Reviewed by Heather Osborne for Readers' Favorite
Feathers and Fireflies by Melanie Rodriguez is a young adult fantasy novella centering around seventeen-year-old Rory, as she tries to fulfill her dream of seeing the shapeshifters dance on summer solstice. In the village of Vanora, Rory knows she doesn’t fit in. Having lost both her parents, she now resides with her uncle and cousin. Her uncle would like nothing more than to see Rory doing ‘normal’ women’s duties, and be married off. He has no time for her dreams of education and life beyond the village. Rory is almost resigned to her fate until a mysterious stranger arrives in the village, with the promise of opening up those closed opportunities. Will Rory find a way to accomplish her dream of seeing the shapeshifters dance, or is she doomed to a life of drudgery?
I found myself really enjoying the world Melanie Rodriguez has painted in this swift read. Rory’s desire to be free of conformity is a strong theme for a young adult aimed book. I could see a few places where the story could have been expanded, or some description and explanation added. However, from reading the author’s notes, I do understand this was a submission to an anthology, so the length is understandable. I would push the author to write the next book in the series, exploring what happens to Rory after the end of the novella. I feel it would really make for a compelling read, and allow her to explore the history and magical origins of the characters in greater depth. Feathers and Fireflies by Melanie Rodriguez is a refreshing short tale that kept my attention from beginning to end.