This review is going to be very difficult to write. Not because the book was bad, or had anything wrong with it (in fact, I hadn’t come across a single problem with this book, which is rare), but it’s difficult to write because this book is perfect. Yes, it really is.
This book is absolutely beautiful. From the cover, to the pages, to the chapter titles, to the story itself, everything about this novel is completely stunning and delightful. I can’t remember the last time that I sat down to read a book and was so captivated by the story like I was with The Weight of Feathers. The characters are so well written and well developed, and they actually show personality (which is something that characters in a lot of YA books, especially romance books, are lacking).
We have our two families – the Palomas and the Corbeaus. They have been enemies and feuding for a very long time now, and their children have been warned to stay away from the others. They are both performing families; the Paloma females dress in beautiful mermaid tails and frolic in the water for the local audience, while the Corbeaus wear gorgeous wings and leap around in the trees. They have rules against touching members of the opposite family – they have their beliefs about the horrors that touching them will bring…except for fighting. They are allowed to hurt members of the other family through physical fights, because this will not cause any harm to the person inflicting the damage. So the families tend to stay away from each other, except for the few times that they try to hurt each other – the Palomas putting petroleum jelly on the tree branches before the Corbeaus’ show, for instance, and the Corbeau family placing nylon nets in the river for the mermaids to get stuck in and cause them to not be able to resurface for air during the shows.
One night, one of our main characters, Lace Paloma, gets stuck in one of these nets during a performance. Because she is stuck in the net and struggling to get out, it takes her longer to get out of the water, so she doesn’t hear the warning sirens from the adhesive factory nearby, which has had a malfunction and causes chemical rain to come down upon everyone in town. This chemical rain causes severe burns on Lace’s body, until she is saved by our other main character, Cluck Corbeau. Neither of them are aware who the other is, and Lace doesn’t find out until later, when she is in the hospital. Because she comes back from the hospital, she has a feather-shaped burn on her arm from Cluck saving her, her family turns their backs on her and tells her that she needs to leave. Lace sets out to get Cluck to “remove” the burn from her arm with his forgiveness, so she agrees to work as a makeup artist in the Corbeau’s family show. Since no one knows she is a Paloma, she and Cluck start to fall for each other. But eventually they will find out who Lace really is, and then they to decide whether or not their love is worth fighting for.
While I can’t say I have read The Night Circus, which is what this book is compared to, I can say that it has a very Romeo & Juliet feel to it, and this might be why I adored it. It isn’t fluffy or cute, the way that a lot of romance novels are, but it is deep and meaningful, and full of beauty and love. This isn’t just a romance novel – it’s a novel about acceptance. From one fantastic chapter to the next, we learn about how important it is not only to accept yourself and the things that make you unique, but to accept others who are different. We learn not to judge those who feel hatred for others, but to try to enlighten them on how important it is to see the good in everyone. This book is a powerful, moving piece of literature that I believe everyone who enjoys YA should read.
Note: I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.