Welcome to my stop on the All the Murmuring Bones blog tour! Huge thanks to Titan Books for giving me the opportunity to take part in this! I was provided a copy of the novel in exchange for an honest review.
All the Murmuring Bones focuses on Miren, the last in the O’Malley bloodline. A bloodline who has sacrificed one of their own to the Mer each generation to ensure safe passage for their ships. For decades the O’Malley’s have been struggling to keep to their deal as the line slowly dies out. In one last ditch attempt to reclaim the family honour, Miren’s grandmother is determined to marry off Miren to continue the legacy whether Miren wants to or not.
The entire novel is from Miren’s perspective, which did a great job of concealing certain things about the world at first, through withholding explanations. Whilst I wasn’t sure about Miren as a protagonist in the beginning the more I spent time with her the more I really came to like and appreciate her. Although Miren regularly reminded the reader that she is an O’Malley, it isn’t until a little later on that you realise the weight that the name carries. She was such a strong character and I loved how independent she was. Additionally, I loved how Miren wasn’t naive and didn’t fall for the same clichéd traps that so many other protagonists do. She’s a wonderfully headstrong character, who has a healthy dose of suspicion of everyone she meets.
Miren meets a whole host of interesting characters throughout the novel. All of which have a Gothic fairytale feel about them (from the singing automon to the three ghosts eager to tell their tales). Without giving away any spoilers; I also enjoyed how so many characters have two sides and their own ulterior motives. Slatter clearly defines which characters are important and recurring, and which ones whose brief appearance adds a little something extra and are there to develop Miren and the world around her rather than advance the plot.
Speaking of the world and plot, although the pacing was a little slow to start with, the more we began to learn about the history of the O’Malley’s the more the pace began to pick up and I was struggling to put the book down. I really enjoyed the way Slatter gradually built the word around Mirren. Whilst we were made aware that the world that Miren is in isn’t quite the same as our own, you don’t know the extent of the Gothic and the supernatural straight away, it is slowly revealed to the reader as Miren makes her way through the world. We also learn about the lore of the world through small interludes of fairy tales that Miren is recounting to the reader, however some of them seem like they’re more than just stories. I thought these tales and myths were well written and even familiar which shows the amount of careful thought and craft Slatter has put into these scenes.
Overall, I really enjoyed this novel. I loved the dark Gothic feel of this bone with the brief moments of humour as well as mine at the protagonist. Although the pacing was slightly off at first, the novel more than makes up for this and is a great read!