Weight of Feathers to The Night Circus, but I really don’t see it. This one is much better in terms of featuring a more passionate and developed romance with a pair of lovers with whom you can feel more fully connected and engaged, relative to my lukewarm experience with Erin Morgenstern’s novel. I also highly recommend the audiobook, with Kirby Heyborne and Cynthia Farrell narrating Cluck’s and Lace’s chapters respectively. The two of them did a great job bringing the characters to life.

Ultimately, once I learned to look past the affectations in the prose, it was the simplicity and elegance of The Weight of Feathers that appealed to me. The plot and pacing was nice and tight with just the right amount of twisty familial relationships to keep me interested, and once I got caught up in the story, it was damn near impossible to break free from its spell. A quick and very enjoyable listen!
Profile Image for Mari.
705 reviews5,019 followers
September 22, 2016

Full review to come!

This is my first finished book for #HispanicHeritageReads and it was a great start. I thought the right was constantly sweet and nice, if not always very sophisticated. The story was pretty simple, but I loved the underlying feeling that beneath this story of scales and wings and family feuds, there was subtle commentary about prejudice and the blindness of hate. I enjoyed it a lot and the highest compliment I can pay it is that I already miss the characters. I love Lace and Luc and just want to hug them both. Look for them to be near the top of my end of year couple rankings.
Profile Image for Jillian .
431 reviews1,779 followers
January 4, 2018
i have no words. anna-marie mclemore has all the beautiful words. idk how to write reviews anymore. i just really really loved this! the atmosphere, the slow burn of it, it was just so good. it's a quiet book, it's not extremely plot driven (there is one but it's not what made me love this book), but the characters are interesting and every page reveals new layers of these characters to the reader in the lovliest way. i can't wait to read more from this author.4.5 stars
Profile Image for Mauoijenn.
1,127 reviews111 followers
September 13, 2015
This book was OUTSTANDING!!
I loved the writing, characters and the ending. No bad Romeo and Juliet juju here. I totally thought this book would not live up to the hype but I was WRONG. Excellent read!
Profile Image for Alaina.
6,290 reviews215 followers
April 4, 2018
After reading The Night Circus I have been wanting to dive into another circus related kind of book. So I was beyond happy that I found another book and then I fell in love because it was completely different from The Night Circus. Yes, The Weight of Feathers is about a travelling circus crew but it was such a good story and different from the other book. Again, I really enjoyed it!

The Weight of Feathers is about two rival families, the Palomas and the Corbeaus. Anyone thinking of Romeo and Juliet?!?! BECAUSE I WAS! Well these families have been rivals and feuding with each other probably since dinosaurs roamed the earth. Trust me, it's been going on forever... and ever. Then Romeo and Juliet, I mean Cluck and Lace notice each other.. and love is in the air. Can these two bring their families stupid feud to an end or will their romance make it worse?!?

I really enjoyed Cluck and Lace.. even though their names sound super weird in my head while I was reading this book. Cluck is basically the black sheep of his family because he always feels left out. He was so freaking adorable and I kind of wanted more of him, from him, the book to basically be about him... and so on. I hated Dax, like so much. I don't even want to talk about him.

Then there's Lace, who was an okay kind of character.. but I only really liked her when she was with Cluck. Other than that, I didn't really like her or want to read from her POV. Plus their "romance" didn't really feel like a romance throughout most of the book which was kind of disappointing to me. I guess I was just expecting more since I kept visualizing this as a version of Romeo and Juliet. It's definitely my fault but once I got over that I still ended up enjoying this book.

Now onto the "feud" which dished out so much god damn hatred. I didn't expect any of that to be happening in this book and I was all for it. GIVE ME ALL THE HATE PEOPLE! Let me get my hatorade first though. But no, these families aren't here for fun and games. No it's basically a fight to the death or a WWE fight. Shit was crazy and I thrived off of it. I wanted more!

Overall, this book was enjoyable. It would've been better if I actually ended up liking Lace a lot more.. or maybe a little equal to Cluck's. I loved the whole storyline and the pace of the book. I'm thinking that I definitely need another book written by this author ASAP!
Profile Image for Dani ❤️ Perspective of a Writer.
1,512 reviews5 followers
April 10, 2019
Check out more reviews @ Perspective of a Writer...

The Buzz

I shelved this back in 2015 to read, probably due to an ARC review that I don't remember. I do remember that it was a retelling and this was before I became interested in the genre. So when I was cutting books left and right off my TBR I kept this one for my retelling pile. I'm so happy I did. Now I really understand the allure of a Anna-Marie McLemore book.

The Premise

As a Romeo and Juliet retelling I knew that I needed to adjust my brain beforehand to two families being hateful and probably really bigoted. So adjustment made... I steeled myself for the brutality of it all... Only to find myself totally blown away by how McLemore built up the feud between these two families.

It reads a little slow in the beginning because we get both the Palomas and the Corbeaus' POV on their feud. They have reasons. Reasons they hate the other family, can't even touch the skin of one of them unless they are fighting and why this rivalry has so much history involved between them that nothing will ever cure it.

Along the way we meet Lace. She's a mermaid, a makeup artist, a Paloma and LOVES it. She can't imagine doing anything else with her life. Then we meet Cluck. Yeah, his nickname is Cluck. It's ridiculous and absurd considering he doesn't even get to wear the wings he makes. He's totally left out of the tree climbing show and has plans to eventually leave the family behind like his grandfather once did.

Then they meet, misunderstand and assume leaving an opening for a plant accident to bring them together. Everything from that accidental meeting on is totally new and has nothing to do with retelling Romeo and Juliet. It's totally unique to this small area in California that supports these two families of traveling performers. And The Weight of Feathers is uncovered and changes everything for Cluck and Lace.

My Experience

To say I was captured from the very start is an understatement! Part of what I enjoyed was the writing style. This isn't something I talk about often but the narrative was easy to read but also very poetic. I HATE poetic... BUT I enjoyed this style very much. McLemore's words imbued the entire story with so much atmosphere. It was potent, magical and tragic.

I really fell hard for both Cluck and Lace. The unfairness of both of their families treatment. The way Cluck was demonized. The way he clung to his grandfather to make it through his day from year to year. Lace mourning the life she had before the accident. Her desperation to find a way to fix it. The mental health breakdown at the sight of rain broke my heart. The way these two artists were so similar and how they bonded through their love of beauty and craftsmanship. Their understanding at the truth finally being revealed.

This doesn't follow it's origin story to the end... Sure two kids from feuding families fall in love but they are actually the second generation. There is so much history between the families and it all comes exploding out when Cluck and Lace change everything due to this plant accident.

The Weight of Feathers isn't a perfect read, but I was totally caught up every second and enjoyed it to the last page.

Cover & Title grade -> B+

I found the title quite intriguing considering the Palomas are mermaids and about scales. It totally excludes them from the outset, I wondered at this as I read... I did find the answer in the end and the title does fit the story perfectly. Even the cover makes sense in the end and embodies quite well the climax of the story in The Weight of Feathers. The typography is really great and goes well with the design.

I wonder though if something couldn't have been done with a lake below to represent both families? Does the feather idea get too emphasized? Also the plant plays a really intricate role in the story and wonder if that should have been hinted at too?

What made The Weight of Feathers about feuding families so powerful?

I love when adults can be incorporated into a story and they make sense. They are real parents, adults, extended family and act in their roles true to life!

-Crows and Mermaids.
I loved the performing aspect to the families and how they both had different intriguing methods to their acts. Their long family history as performers steeped in so much tradition added so much.

-Lies and Secrets.
Whenever I think of a story with family I always am reminded that all families have their hidden skeletons in the closet that time will eventually reveal.

-Environmental Responsibility.
Both families traveled to this town every year and refused to skip it. They unknowingly had a hidden link to the local plant. At the heart of the story is the theme of responsibility and connection.

-The truth is how we perceive it.
The end doesn't tie up how you expect at all! It's kind of a combination of a twist, a revelation and magical realism. It doesn't solve the families problems but inspires those who would be free.

The Writing

While I totally loved the book and my read of it as I said its not perfect. The end will be a little confusing to some readers. We expect this grand climax and while its the perfect end for Cluck and Lace it doesn't resolve anything for the family. The truth won't change anything for them. So Cluck and Lace don't even bring it up to them. It's enough they know the truth.

At first I thought it was quite an odd ending even if I felt totally satisfied by it. As I thought about it more, the more I loved it. Cluck and Lace were a tiny step in a new direction for the two families. They took that step for themselves, having cut ties with their families they could no longer act in the families interests.

Another unconventional element to The Weight of Feathers is the way the romance developed. Some may even call it instalove... except that you truly felt them fall in love. As they came to understand each other it tipped them off a precipice they had been poised on and sent them spiraling down to love. We don't read love happening that way often so it feels novel, quick and fresh. TBH it felt like young love.

The Weight of Feathers showcases a unique writing style, unconventional story development and two characters that you totally want to find happiness... with each other just to spite their nasty families! I loved it and can say that this is a Romeo and Juliet retelling that everyone ought to read.

⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ Authenticity
⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ Writing Style
⋆ ⭐⭐⭐⭐ Plot & Pacing
⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ World Building

You can find this review and many others on my book blog @ Perspective of a Writer. See my special perspective at the bottom of my reviews under the typewriter...

Please like this review if you enjoyed it! *bow* *bow* It helps me out a ton!!
Profile Image for Faith Simon.
198 reviews162 followers
January 30, 2019
I've done it! I've finally read all of Anna-Marie's published novels!
Upon having finished this, I could tell that this was her debut novel, it's a bit odd going into this after having read her following novels first instead of this book being my first read, because it's like going backwards, I know how well she writes now, but I could definitely pinpoint where her beginnings were. She's gotten so much better as a writer since writing this, her writing isn't nearly as poetic as it came to be many books later, but the story is every bit just as beautiful and mesmerizing as the rest.
The concept of this book is just magical?? Two performing families, I mean obviously it has Romeo and Juliet similarities, but I can assure you that it's literally nothing like that at all.
I liked seeing the dynamics between these two opposing families, it was rather funny to hear both sides and listen to what one thought about the other, all these curses that were supposedly at their fingertips, it just goes to show how easy it is to believe your family members when it's all you've known, despite their stories having no real truth to them, only based on malice and prejudice. However, this story was interesting in comparison to her other novels that focus on the togetherness of family, this one mostly focused on being apart from your family and outgrowing them, though there were strong family ties shown at the beginning and throughout the novel, not nearly to the same extent as later novels.
This book is also not queer at all, which is in stark contrast to her later novels as well. I was thinking that perhaps she wanted to make sure she could do well before she started writing the queer stories she wanted to write, making sure her stories would be picked up to be published and all that. Although this story isn't queer, I was very much still attached to the love story between the two characters. I liked the dual narrations, this really helped with my investment.
And Dax is my most hated character of this year, I don't know who else can possibly top him, he is just so incredibly terrible I was nearly screaming in frustration whenever he entered the narrative.
And Cluck can be added to my 'sweet-children-who-didn't-deserve-this' pile, it's pretty much once in a blue moon I actually really like a male character enough to stick him in my pile.
True to fashion, this novel reveals a giant plot twist near the end, and I couldn't have ever seen it coming, despite the fact it was hinted at the entire novel, I just didn't pick up on it? But wow, this really does throw a wrench in the family feud.
I expected some big climax at some point in the novel where there would be a giant fight or something near-death, but there wasn't really anything like that?? I liked that she made this book majorly enjoyable without a huge climax that sets everybody at odds with each other in some way like we so often see with most novels, and is apparently required if you want your book to be good and picked up for publishing.
Overall, this book was a lovely listening experience, and I liked the familiar diversity within it as is with all Anna-Marie's novels, I may have picked up some French and Spanish.
Profile Image for linda.
141 reviews35 followers
January 31, 2022

This book really surprised me and I am so glad that I decided to read it because it never was on my radar actually! I stumbled upon it coincidentally when I was watching one of Hannah's (A Clockwork Reader) videos on Youtube in which she raved about it. So, as someone who really trusts HAnnah and her recommendations I just had to give this one a try and it didn't disappoint though I had some minor issues with it at first it got better and better. Be aware that this one is a slow-paced book though with a the slow-burning romance we all love (no insta love although it's a romeo and juliet retelling, whoop whoop!).

I can really recommend this one if you like magical realism in general and I can definitely see fans of The Night Circus enjoying this as well!
Profile Image for Jazzy.
202 reviews63 followers
February 20, 2018

This was a fairytale of sorts, a retelling one of Shakespeare's most famous manuscripts. Through vivid descriptions and many secrets and family drama, McLemore created this spiraling romance fit for those who enjoy love stories, magical realism, and pretty words.

The characters...
OH, MY STARS CLUCK. Cluck is a Corbeaus. He was unloved and rejected by his family, and for his entire life, he struggles with knowing why. His side of the story was VERY sad, and I got made multiple times, but it wasn't all morbid and dark; his sarcasm was fun and he clearly didn't hate those who hated him, which made him a strong character in more ways than one.

Lace... Lace was interesting. As a Palomas, she is extremely superstitious. She was spirited and curious and very determined. After an event, she is forced to make amends, which at first she does unwillingly. But as time goes by (no surprise here), she's more than willing to do what she has to do. Her family situation forced her to be strong in her identity, but at the same time, she needs to learn that that's not all that there is to her (same with Cluck).

I feel like these two characters were both fairly well developed, both had their ups and downs and we got to dig deep into each of their POV's enough to understand them and their thoughts.

The plot...
THIS. This was actually not as good as I was hoping it would be. Honestly, I felt it was pretty average. WHICH MEANS, yes it was good! But not anything that hasn't been done before. The mix of circusy vibes and the magical realism was fabulous and I could get used to that taste more often. But as far as the plot goes... there were plenty of characters, shows, descriptions to make up for the lack of individuality.

The writing...
I know I've spoken a LOT about the writing like peppered throughout this entire review... but you guys, it let me down. Seriously, I was SO excited to read this book mainly for the writing (I was hoping it would have the same feel as Wink Poppy Midnight), but noooope. Let down. It was simple, although the descriptions were lovely, everything else was pretty average. Not really happy about that, but what the heck, I'll let it slide.

Why the low rating???
OKAY. I knew it was a romance. I was expecting there to be a romance. It is a romance. But while there wasn't any sex scene, there was a lot of "wanting" and all that jazz and that's just not something I like in books. The physical aspect of their relationship ran a little too far for my taste, and there was one scene That was basically the main part that I really didn't find at all romantic, sweet, or relevant in the entire book. I had to skim through and just get passed that part.
Warning to *sensitive readers*: swearing, sexual content, bullying (abuse).

It was lovely by the end, but there was so much in between that I just couldn’t enjoy. Honestly, this didn't meet up to my expectations and I was really disappointed about that, BUT HEY. If you don't mind the things noted above and you want to give it a shot, don't listen to me. I know a lot of people who enjoyed this book, and I can see why. But for me personally, it just didn't cut it and that's okay; doesn't make it a bad book.

So there's my review, it's been a LONG time since I actually wrote one out like that. :)
Profile Image for gio.
1,019 reviews386 followers
September 1, 2015
I received a copy via Netgalley, in exchange for an honest review.

"Each feather became ten more. They spread like a thousand red lacewings. They rose like every one was its own bird, full and winged. They turned the trees to autumn, all red-feathered boughs."

Beautiful. Completely different from what I expected, but for once in a positive way. The Weight of Feathers is delicate and yet powerful, one of those stories that probably won't impress you from the start but take root in your heart in the long run. There is a subtle sadness to this tale, some kind of nostalgia hidden behind two colorful shows. The Palomas' sirenas with their gleaming, colorful tails against the Corbeaus' feathered wings, soaring through the air and landing on the highest trees. Not only rivals but mortal enemies. And maybe only a miracle could change this.

"But now they were all witnesses to this thing she and Cluck had made them see. They would have to carry the truth, whether or not they spoke it. It would cling to them like the burrs off sticker grass. If they twisted it, it would pinch them back."

The strength of The weight of feathers is in the way the book is written. The writing is on point. The author has a way with words, a delicate and poetic writing style that perfectly describes the characters' emotions. It's like these metaphors cling onto the reader's skin. I think that this is what the book gave me: emotions that had all the time they needed to sneak into my heart and take root there.

"Luc and Lace held between them this unspoken hope, that wherever those feathers landed, they’d find an old but not old woman who smelled like cinnamon, now unafraid to cross the woods. They’d find an old man blowing cigarette smoke into the last light, ready to think of Lace Paloma as more than made of her family’s stories."

A pleasant surprise, I finished reading The weight of feathers and I wanted to read it all over again. It does have its flaws, but it's so beautifully written that it's impossible not to feel emotionally involved.
Profile Image for Iris.
549 reviews252 followers
March 11, 2019
I... I honestly still have no clue what I think of this book.

I hated the first half, and I loved the second half.

And I don't have the slightest clue what shifted.

Maybe I got used to the writing style. Because I sure wasn't liking it early on, but by the end I loved it. Maybe the characters grew on me. They started out very flat and... honestly I don't think they ever felt fully developed to me, but by the end I was so invested in them. Maybe the plot got more interesting.

I'm really not sure.

But I'm glad I read this book, and I definitely look forward to reading more from Anna-Marie McLemore.

***Initial Reaction, January 26, 2019***

What on earth did I just read?? I just... I don't even know what the heck this book even was. I did like it. I just need some time to precess the extreme weirdness that was this book.

It was beautifully written, and unique and... really freaking weird.

It took me 100-150 pages to warm up to it, but then all of a sudden I WAS IN LOVE, and putting it down was impossible.

Review and rating to come
Profile Image for Carol.
320 reviews566 followers
February 5, 2016
***3.75 stars***
This story was very interesting. It's a Romeo and Juliet retelling with magical-realism sprinkled on there. I really liked the slow burn romance. At a first glance, Cluck and Lace are pretty average characters, but once we get to know them they have many unique characteristics. I really liked the writing, but I didn't love it how I was expecting to. This book is barely 300 pages long, so I do wish the story would've been longer. Overall, this was definitely a lovely story.
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