All The Murmuring Bones by A.G. Slatter is a gothic fairy tale horror. Miren O’Malley’s family once prospered, but things have changed and in All The Murmuring Bones, Miren must learn the secrets.
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.
“Just hang on to whatever’s solid, Oisin would say, but it took me a long time to realize he meant I had to rely on myself: I was the only solid thing in that angry sea.”
This story was uniquely dark. It starts off with the groundwork for who the O’Malley’s are from the perspective of the town they reside in. This already starts the tale off in the vein of fairy tales. As things continue, we follow Miren’s perspective as her grandparents die, and she is set to marry an abusive man named Aidan. What follows is an amazingly written adventure as she tries to find her freedom and her own family history. Within this story, are more stories. These stories play as tales to put Miren at ease, but also to give us an idea of the history she comes from. I found this unique, and it broke up some of the storytelling in a good way.
“Grief is the black cat rubbing at your ankles, looking for attention,” Grandma Aoife says, which is beautiful until she follows it with, “Kick it enough times and it goes away.”
Our main character is strong-willed and incredibly smart. She is a main character demanding of respect, and sometimes, that is a wonderful thing to see. The additional characters that make up this horror are also well-written and interesting. You want to know a little bit about everyone’s story, and you do get those pieces of history. I always appreciate side characters that are written with their background in mind and stay true to those storylines.
“The prince of assassins felled so low by a woman and a tiny knife.”
The lore of this book is what genuinely held me the most. The legend, and family history, of the O’Malley’s, is genuinely so interesting. The way Slatter writes these classic tales into the family’s story, and the deals they must inherently make, held true to fairy tales of Grimm. They are dark, with lessons to be taught. They are fascinating and magical. At the end of the day, they are scary tales about how life can work for others. I think this is what makes this book a five-star read, and I will be purchasing it as soon as it is out.
“But who can keep secrets from the water when they are all joined?”
Thank you to Netgalley and the publisher for a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.