Review: Feather Bound by Sarah Raughley

June 17, 2014 2 stars, Book Review, Young Adult 35 ★★

Review: Feather Bound by Sarah RaughleyFeather Bound by Sarah Raughley
Published by Strange Chemistry on May 6, 2014
Genres: Fantasy, Young Adult
Pages: 304
Format: eARC
Source: Publisher

*This book was provided by the Publisher for review. No compensation was provided and all opinions are strictly my own.

When Deanna's missing friend Hyde turns up at his father's funeral to claim his corporate empire and inheritance, she is swept into his glittering world of paparazzi and wealth.

But re-kindling her friendship and the dizzying new emotions along for the ride are the least of her concerns. Because Deanna has a secret - and somebody knows. Someone who is out to get Hyde. And if she doesn't play along, and help the enemy destroy him...she will be sold to the highest bidder in the black market for human swans.

Now Deanna is struggling to break free from the gilded cage that would trap her forever...

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.


Through out Feather Bound there are mini fairy tales from the world in which the book is staged. It’s a world much like our reality, except for the swans. 3% of the population sometime around puberty and during traumatic or stressful situations will sprout feathers from their backs. These feathers if stolen will grant the thief the loyalty and complete control of the swan. (Pretty ridiculous really, but hey if it makes for a good story…) That’s about all you learn about swans, and their folklore other than how they are abused. This is where the book gets dark… really adult and really dark. But, we’ll get back to that.

Deanna the swan:

Dee for short, has a childhood best friend and crush that she thought had died years ago (Hyde). While attending the funeral of Hyde’s adopted father Dee is shocked to see Hyde, and not just the Hyde she knew but a devilishly cute Hyde. Not only is Hyde handsome, he is also inheriting his adopted father’s company and money. So, what does that make him? That’s right a hot billionaire. But, Dee it turns out, has other problems. While at a party she falls into a glass table and as she is obviously emotionally upset starts to sprout her feathers. She is holed up in a bathroom in immense pain as feathers sprout through her skin and has to manage to sneak out wearing a trench coat, hoping nobody sees her shame, or guesses her secret. Dee’s life is over, she is a swan! It’s described almost like a STD in the book, with her sister bringing her pamphlets titled “So you’re a swan” etc. Hyde is worried about her and calls a million times, sends gifts and is in general a creepy stalker. Dee isn’t really into him (which was the first sound thought she’s had)… until a sinister duo trying to take Hyde’s inherited company finds out that Dee is a swan and threatens her with all sorts of awful if she doesn’t ruin Hyde’s reputation and therefore ruin his business. Dee plans to ruin Hyde, and while getting him to fall in love with her she of course falls in love with him… shocker right?

All sorts of awful:

What’s the worst blackmail for a swan? Stealing her feathers, raping her, selling her into slavery, and forcing her into prostitution. Not your typical YA themes here…View Spoiler » The book felt VERY young adult up until these darker themes, which felt so out of place. I was seriously reading it going…”There is no way they are going to take the story there… OH SNAP they did!!!” Now, they didn’t get into details and they didn’t openly discuss some of the really adult things, the prostitution was pretty openly discussed but there was never a sex scene in the book or a rape scene. Everything was just kind of second hand. So, maybe that’s why it was thought to be ok to be in a YA book. Or maybe YA has just morphed from what I’ve come to expect. It felt really disjointed like Twilight with scenes from Game of Thrones cut into it, but maybe turned into a cartoon so it wouldn’t be quite so offensive.

The wrap up:

If you want a crazy shocker read, that is if I haven’t spoiled the fun for you… sorry about that. If you want a good YA book, no… try something else. If you want an adult novel, this isn’t it. If you want to read a YA book and go… WTF did I just read?… YOU HAVE FOUND YOUR BOOK!!! I seriously had to put down my phone and refrain from messaging Tabitha as soon as I was done reading at 1am asking WTF was that!? That being said I am so HAPPY I finished this book, it was an experience reading it and thinking “No, surely not… they won’t do that… holy crap did I just read the word twat  in a YA book… WOW”.


Gamer girl extraordinaire, law student, mother of twin boys and one lil girl. I can often be found taking care of my family, working on home renovation projects, reading, gaming, and all the while text warring with Tabitha.

35 Responses to “Review: Feather Bound by Sarah Raughley”

  1. Cait @ Notebook Sisters

    Okay, I’m actually hopelessly curious now. It does seem a little “out there” for YA, though?! The whole sprouting feathers thing I always find cool (okay! I like weird things!) but yeah the whole creepy-lover-stalker thing rarely floats my boat.
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    • Tina

      Oh, it’s not just the needy creeper main love thing… there is something even more repugnant under the spoiler tab. If you are curious though, by all means give it a go, but if you start you HAVE to finish… the end is were all the true WTF moments happen. Good luck, and let me know what you think!
      Tina recently posted…Review: Deadly Curiosities by Gail Z. MartinMy Profile

    • Tina

      Yeah, to be honest I didn’t even read the blurb on the back… I rarely do. Tabitha says “Hey read this one” and I say “Yes Master”(This is actually how I like it because otherwise I am completely overwhelmed by the choices). So I REALLY didn’t know what I was in for.
      Tina recently posted…Review: Deadly Curiosities by Gail Z. MartinMy Profile

  2. Jenny @ Supernatural Snark

    Hmmm. Not sure quite what to think about this one really – the disjointed nature of it with it feeling young one minute only to deal with prostitution and rape the next (even off page) seems like it would be really off-putting. The swan aspect sound fascinating though and definitely not something I’ve come across before. Lovely review Tina, hopefully whatever you pick up next wows you!
    Jenny @ Supernatural Snark recently posted…Defector Blog Tour: Author Interview + GiveawayMy Profile

    • Tabitha (Pabkins)

      Tina really deserves a good book. Someone else and I just noticed so far her average is like a 2.5 or something for the review books she’s landed with so far. So either she’s hard to impress – or she’s just got some rotten luck pulling from the review stack so far! LOL.
      Tabitha (Pabkins) recently posted…Review: Feather Bound by Sarah RaughleyMy Profile

    • Tina

      Thanks! I need some wowing right now! The swan part was interesting for sure, so was the deeper themes of the swans being 2nd class citizens. The rest well… the rest was WTF. 🙂

      Tabitha, maybe I am to hard to please… But, man when I give something 5 stars everyone is going to HAVE to read it right?
      Tina recently posted…Review: Deadly Curiosities by Gail Z. MartinMy Profile

  3. Lisa (@TenaciousReader)

    Seeing as how I read V.C.Andrews as a pre-teen/early teen, I tend to be a bit (a lot) more lenient with what I think is alright for younger readers. But I’ve definitely read some where the style of writing versus the content of the book just seem to be at such odds with one another. It just leaves you wondering who the book is really aimed at. Honestly, I almost hate to confess, but this sounds a bit more like my type of book than most ones that get a YA label.
    Lisa (@TenaciousReader) recently posted…Unwept by Tracy Hickman and Laura HickmanMy Profile

  4. Jaime Lynn

    Ummm… Seriously? I am so… I don’t even know. Just, ummm? Yeah, so thank you for the review! I appreciate the spoilers, I am in a state of shock about some of the things that go on in this book. YA has gotten pretty progressive in recent years, and that is okay for the most part. But the themes present in this story aren’t okay for YA, in my opinion. Yeah, think I will skip it.
    Jaime Lynn recently posted…Top Ten TuesdayMy Profile

  5. Jessica @ Rabid Reads


    OMG<—–still sitting here in slack-jawed shock and horror. SO. I DNF-ed this at 28% b/c STUPID. Everything up to that point had been so ridiculous, and then at 28% dollface found that youtube video. You know, the one where that kid stabbed the swan kid in the leg with a knife and then stuck her finger in it? Yeah, that's where I quit. And every (single friggin') time I DNF a book, I always wonder in the back of my mind, "What if it got better? How did it end?" Now . . . have to say, this book might have been the best DNF decision of my LIFE. Great review. You deserve iced coffee on a hot day, a foot rub from Hiddles, and blueberry pancakes for finishing this book. Just sayin' . . .
    Jessica @ Rabid Reads recently posted…Review: Siege and Storm by Leigh BardugoMy Profile

    • Tina

      I actually laughed out loud. Thank you. It only took me a couple of days to read. I had completely forgoten about the youtube scene, if that says anything about the horrors beyond. You didn’t miss anything except a shock show. I will totally get myself a coffee and tell the Fiance that it was an order! *smiles wickedly*
      Tina recently posted…Review: Deadly Curiosities by Gail Z. MartinMy Profile

  6. Kel

    Haha, I have a feeling I enjoyed reading your review more than I’d enjoy the book. It does sound strange. Did you feel some of the plot elements were there specifically for the shock value, or was this just the fun, Barney-hugging world the author dreamed up? I suppose I shouldn’t be too surprised. Strange Chemistry seems to keep publishing books with really interesting concepts, but something almost always go wonky for me in the execution. Anyway, thanks for the great review!
    Kel recently posted…Updates: Riding in Cars with AudiobooksMy Profile

    • Tina

      I definitely felt that some of the plot choices were there to “shock” the reader. Some of the scenes didn’t even need to be there for the plot. Also, Dee made some REALLY STUPID choices when it came to her personal safety which bothered me… A LOT. I should have put that in there, but I felt like I had bashed the poor book enough. I didn’t know about the publisher at all, so it was definitely a completely new experience.
      Tina recently posted…Review: Deadly Curiosities by Gail Z. MartinMy Profile

  7. Anya

    I have to applaud Strange Chem for always having books that break the common themes of the genre, but this definitely doesn’t sound like a book for me. I was suspicious when I saw it originally and decided not to request which looks like was a good idea. Thanks for the honest review!
    Anya recently posted…Ruin and Rising by Leigh Bardugo {5 Stars}My Profile

  8. Kirsty-Marie

    Okay, because I do kind of love spoilers sometimes, I read it. AND NOW I’M THINKING WTF DID I READ. I like twisted, okay I do. Creepy and twisted is my thing, but even I wouldn’t go there with a book. SERIOUSLY. I just no-. Hell no. Love the appeal though, look, pretty cover, let’s draw you in with that, ohhh, it’s about swans, that’s different…wait, no, no, WTF, NO.
    Kirsty-Marie recently posted…Review: The Long FallMy Profile

  9. Grace

    The thing that bothered me the most is that there was no redeeming factor about being a swan that would be a balance to the whole people-can-steal-your-will thing. Like, the ability to fly or to communicate with birds or really any sort of cool superpower would have balanced out the story a bit.

    On the whole though, I enjoyed the book, even if I found myself rolling my eyes at the sheer number of things that were wrong with it.
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