Book Review: All the Murmuring Bones

Thank you to NetGalley and Titan Books for providing me with an e-ARC of ‘All The Murmuring Bones’ by A.G. Slatter! It really was a thrilling ride.

Synopsis

Long ago Miren O’Malley’s family prospered due to a deal struck with the Mer: safety for their ships in return for a child of each generation. But for many years the family have been unable to keep their side of the bargain and have fallen into decline. Miren’s grandmother is determined to restore their glory, even at the price of Miren’s freedom.

A spellbinding tale of dark family secrets, magic and witches, and creatures of myth and the sea; of strong women and the men who seek to control them.

My Review

I wasn’t sure what to make of the book at first, as it delved far more into long descriptions of the O’Malley family and how they ended in the state they were in the ‘present’. I wasn’t even entirely sure on the timeframe the book was set, although I guessed somewhere in the 19th Century when corsets and long dresses were still worn. 

That isn’t to say I didn’t enjoy the descriptive chapters – they built the world up that Miren lived in deftly, and it related to further chapters down the line (or later in the book as it were)…

I’m not sure if we saw the development of character with Miren. Some books, you see the characters change and evolve, but I think this book was more a focus on Miren as she was. Is. She’s quite a strong character, despite the era she lives in. How she became that way is mentioned – but only that she is her grandmother’s daughter. You get the impression that she had to be strong to deal with her grandmother and the fact her parents disappeared from her life at such a young age. What I would have liked is some background to Miren, to understand better how she became such a fighter – for fighter she is, and she proves that in the interactions with the opposite sex. 

I love myth and folklore, and this book didn’t disappoint. It made them real in a way I have seen in other young adult books, but I felt that this was on the cusp between young adult and new adult, as well as perhaps historical, due to the timeframe this book is held in. There are old myths other than your usual fey. The mermen and women are more akin to their fierce old stories, and there are introductions of selkies and water horses that I recognised from the old tales. This is a book for those who are eager to seek out those old stories, a book that delves into them with a keen eye and with much darker descriptions than some books are want to. I did feel it was quite dark in places, but not so to keep you up at night.

I’m writing this review on International Women’s Day, and I think it’s a perfect book for that. Miren is a strong, capable woman despite the time she lives in. She fights for her freedom and ensures it at any cost. While I would have liked to see more character development rather than all the descriptive passages, I still quite enjoyed the book, and the fact I couldn’t put it down speaks volumes.

I give it 4 out of 5 stars.


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