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This is an EARLY REVIEW.
FEATHER BOUND launches May 6, 2013!
The thing that first intrigued me about FEATHER BOUND was the blurb in the summary that stated, "FEATHER BOUND is a dark debut reminiscent of Gabriel García Márquez's A Very Old Man With Enormous Wings, and the twisted truth behind the fairy tale of Cinderella." Um, YES. I want to know more right now! I don't, however, think that this is a retelling of Cinderella. There's a masquerade that has Cinderella Ball moments, but don't go into this novel expecting Cinderella. It's actually much more like Japanese folktale The Crane Wife, with a bit of selkie lore thrown in for good measure.
Deanna lives in our own world, with a catch: Swans exist in this world. They're out in the open, too. It isn't a shock to find out someone is a swan like it would be in folklore. At the same time, the people able to become swans keep that ability hidden at all costs. If it's found out, they can be sold into slavery or abused. There's a black market selling swan people that makes the unjust rich. If a swan's feathers are stolen, s/he belongs to the person who "owns" them. S/he loves and obeys and trusts that person beyond all others with no free will. When Dee sprouts wings for the first time at a party, she leaves before anyone can find out. The only problem? Someone did find out, and he's blackmailing her. If she doesn't betray her childhood best friend, the love of her life, and destroy him completely, then her secret will be revealed and her whole family will be destroyed.
Talk about being between a rock and a hard place! Dee has a lot of tough choices to make, and no one to reveal her secrets too. She was shocked when she found out her childhood best friend Hyde is still alive. While she's uncertain whether or not she wants to befriend him again, since she mourned his "death" as a child and now feels betrayed, there's still a tie that connects them. She doesn't want to betray him, but has no way out. She loves her family and wants to protect them at all costs. Her family grows and develops over the course of the novel, too. Ade went from being my least favorite family member to my favorite. She's pretty awesome and really loyal and faithful. Ericka is the weakest family member, but starts to grow a bit of a backbone later on in the book. While their father is far from sober most of the time, there are lucid moments when you can tell how much he loves his daughters.
I really liked the original lore at play in the novel. It felt like a traditional fairy tale, since it pulled together so many elements, and yet it was original, too. I liked that it was urban fantasy taking place today. It added an extra layer to the story. There's also a lot of social commentary lurking in the background that shines light on some of the darker issues in our own world. There are also lovely tales woven in between chapters that feel like pages taken from the Brothers Grimm. I was excited every time I discovered a new tale to love. It explains so much about swans, too, and really helped bring the lore of the novel alive.
FEATHER BOUND went much deeper than I was expecting, and I really enjoyed it. I enjoyed it even more when I realized it wasn't the first book in a trilogy. For some reason, I thought it was, and I was dreading reaching the end. But it ends completely, wrapped in a bow, in just the right fashion.