Thursday, January 12, 2017

An Enchanting Modern-Day Romeo and Juliet

Title: The Weight of Feathers
Author: Anna-Marie McLemore
Publisher: Thomas Dunne
Release Date: September 15th, 2015!

From Goodreads...
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.

My Review!
*Spoilers! You've been forewarned.

I am MAD at this book. Like, I want to roll around in Anna-Marie’s gorgeous words forever, but I am not happy about the way this story went. Not. at. all. I didn’t even realize how angry I was about it until I started reviewing it in my head and I started tearing down the Corbeaus and the Palomas. I don’t think I've been this angry at fictional characters in a long time. These two families are fucking RIDICULOUS. I can’t even begin to express my utter dismay at how they handled things in the past and how terrible people they are. Both the main characters suffered much abuse at the hands of their families, the people who are supposed to love them unconditionally. It made me want to cry a lot.

Lace is emotionally abused by her grandmother. This woman is a piece of fucking work. She uses her women family members as a way to live, as they are the ones who bring in the money from the shows. And she constantly picks at their insecurities and makes them believe that they can only be las sirenas if they are beautiful to her standards. None of the Palomas goes against her because they believe that her word is law, and they just LET her decide their lives for them. They let her kick Lace out of the family because they believe a Corbeau cursed her and they could not bear to see his mark on her. And after everything that Lace goes through, she still wants her abuela’s approval and will doing anything to get it back. I could understand it to some degree given how much she loved performing in the shows. But you know what? Her family will never see her as anything more than a tainted Paloma now, and I hate them for it. And? This isn’t even the worst of what the families have done.

Cluck, my poor precious baby, deserved SO MUCH better than what the Corbeaus gave him. So much better than being called an ugly duckling who doesn’t belong. He is neglected and physically abused by his older brother while his mother lets it happen because she hates him. And the worst part is that none of it was his fault. None of it was because of his own choosing, which is of course the same for all victims of abuse, but it is literally true in Cluck’s place. He finds out near the end of the book that he is both a Corbeau and a Paloma. That the Palomas readily gave him up and that the person he loved most in the world is not his grandfather, but his father. And I cannot even begin to express how fucking angry at Alain Corbeau I am. This man watched his son get beaten down, neglected, emotionally and physically abused, AND HE DID NOTHING ABOUT IT. Sure, he made sure to stay a safe space for Cluck in that family, but it still doesn’t negate how much damage the Corbeaus did to this kid. He deserved love and warmth and to be told that he matters. Instead, he’d grown up in a household that did not care, that did not want him, and who made sure he knew that. Over and over again. The only thing that even slightly makes me feel better about this is that he finally got out. He’s no longer a part of them, and he can finally breathe a little easier. Though, the damage they’ve caused him will leave a lasting mark.

I just cannot with these people. They let a feud go on this long all because they didn’t bother to look for the truth and to tell it. They hid behind their lies and their curses and their “rules” for the children. They controlled people’s lives and did not allow room for growing up, for mistakes, for kids to find their own paths. They are awful fucking people, and I hate them. Anyway, I did love the romance, though. I loved both Lace and Cluck, and I just wanted to give them giant bear hugs and tell them that they didn’t need the Palomas or the Corbeaus. They only needed each other. But that ending is bittersweet, because I’d been hoping things would turn out differently, that the two of them would help their families see what they’ve done, make them change. It didn’t. :(

While The Weight of Feathers was beautiful and pulled me on a whirlwind of an adventure, I can’t let go of how much I wish it hadn’t gone in the direction it had. And how much I despise these families that could give the Capulets and Montagues a run for their money. Which, I suppose was the point of the book, given that it's basically a modern-day Romeo and Juliet, but still UGH. I was also super confused by one part of the ending, though I have my own theories about it. But you know, even given the anger, I did really enjoy this book, and Anna-Marie’s writing is just so freaking lovely.


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