I know it’s ironic when I say, Anna-Marie McLemore has done it again, because The Weight of Feathers is actually the debut novel, not When the Moon Was Ours. But all I can say is I am delighted, entertained, and moved by this book from page one (yet again).
The Weight of Feathers describes the feud between two warring troupes: the Palomas, mermaids who dance in the water, and the Corbeaus, fearless tightrope walkers. But this is no simple feud, but a blood feud, one that has been going on for decades and is built on superstition and danger. Lace, an aspiring mermaid and Palomas, knows the dangers of the Corbeaus, but one disaster will change her life forever. Soon she finds herself in the hands of the enemies, and she must come to terms with everything she thought she knew and the danger that her feelings for him will wreak to both families.
Maybe you don’t know what you’ve seen, but you’ve seen it, and it goes with you (77)
This story reminded me of Romeo and Juliet except with much more substance and enjoyment than the original. All told in the gorgeous narration I have come to expect from McLemore. There is so much added depth, from the superstitions of both families, to the relationship between Lace and Cluck. If you ever thought Romeo and Juliet, while timeless, was a little weak and a bit far-fetched, this was meant for you, because it’s the complete opposite.
Hauntingly raw and beautiful, this magical realism novel is just one shade away from reality. Gorgeously told, we see the histories of myths, lies, anger, and retribution. Witnessing the cycles of hatred, juxtaposed by the similar beauty of performance and family structures, the plight of our protagonists is even more moving. The story is wonderfully narrated through both Cluck’s and Lace’s perspectives, giving the readers inside looks into both families. They must break through the cruelty bred from fear to expose the truth.
Combining a classic tale with magical elements, superstitions and real issues (such as abuse and pollution) Anna-Marie McLemore has created a fantastic world with intricate characters that keeps you reading. This tale as old as time involves rivalry, fear, boundaries, and mermaids. Exposing the truth takes perseverance and bravery to unpeel the layers of lies and the scaffolds of the path upon which houses of hatred were built. There is an enchanting symmetry to the whole book which gradually unweaves the threads of cruelty. The truth must be told, but it can never be undone.
What’s your favorite retelling?
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