Feathertide by Beth Cartwright

Published by Del Rey


A girl.

A secret.

A life-changing journey.

Born covered in the feathers of a bird, and kept hidden in a crumbling house full of secrets, Marea has always known she was different, but never known why. And so to find answers, she goes in search of the father she has never met.

The hunt leads her to the City of Murmurs, a place of mermaids and mystery, where jars of swirling mist are carried through the streets by the broken-hearted.

And Marea will never forget what she learns there

Feathertide is an enchanting, magical novel perfect for fans of Erin Morgenstern’s The Night Circus and Katherine Arden’s The Bear and the Nightingale.

PUBLICATION DATE: 30th July 2020

Where to start describing this book…

I am a very literal reader with all the subtlety of a sledgehammer, which means that I already know a lot of this book was lost on me. It’s beautifully written and reads like poetry or a fairytale, the author manages to weave together the perfect words to build this magical world and even describe the harsher aspects of life and make them seem beautiful. I 100% missed out on the finer points of this tale and didn’t really understand what was going on, but I was happy enough to be swept along with the feathertide (ha!).

The main character, Marea, is a young woman born with feathers covering her body. Her mother keeps her hidden until she’s old enough to travel to find out the mysteries of her own origins – something that she can’t give her.

For me, this is the very definition of a coming of age story; Marea’s emotional growth is impressive and the result of hard earnt experiences after leaving her childhood home. This is what I enjoyed the most, seeing her grow as a result of her own actions, though they weren’t always the kindest or the most well thought out. When she arrives on the island where her parents met, she has to live in the open for the first time in her life and the ensuing identity crisis is another major theme in the book.

Another thing that stood out to me was that the protagonist is bisexual, there’s no angst over this fact beyond typical teen romance angst, which was perfect. The lack of conflict meant that she could explore her romantic feelings freely, which was liberating and sweet to read. Despite the lack of conflict in this particular area, do prepare yourself for a lot of feelings. Everyone in this book has a lot of feelings.

The first part of this book was quite slow going and the poetic writing style did feel like it was slowing down the course of events, but once Marea has made her voyage to the City of Murmurs, it picks up the pace and I couldn’t put it down. The writing in this book is as beautiful as its cover – and what a cover!

I would recommend this book to young adults and fans of light fantasy and magical realism, it would be an excellent introduction to the fantasy genre for those who haven’t read much in that area yet.
If you’re looking for something with a lot of action though, this isn’t the book for you.

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