Thank you so much to Titan Books via NetGalley for the early digital copy of All the Murmuring Bones! This is a hugely atmospheric, dark fairy tale from A.G Slatter that I think most fans of lore and legends will love
- Title: All the Murmuring Bones
- Series: N/A, but some of the authors short stories “live” in this world
- Author: A.G. Slatter
- Publisher & Release: Titan Books, 3/9/21
- Length: 368 or
- Rate & Recommend: 🌟🌟🌟🌟 yes for genre fans!
Here is the synopsis from Amazon:
For fans of Naomi Novik and Katharine Arden, a dark gothic fairy tale from award-winning author Angela Slatter.
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.
Oh man, so far I think Slatter deserves every single of those literary awards, and I am extremely interested in her short fiction tales.
All the Murmuring Bones is all of the things in the description and more. Miren is the last of the O’Malleys and is absolutely not going to be controlled by any man, nor give children up to the sea. Reeling from the decisions made by her grandmother before her death, including an arranged marriage, Miren takes off to find her (presumably deceased, but not) parents.
Her journey is met with ghosts, wights, kelpies, Merfolk, and all other sorts of legend. All obstacles aside, Miren is Aoife’s granddaughter and has a basic knowledge of witchcraft, and she is of an absolutely fierce line of women. I liked the theme of the men having a semblance of control throughout the family history, while the women truly and obviously ran things.
The story is addicting, with little short stories intertwined as Miren recalls or learns more family lore. There is murder and mystery and bargains to be made.
The book starts at Hob’s Head, the family ancestral home, a sea side estate falling into disrepair. With wights on the main road and a family crypt, the setting and atmosphere are set. Her parents home of Blackwater is equally mysterious, but it’s hard to go there without spoilers on the mystery so I won’t. Lets say that just about nothing at Blackwater is as it appears, and I was just shocked at .. All of it.
Let’s just say that the setting and atmosphere is absolutely first rate.
I love Slatter’s writing style too, I tell you this woman is putting her PHD in creative writing to good use.
Bonus content: how to pronounce these Irish names:
- Aoife: EE-fuh
- Oisin: OH-sheen (Rhymes with clean)
- These according to my Irish friend
If you like fierce women, witchcraft, lore, myths, murder and mystery and more, all drowning in dark fairy tale atmosphere, please check this one out!