Cover Image: Feathertide


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Member Reviews

I loved instantly the cover of this book and knew I had to read it. Fortunately the synopsis looked great too ! Marea is born in a whorehouse and kept a secret for all her childhood because she is different : she has feathers. When she is 18, she decides to go look for her father and goes to the City of Waters where she meets a great deal of people. Slowly, she will begin to embrace her difference.

This book was very sweet and poetic. I loved all the characters and their oddities. I wish I knew more about them even though the story didn't feel too short.

Diversity : wlw
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What makes this book different from all others? And why should anyone care?I really enjoyed this book! It explores a person with a feature that makes her different, that "others" her, and it follows the journey of her discovering more about this aspect of herself and coming to realise how beautiful it is.
It's got a lovely queer element, without making this into a token - a character experiences love towards someone who happens to be the same gender as them. I love how natural this feels.
It has a pleasant fantasy element, with other-wordly creatures and scenarios, but it is rooted in a society and a world that is easy to understand so it feels both familiar and original.
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Magical and engaging! I thoroughly enjoyed this read.

Thanks to Netgalley and the publishers for letting me access an advance copy of this book in exchange for my feedback.
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I have never been as conflicted about a rating in quite a while (whatever I might have stated previously). I did not enjoy this book on the whole, but I have to compliment it where compliment is due. The author has a brilliant narrative style. There is so much vivid description involved in the telling that I wanted there to be something more in the plot of the story. If I was only averagely impressed with the storytelling, I might have even given this three stars, but once I saw the potential in the way the story was set to unfold- things being told without being put into exact words but just as fleeting images, I could not.
For the most part, it is a book about accepting oneself and doing away with a negative self-image. It is the story of a girl born with feathers, and once she is old enough, she wants to get to the bottom of it. It is a semi-lonely life that she leads up until that point, but things start to change quite quickly once she sets off. Her conflicts of loyalty and love seemed a little too complicated, even with the lyrical writing.
I would still recommend this to readers of fantasy books with extraordinary people, although the book was not for me.
I received an ARC thanks to NetGalley, the review is entirely based on my own reading experience of this book.
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Cartwright crafts a very good story suited to a slightly younger audience. The pace and the world-building are less complex than other novels of a similar genre, but it's an easy and enjoyable read.
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Maréa is born during the midnight hour, with feathers growing from her body, she is born into a house of whores, and must be kept hidden from the people who visit the house. Maréa is also virtually a prisoner as she isn’t allowed to leave the house, and isn’t supposed to leave her room. Maréa’s world is full of beautiful stories but she outgrows these as she longs for the freedom to discover the world. Maréa watches birds flying free outside her window and wants to do the same.

The story is told from Maréa’s perspective, as she looks back on her past and the events that took her on a journey of self-discovery. It is reflective, as Maréa is giving thought about things she didn’t know or understand at the time certain events happened. Maréa wants to find out who her father is, as well as wanting to find a place where she feels comfortable in herself rather than fearful of other people’s prejudices.

When she is a child her tutor tells her of a place called the City of Water, which is also known as the City of Murmurs and Maréa knows that this is where she needs to go to find out the truth about herself. The city is one of mystery and wonder. There are mermaids with lost tails, sunken palaces that contain lost time, where nights of illusion can be found.  Slowly with the help of Sybel who gives Maréa a place to stay, and reveals her own history. Maréa starts to make friends in this strange city, and encounters new and mysterious things as she travels through its streets. Maréa comes to see herself in a new light.

This is a story about the impatience of waiting for things to happen. The choices you make about who you want to be, and the decisions that will tear your heart apart as you try to figure out who you are and who you may hurt by seeing things to their conclusions. Overall this is a great story rich in fantasy, but it also feels like a fairy tale with not as much depth to this wondrous yarn as you might expect, but it has its heartfelt moments, and I would choose to reread this in years to come.
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Feathertide is a compelling blend of the mundane and the fantastical, in the form of a ‘coming of age’ fairytale.

Main character, Marea, is born with feathers and is hidden away in the basements of a brothel for most of her life, to avoid her being used or abused by an outside world that doesn’t understand her beauty. Unfortunately, this well-meaning protection leaves her full of shame and self-loathing for her physical differences, to the point of self-harm in an attempt to become ‘normal’. Thus her quest to find her father and understand her purpose is actually a journey of emotional self-discovery, as she learns to love herself and finds the world more diverse than she thought, and more forgiving than she is to herself.

There is a little romantic subplot, which I felt could have been much more than it was, and I would have loved to see more of the Sky-worshippers and mermaids, as it was the fantasy element that drew me to the book in the first place. However, the mermaids, bird people and psychics are not the focus of this beautifully spun story; they are merely the window dressing for an – actually quite simple – tale of learning to love yourself, and appreciate your differences, and those of others.

I’m not sure I would compare this to The Night Circus or The Bear and the Nightingale, as while richly written and imaginative, the plot and characterisations are less complex and the moral lessons more direct. However, I would definitely read more from Beth Cartwright – her beautiful feathered, and scaled, characters have stayed with me long after I put the book down, and I still think often and fondly of Marea and Sibel.

'Jewelled colours somersaulted through the sky, momentarily mapping out new constellations in the darkness. The swish of a rocket and the swirl of a wheel. Frost shimmered on the rooftops and left long, glistening trails along the pavements. The world stood – watchful, whisperful, wonderful – counting down the minutes to the end of something frayed and worn at the edges, and to the start of something woven with promise and hope. The old unravelling into the new, when another year was safely tucked up into the warm folds of memory.
A luminous star-filled sky; wish-ready.
It was the night I was born.'

– Beth Cartwright, Feathertide

Review by Steph Warren of Bookshine and Readbows blog
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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

This was a quick read but it still felt very slow to me.  It was full of atmosphere but just a little too slow, still.  
I think being compared to The Night Circus also wasn't very helpful as I just had such high expectations for it and I just felt let down.
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This was a magical story of self discovery. Very descriptive writing but a bit flowery at times. A very light read but enjoyable nonetheless.
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“A place full of memories can never be completely empty”

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.

I absolutely love fantasy books and this is a firm favourite which was filled with mystery, magic and love. The way Beth Cartwright creates the world-building so precisely is truly magical. One of my favourite characters was the Keeper of Hours but Marea, the protagonist, was portrayed in such an in depth way that you really got to see her development throughout the story. 

I look forward to reading more by this author.
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I love this book. 
It's so full of feeling and hope, but it's not all brightness and happiness. 
Marea's story starts right at the beginning and we are with her as she grows, as she learns, as she longs and as she loves. 

Cartwright's writing is beautiful, and it takes you on a wonderful journey that starts off slowly, building to the day Marea leaves to find the father she never knew but who left her with the feathers that cover her body, and then speeding along to a magical ending.

The City of Murmurs is built wonderfully and I happily got lost in the streets and markets with Marea, here we meet more characters, each one of them bringing about the growth that she needs. 

I really don't want to spoil the book for anyone yet to read it, so all I will say is take your time with it, let it pull you along in it's currents, whether they be air or water :)
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Feathertide follows Mare, a young woman who was born covered in the feathers of a bird. Not knowing why she isn't accepted and chasing a missing part of herself, she goes in search of the father she never met. Her story brings her to mythical lands, introduces her to new people and unlocks who she really is. 

The story begins with a brilliant hook of an opener that had me completely intrigued, it introduces the unique setting and beginnings of the main protagonist and is a precursor to the strange and fantastical elements of the story. Overall, I found the settings original and the characters all wonderfully woven with a mythical, intangible feel. 

However, I struggled with the slower pace, particularly the first third of the story. There was an abundance of metaphors and similes throughout which, although a great tool for building the tone, I struggled with at times.

Once Mare reaches the City of Murmurs, things really pick up and here I was flying right alongside her. The strong character building takes over and I felt connected to each and everyone, their pain was my pain, their happiness was my happiness. Mare's character growth is subtle but powerful as she navigates love, family ties and chasing your dreams.

Feathertide is perfect for those who enjoy slow paced, subtle magical realism. The beautiful prose, haunting locations and magical characters of this whimsical coming-of-age story will stay with me for a long time.
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A book that enchants from the moment you see the cover that is beautiful, it conveys that feeling of sea, magic, darkness and stories to know, when describing this book I find myself with a problem, and that is that I cannot describe it even if I wanted to, it is a mixture of situations and characters that you meet as the story progresses.
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Feathertide, a debut novel from Beth Cartwright is one of those books that pulls you in by the cover and the intriguing plot. Born covered in feathers, Marea is kept hidden away in the basement of a brothel and kept secret from the world. Curious to find out more about her past, she goes in search of her father who remains a mystery. This is a fantastical fairy tale with mermaids, and mysterious mystic weather and fortune tellers. This is a coming of age story Beth explores sexuality, family secrets and lies, self acceptance with great details into the characters and the world. Beth also appeared on my blog, talking about her ideal bookshop. You can read the Q&A over on my blog (link is on my profile). Thanks to this book I'm about to start reading a 1000 page fantasy novel as I've finally gotten over my resistance to fantasy!

Thank you to Netgalley for supplying me this title..
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This is one of those books where I couldn't describe the plot if I wanted to - I just couldn't do it justice in such a short post. But I'll try and outline some of the main aspects.
The story is of a girl called Maréa. She is born and raised by her single mother in a, ahem, <em>brothel. </em>Oh, and she has feathers. Not wings, but fine downy feathers across her body, and longer, thicker feathers along her back and shoulderblades.
Maréa has a relatively happy childhood. She's loved by her mother and all the women living in the brothel. She is, however, confined to the cellar for most of her time. The farthest she's ever travelled is the market, and this was only done on birthdays. Her mother simply wants to protect her, scared that her feathers will make her the recipient of unwanted attention.
Long story short, Maréa decides she wants to find her father. He had feathers, too, and perhaps he'd have some answers for her. But it won't be easy. The last - and only - time her mother ever met him was in a magical, faraway place, often referred to as the City of Water. Further, she never even knew his name.
Despite these clear obstacles, Maréa decides to head off across the ocean, alone. It's terrifying but so, so exciting, too! And oh, what the City had in store for her...
Let's just say the City of Water felt like such a mystical, whimsical place. Maréa and her feathers weren't strange - not when there were mermaids and Sky Worshippers around. Maréa soon settles in, making friends and even finding work and a place to live. She hears stories of all the wondrous people around, of things she had never dreamed of. And then she learns of the feathered people, the ones who sound so much like herself...
In this incredible city, Maréa learns a lot about herself as well as the world around her. She lives a life of adventure she never imagined for herself.
I know I probably didn't describe it very well, but there's just so much going on in this book. It had such a beautiful, fairytale feel to it, and I really enjoyed it. It was poetic and romantic at times, and also magical and wholly unique. I would definitely love to visit the City of Water. 4 stars!
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I was immediately intrigued by the beautiful cover of this book and it's unusual premise and that feeling of curiosity continued throughout the book.

Beginning with Marea's childhood hidden in the basement of a brothel, you follow her story as she explores the limited world around her, guided by her mother, the whores and a professor to teach her about the wider world. Before too long, being told about the world isn't enough and Marea sets out to find her father and learn the truth about herself. 

I was really excited to find out about the City of Murmurs but felt a little let down as, to me, it didn't seem quite as magical and wondrous as I was expecting from the blurb and the story slowed down for a while as Marea settles in and does a lot of dog walking. However, there are some beautiful descriptions of Marea's world and the City of Murmurs and I enjoyed the story as Marea met more characters and started to open herself up to love in different forms.

An intriguing, coming of age story that didn't quite draw me all the way in but was very enjoyable. I give this 3 out of 5.
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I requested this originally as I thought it was going to be suitable for the children at my school library, so I spent the first few chapters wondering about the suitability of the book for my audience. (My readers only go up to 13.) Having decided I’d been mistaken, I went on to enjoy Marea’s story. Told through her eyes, we learn about her unusual upbringing, her uniqueness and her quest to find her father and understand her roots. The description was beautiful, transporting you to the worlds of the story, and the story telling lyrical, such that you are swept along with it. Although it’s not the kind of book I’d usually read, I found I really enjoyed it. 
Thank you to NetGalley for the digital ARC.
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I confess I didn't actually finish the book. It was very slow - atmospheric, magical but slow - and I lost interest before the plot could really get started. I think it'll appeal to readers who are wanting to let themselves be taken by the hand on a long and slow magical journey. I normally do too, this book just came to me at the wrong moment in time.
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This was a quick read. A fantasy novel that is compared to The Night Circus was always going to have high expectations from me. Sadly, this book did not live up to the expectations. It sorely lacked worldbuilding and the characters were easily forgettable.
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This is a magical and beautiful read.

The language grips you from the start with fantastic descriptions helping you to understand Marea and who she is. It makes it a beautifully relaxing and enjoyable read. her journey is well described and you really feel like you are on the journey with her. Beth describes the feather and how they react to their environment in a way that makes you wonder if she has feathers herself!

I really hope to read more by Beth Cartwright in the future.

Thank you NetGalley for this ARC read.
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