A fresh new novel by author Angela Slatter, All the Murmuring Bones takes readers on a witchy and curious ride. Slatter intertwines Gothic Fantasy, folklore, and bildungsroman to build an intriguing world around our protagonist, Miren O’Malley. Plot development is entertaining and wildly imaginative, and we follow 18-year-old Miren persist through a series of interrelated hardships, horrors, and adventures.
Snippets of ancestral mythology and whispered lore anchor the main character’s journey, weaving a mysterious spell, enchanting you from beginning to end. (Yes, there are mermaids, witches, ghosts, and more.)
Slatter’s storytelling is rich and atmospheric, imbued with haunting imagery. However, in some cases, plot-advancing storylines and character interactions felt almost incomplete, leaving me wishing for elaboration. At times, the exposition seemed to speak around the plot rather than to it, obscuring the narrative in a way that required immediate re-reading.
Some facets of character development seemed rushed, limited, particularly toward the end. Perhaps this was a deliberate ambiguity, contributing to the eerie and unsettling undertones laced through the story. I found myself wanting to uncover more of Miren’s personality and further explore the stratified nuances of her relationships as well as the perceptions she held.
Perfect for a cold winter afternoon, All the Murmuring Bones is a delicious read for fans of fantasy with Gothic vibes (or Gothic with a shimmering fantasy element). I give this fantastical page-turner a robust 3.5 thanks to the vividly imagined magical world, inventive plot conflicts, and the unique and mesmerizing ingredients that enrich the narrative.
Thanks to Titan Books and NetGalley, I received an ARC of the ebook for the purpose of review. All the Murmuring Bones will be released on March 9, 2021.
Content Warning: murder, violence