It’s my blog tour stop today for this wonderful book. Thank you Sarah Mather at
Titan Books for inviting me on this tour.
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 is a modern gothic-style fairytale with a dark and sinister atmosphere. There is a marvellous blend of fairytale, folklore and magic and you get the sense you are reading an old fairytale, immediately drawn into the wonderful atmosphere created by the author. The whimsical short stories sprinkled at various intervals throughout the story are genius and added to the folkloric feel. The author’s writing style is detailed and evocative, the world is beautifully described and I conjured up some lovely vivid images of the setting and dark ocean underworld. It’s a winding, twisty tale which is engaging and compelling. The plot is intricate and there is a wonderful mystery to solve.
Set in a 19th Century Irish setting the first few chapters establishes the family dynamics and we learn about the history of the O’Malleys. The O’Malley’s are a family who were once influential and powerful, a family who were not afraid to make dark deals to ensure their family’s prosperity and the continuance of their family’s bloodline. These initial chapters explaining the family’s history are interesting and set the tone for the rest of the novel.
I enjoy reading a book where the lead protagonist goes on a journey and this didn’t disappoint. We follow Miren, the last true O’Malley, on her quest to find her long lost parents and escape the clutches of Aidan Fitzpatrick and her imminent forced marriage to him. Under cover of darkness, she leaves Hob’s Hallow on her journey to find Blackwater, a mysterious place ‘somewhere in the north’ that no one seems to have heard of and where she believes her parents now live. We come across some fearsome creatures and bone-chilling encounters along the way.
Although slow paced the story is beautifully constructed and the author takes the time to explore the world and unfurl the story piecemeal and it isn’t until the remaining few chapters that the real mystery is uncovered. There was enough going on to hold my interest and it didn’t feel drawn out. I loved the dark, brooding and unpredictable atmosphere which was not ‘too dark’ to be dispiriting.
The world building is wonderful and I enjoyed reading about all the sea and land dwelling creatures and spirits. The Kelpie in particular stole my heart and I loved that he became a part of the story joining forces with Miren at the end of her journey. There is an automaton called Delphine, who is unbelievably creepy and who in all likelihood has a trapped soul within her. Delphine plays a very minor part in the story and I was slightly disappointed as I was expecting her to play a more pivotal role.
There is a nice mix of characters both good and evil. In particular I enjoyed Miren’s character development she started off as an amiable almost submissive character, but as the story progresses there is a shift in her persona and we see a more ruthless and headstrong, bordering on violent side to her, and she becomes a strong young woman with purpose.
The ending is gratifying, all the pieces fitted together perfectly. A really enjoyable read and one I would recommend if you enjoy stories with a journey of self discovery and dark, twisty tales of witchcraft, mythological creatures and magic.
Publisher: Titan Books
Publication Date: 8 April 2021
Page Count: 368
Genre: YA/Fantasy/Gothic Fairytale
Thank you to the publisher, via Netgalley, for the advanced copy of this book to review.
Please do not hesitate to comment below if you liked my review or have any comments about this book 😊