Magical realism and I don’t particularly get along very well. Basically, I just don’t understand it. Is the magic real? Is it symbolism? Is it in the character’s head? I don’t know! However, I decided to try it again with The Weight of Feathers by 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.
- The Writing (holy moly!) – Seriously, it’s just really good. McLemore has the ability to write so fluidly, but at the same time able to completely bring to the story to life. I had no trouble being able to picture the characters and the setting in my mind. I had heard great things about her writing and they were all true!
- My Adorable Little Characters – I adored all of the characters in this book. Lace was so sweet and kind. I loved watching her interact with her family and try to become the best mermaid. It was endearing how much she wanted to win the approval of her family. And Cluck…. I loved how he chose to wore his Grandfather’s clothes from when he was young, trying to be just like him. He was different and unique, with just a touch of mystery about him. It also broke my heart to see the way his family treated him for no good reason. I will never understand how people can be so terrible. I swear, if someone treated me like that, they’d get their ass kicked – family or not.
- A Better Romeo & Juliet – I’ve never been the biggest fan or Romeo and Julet, mostly because they do some of the most irritatingly ridiculous things ever. However, I’ve always enjoyed modern retellings of their story. Writers are able to take the main parts of that story and turn them into something better than the original. Yes, the characters still make completely stupid decisions but usually to a lesser degree (which doesn’t usually end in death!). And here, McLemore was able to completely retell this story into such a unique setting. It was magical, it was whimsical, and completely engrossing. Honestly, I think circuses just make awesome settings for novels. Right?!
- Family Portrayal – While I get that this is a retelling of Romeo & Juliet, I just didn’t really like the way the Paloma and Corbeau families were portrayed. I think families in general aren’t portrayed very well in YA for the most part. They tend to be nonexistent, awful, uncaring, etc. And this is just another example of that. I understand that not every family is perfect in reality, but I do feel that that type is wayyyy overrepresented in YA. I get so happy when I come across a book that has a close-knit or loving family. And eriously, I shouldn’t have to get all excited about that!
Overall, I loved this book. I loved the characters, the story, the writing, all of it. Do I wish the families had been a bit nicer? Yes, I do. However, I was kind of expecting that based on the synopsis and everything. I was pleasantly surprised to enjoy a novel with magical realism. I’m not sure if I will start to pick this genre up more often, as I still don’t know if it’s real or not, but I do think I will be less likely to pass one over. I’ve already got my eye on McLemore’s more recent releases!
Final Verdict: 5/5 Stars
Have you read The Weight of Feathers? What did you think of the book? Do you enjoy magical realism novels? Can you please tell me if the magic is real not? HAHA!