30th June, 2022
Review: All the Murmuring Bones by A.G. Slatter (Titan Books)
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.
This is a book that started a bit slow for me and I was almost ready to give up on it. I'm grateful that I decided to keep going "for just a few more pages" because it was then that the story captured me hook, line and sinker.
I particularly loved all the folkloric elements and stories within the story. Slatter draws on many different myths and weaves them into something utterly new. The O'Malley family does not seem very likeable in all of this but I did find myself rooting for Miren. Even though she isn't a purely "good" character herself, she is ultimately the victim of her family's curse and she is bound to take revenge. And boy, did I love the revenge trope in this book!
This is in fact something readers should be aware of: This book is dark and sometimes it can be quite brutal. There is murder, sacrifice, betrayal. But also friendship, trust and enchantment. In parts the story borders on gothic horror with its creepy merpeople, cunning kelpies and crumbling manors.
If you are looking for a unique story about peculiar women and eldritch manifestations of mythological creatures, I highly recommend that you pick up this novel. It is dark, it is lyrical, it draws you in (well, you do need to have a bit of patience in the beginning but it's worth it).
I am eager to pick up Slatter's new book set in the same world as All the Murmuring Bones now. :-)
Rating: 4.5/5 stars
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