Review – Feathertide by Beth Cartwright

This sounded magical by anew and exiting author, but in the end I’m not so sure.

This ARC was provided to me by NetGalley in return for an honest review. Thank you.


by Beth Cartwright

One girl was born to be different…

Marea was born to be different – a girl born covered in the feathers of a bird, and kept hidden in a crumbling house full of secrets. When her new tutor, the Professor, arrives with his books, maps and magical stories, he reveals a world waiting outside the window and her curiosity is woken. Caught in the desire to discover her identity and find out why she has feathers fluttering down her back like golden thistledown, she leaves everything she has ever known and goes in search of the father she has never met.

This 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. It is here that she learns about love, identity and how to accept being that little bit different.
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.

  • the birds
  • the world

A slow mild read but interesting.

I got a bit of an Erin Morgenstern vibe but the writing is not there yet. It’s weird and whimsical with the tiniest details that become magical. I went back and forths between “the author is trying too hard” and “this is dreamy”.

Throughout the entire book, I dipped my toe in both “I like this book” and “I’m wasting my time”. Back and forths for the entire book. I ended up in the shallows of the puddle of time-wasting and feeling OK about that…

We follow the main character as she grows up in a whore house away from any prying eyes and hidden in the basement wishing she knew who her father was. It’s not a normal world though there is something extra about it, but I got major Scottish island feel.

I did feel the main character didn’t struggle enough though. I could see the conflict building up but then it would evaporate and everything would be fine.

There are two plotlines in this book, and I felt the mermaid one got a bit in the way, which was probably the point. But it was most detailed than the father plotline and I would have loved to see more of the father-daughter “love story” with family love take the centre stage than the mermaid desire love story getting in the way. I cared a lot more about the father-daughter story that the other one.

I didn’t expect the turn towards the end and I hoped she would have made a different choice though I understand why and that it leads her to where she needed to be at the end.

Everything is given in small bits like breadcrumbs. Exactly how I liked it.

The world starts on an island and I was getting Scotland vibes. But then the world expands with floating islands and magical mists, with sirens and half animals half-human people.

The place names throughout the books include names like Streets of Lost and Found, Bridge of Longing, City of Murmurs. In the beginning, this annoyed me, but it grew on me and now I kind of like it. But the place isn’t big. They are all islands. I have no idea if this is a whole world but they keep referring, to what we would call the sea, to the lagoon so it feels smaller.

I have no idea how this works.

It’s like a mystery wrapt in mist. There is nothing there when you try to look closer. There is nothing there when you reach your hand out to touch it. But still, weird things happen. It isn’t straight out magic. There is no wands or spells or anything like that. There is just something in the air which makes things a bit different. You can lose time, literally. Mist can be magical and heal broken hearts and brings bird people to town on a floating island.

Marea the main character is half bird half something else. She hunts for her father and we follow her journey to find him. She seems to want to hide all the time but I also get the feeling she trusts very easily. I didn’t buy her 100%, something wasn’t right and I can’t put my finger on it. I struggle to connect with her and she was quite frustrating some times.

yes and not judged

Thee are small inconsistencies throughout the book which is mildly annoying but they are few and far between.

The writing itself is clear precise and not heavy which make the book joyous to read.

I did feel the author had made some decisions to let Marea off easy. There were several built-ups to a struggle or conflict that just dwindled away – like letting go of a balloon after you slowly blew it up. I got a bit disappointed, but then again I know it can be really hard for an author to inflict pain on their characters. I know, I’ve been there (though I’m not an author just a writer 🙂 ). But then again, maybe I just like my characters to suffer…

I had an ARC ad I found a few continuity issues throughout the book but they were few and far between. I hope they are not included in the final version.

Interesting and magical but easy.

I’m curious to see what the author does next.

Have you read this? What did you think?

2 thoughts on “Review – Feathertide by Beth Cartwright

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