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Title: All the Murmuring Bones
Author: A.G. Slatter
Publisher: Titan Books
Genre: Historical Fantasy | Gothic
Publication Date: March 9, 2021
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She’s eighteen, this girl, a woman really, raised mostly in isolation, taught to run a house as if this one isn’t a ruin waiting to fall with a dying family, no fortune and no prospects of which to speak.
There’s an old woman, though, with plans and plots of long gestation;
and there’s the sea, which will have her due, come hell or high water
and there are secrets and lies which never stay buried forever.
All the Murmuring Bones 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.
All the Murmuring Bones Review
Okay, so you all know I am a huge sucker for books that involve the ocean and its mythologies. Especially those books that show ocean mythologies as they were originally told, not the “Disney” versions and this gothic historical fantasy does just that.
Miren, the last “true” descendant of the O’Malley line, was raised by her grandparents. Upon her grandfather’s death, she inherits the decrepit castle at Hob’s Hallow. Miren is curious, feisty and thinks for herself which apparently is a trait she inherited from her grandmother. This sharp, ambitious, but destitute grandmother has decided that Miren will wed her wealthy cousin, Aidan Fitzpatrick, strengthening the coffers and increasing the O’Malley blood in the line. Grandmother thinks there’s much profit to be made from this scheme. Miren can’t shake the overwhelming sense of menace that marrying Aidan Fitzpatrick gives her. That, along with her burning desire to find her not-dead mother, Isolde, will see her flee Hob’s Hallow and set off on an adventure. Along the way, Miren encounters merfolk, witches, rusalki, corpsewights, and assassins. Once Miren arrives in Blackwater, she will discover the truth about her mother, but she’ll need to apply her clever-ness and knowledge of the O’Malley fairytales weaved into the story to untangle all the mysteries at Blackwater.
This fairytale of the last of the true O’Malleys twists and turns and weaves Grimm-like fairytales into a dark tale that gets darker the further you read. The beginning has a bit of an info dump, but the way that Angela Slatter uses her lyrical writing style it makes you wonder what parts of the story are true tales and what parts are long-told O’Malley fables. All the Murmuring Bones will have your brain on overdrive as you try to solve the mysteries along with Miren.
I would like to thank NetGalley and Titan Books for sending me a free copy in exchange for a fair and honest review.
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About A.G. Slatter
Angela Slatter is the author of the urban fantasy novels Vigil and Corpselight, as well as eight short story collections, including The Girl with No Hands and Other Tales, Sourdough and Other Stories, The Bitterwood Bible and Other Recountings, and A Feast of Sorrows: Stories. She has won a World Fantasy Award, a British Fantasy Award, a Ditmar, and six Aurealis Awards.
She has an MA and a PhD in Creative Writing, is a graduate of Clarion South 2009 and the Tin House Summer Writers Workshop 2006, and in 2013 she was awarded one of the inaugural Queensland Writers Fellowships. In 2016 Angela was the Established Writer-in-Residence at the Katharine Susannah Prichard Writers Centre in Perth.
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