“Feather Bound” by Sarah Raughley

I received this book for free from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

“Feather Bound” by Sarah RaughleyFeather Bound by Sarah Raughley
Published: 2014 by Strange Chemistry
Genres: Fantasy, Young Adult
Pages: 300
Format: eARC
Source: NetGalley
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True story:  I picked up this book because the protagonist shares the same name as my sister.

When Deanna attends the funeral of a family friend, she discovers a ghost from her past.  She thought that her childhood crush/friend Hyde was dead, but now he’s mysteriously reappeared and is fighting to reclaim his stepfather’s company.  Deanna had already mourned his loss and is now trying to sort out her feelings.  Of course, she’s got bigger problems, like trying to keep her broken family afloat because her alcoholic father can’t hold down a job.  And Deanna’s problems are about to get bigger…

You see, there are human swans.  They reminded me a bit of the swans in Summer and Bird, but without the benefits.  People can find out that they’re a swan at any age.  The transformation is often triggered by extreme stress, trauma, or otherwise emotional situations.  If someone steals your feathers, you are forced to submit entirely to their will.  You can see where this is going.  Obviously there are going to be people with swan fetishes, and when it’s that easy to control someone, consent isn’t happening.  If someone knows you are a swan, the threat of what they could do to you if given the chance is enough that you’ll do anything in your power to keep it from happening.  I’d have been much happier with Feather Bound if there was some sort of benefit to being a swan.  The ability to fly, for instance, or some other kind of magical power that helps tip the scales in favor of surviving with one’s freedom intact.  But in the world of Feather Bound, there’s nothing redeeming about being a swan.  You’re pretty much screwed.

And then there’s the love interest.  Hyde is what you’d get if you mix Edward Cullen’s stalker tendencies with Christian Grey’s money, with some angst and insecurity thrown in for good measure.  He’s not at all my type.

Feather Bound wasn’t the best book I’ve ever read, but it was an entertaining diversion.  It was a quick read, and I did enjoy it, but I felt that it could have benefited from a bit more world building and another pass from the editor to make it less cliche.  There was plenty of girl power to subvert the typical Cinderella story, and the idea of human swans was creative, just not well executed.

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4 comments

  1. My friend Tina ripped this book a new one unfortunately and all of her gripes sounded such that I knew this wouldn’t be for me. Nice that you enjoyed aspects of it though (I think she mentioned more editing was needed as well) but when you read an ARC you never can know what more is going to get done to it.

    1. One of the things I’ve realized in the past year or two is that a book can be objectively bad but still create that engaging can’t-put-it-down feeling. This book has a lot of obvious problems, but I had fun reading it anyway.

      I don’t think the problems with this one were an ARC issue so much as a not yet ready for publication without a flat-out rewrite, unfortunately.