Cover Image: All the Murmuring Bones

All the Murmuring Bones

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Member Reviews

I really enjoyed this story, I thought it was unique and really well narrated. It didn't feel too much like a gothic fairytale about witches and mer, instead I liked the ways that small magics and 'common' mythical creatures were just kind of skimmed over as a part of life, albeit a bit unusual. I liked Miren a lot, she takes everything in her stride and I enjoyed the single POV throughout the storyline. There were a few twists and turns and I really didn't know what to expect of the story when I started, but I enjoyed it overall.
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A brilliant fairytale for adults, this audiobook was brilliantly narrated and had me waiting in anticipation for the next installment every time I had to stop listening and do something else.. 
This story of Miren and her clan is dark and mysterious. Somehow her life is tied into the people of the sea, and bargains which were made many generations before her birth. Each generation, a sacrifice must be made to the sea, and a child must be given up in payment for successful fishing and safety at sea for the O’Malley clan. 
How Miren discovers the truth and the dark secrets which have been kept from her, are woven through this beautiful tale. A brilliant read. 
Thanks to #NetGalley for the opportunity to listen to this audiobook in exchange for an honest review
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All the Murmuring Bones tells the tale of the mysterious O'Malley family. Once wealthy and powerful, their prestige has dwindled over the years along with the size of their family. Mirin is the last true blood O'Malley, raised by her grandparents after her parents died and soon to be sold into marriage with her cousin. Determined to have her freedom and intrigued by new secrets thrown up by her grandfathers passing, Mirin sets out to find out the truth behind her parents deaths and the secret of O'Malley power. 
This book is weaved throughout with Irish folklore and  from the beginning has a ghostly fairy-tale tone that lends the book a gothic atmosphere. This is a world where hanged men walk and mer folk appear in the sea, and where stories hold power and secrets. The atmosphere was so well done that I felt cold fingers up my spine and I really enjoyed the interspersing of stories that gave us hints to the mysteries beneath. Some elements I felt could have been more fully explored, and it was almost a book of two halves, with the mysterious gothic novel of the beginning collided with the supernatural thriller of the second half. There were overtones of Bluebeard and other fairytales that I felt were so well integrated.
Unfortunately for me this book felt a little disjointed, where the scenes of action did not feel seamlessly blended into the atmosphere of the book, and so the tone jarred a little. I am not someone who likes a huge amount of plot in books anyway, and this is the main reason why, it is hard to keep up the tone of the book and so there were passages that felt a little out of place and did not have the beauty of the more haunting or descriptive passages. The ending also felt fairly predictable and wrapped up in a way that did not feel earned, and some of the male characters felt underdeveloped. 
For fans of Caroline Lea and Stacey Halls
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This is a gorgeous dark fairy tale set in a world where kelpies, mermaids and ghosts are common. The story centers around the O’Malley family, and Mirren, the last of the line specifically. Unable to fulfill an old promise made to the Mer years ago, Miren’s grandmother creates an arranged marriage for Miren before she dies. If the O’Malley’s cannot surrender a child from each generation to the sea, the Mer will wreak havoc on the family’s ships. Mirren will have none of it, refusing to be sold off to a man she doesn’t love and sets out to find the parents she has only recently learned may not be dead, as she was always told. Meeting mythical creatures, both dangerous and benign on her journey, Miren learns how to become the master of her own fate. McMahon’s delivery of this story is magical, making Miren and her world come to life
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A really pleasant gothic fairy-tale which I thoroughly enjoyed!

I loved Miren O'Malley's character, her strength and determination, decided to not be forced into a life of servitude to a husband she's not chosen. opting for freedom above all else. Driven to find what happened to her parents, she embarks on a journey through which she encounters magical creatures and dark souls, but she never wavers from her goal. 

An inspiring and enjoyable tale which was recounted by a talented narrator.
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This book started off slow, and it took me a little while to get into the narration, so much so that after getting to about 12% I had to totally start again from scratch. Once I started again and really got into it, however, the slow burn was super intriguing. One minute my match was lit and the next thing I knew everything was on fire. 

I ended up absolutely adoring this novel. I have a real soft spot for Irish novels and this mixed with the fantasy, folklore and mythical elements created a really dark and dreamy atmosphere that I just needed to devour and finish it as soon as I could. 

Characters are fab, Miren is so strong and independent despite everything that she's been through. One tough cookie and ATMB is totally worth a read just to connect with her.

Thanks to NetGalley, W.F. Howes Ltd and A.G. Slatter for an eAlc copy of this novel in exchange for an honest review.
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This is such a great cover!  I love that it is so simple yet it completely drew me in and made me want to read this book.  

Thanks to NetGalley and W.F. Howes for making this audiobook available.  The narrator, Aoife McMahon, was spectacular!  Her heavy accent (Scottish or Irish? I’m not really good at deciphering) was a pleasure to listen to. I usually listen to audiobooks at 1.75 or even 2.0 speeds, but due to the narrator’s accent, I had to keep this at 1.5 and really pay attention.  In this case, it brought me into the story and I enjoyed it so much more because of it.

A family bargain with a Sea Witch to ensure abundant riches in exchange for a child from each generation is the preface of this dark fairy tale. A break in the tradition leaves Miran having to marry her cousin to ensure a pure bloodline with plans to provide an offspring to the Sea in order to gain back their wealth.  Only Miran has other ideas and instead, is determined to locate her long-lost mother. A journey is set before her, and it will not be an easy on. 

There are so many adventurous challenges that take place in the story that there was never a dull moment.  I was often so interested in an event that I was sure the story would branch off in that direction. Several great twists and interesting happenings will keep you guessing at the stories ending.

The dark nature of both Sea Creatures and Humans alike make this world exciting and treacherous. The weaving of this fairytale world is both beautiful and plausible, making me feel like I could travel to this destination.

I highly recommend for those readers who love dark fairy tales.
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All the Murmuring Bones is a terrific cross between a coming of age story, an adventure story and a magical fairy tale. It is beautifully dark and gothic; full of magic and witchcraft. Here, Miren O'Malley's world shifts on its axis after the death of her grandfather. To refill the family's long depleted coffers, her grandmother feels it is necessary to marry her off to a rich cousin. Funds would certainly help but Miren takes a different view when she uncovers long buried secrets about her mother and father, who have been out of her life since she was 3 years old.

The story takes Miren on quite an adventure as she encounters a number of mythical creatures and must keep her wits sharp at every turn. The poetic writing made it wholly delightful though the story felt ever so slightly shallow, with not a lot of detail and emotion. Maybe that's just Miren as we do experience the story unfolding from her point of view? She is certainly a no nonsense girl and didn't get fussed over anything - even when she believed death was imminent. She was always in control and unflappable. Didn't bother me much as the writing was exceptional with great turns of phrase peppered throughout sharing a refreshing outlook on things. The folklore stories interspersed throughout provided a glimpse into another realm of creatures – mer people, kelpies, whites and ghosts, etc –  I've not encountered often, really made this a story well worth reading.

I listened to the audiobook of All the Murmuring Bones, I feel confident saying this gothic  novel, supported strongly by an injection of fairy tale and folklore, was made complete by the narration provided by the gifted Aoife McMahon. Her lyrical Irish voice lifted this story and delivered it to the next level, for me. The story was very good but the narration made it that much better. A real joy to listen to, honestly.
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This book was an adventure, a journey through a story rather than a book. A beautiful reading experience, written in stunning lyrical form that was enough to transport a reader far away, and is hard to put into words. Utterly luscious and darkly mythical, this is a book that will stay with me. The narration is a stunning addition, and pays fair complement to the writing.
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This... was okay? Though I'm inclined to think the parts that didn't work for me were more of a 'it's me not you' problem.

The premise was interesting and Slatter's writing is certainly beautiful - and McMahon's narration is absolutely gorgeous too! But the story didn't really hook me: I didn't particularly care for Mirren or really get a feel for her wants and motivations beyond not wanting to get married, but she's definitely capable and stubborn, so I could see fans of the stereotypically 'strong', morally grey heroines enjoying her!

The story was also kind of... rambly? It didn't feel like there was really a driving arc (there's a reason why the synopsis is so vague, I guess) so it just sort of meandered along from one plot point to another. The jumps between chapters were also weird, with a lot of the action happening off-page and us just getting the aftermath, which threw me off a few times. Again, things that definitely won't bother everyone, but since I wasn't interested in Mirren, I needed to be able to be compelled by the plot!

The folklore elements were definitely intriguing and my favourite parts were the story-within-a-story fairytales from Mirren's childhood; also the writing style, as I've mentioned, really added to that Gothic fairytale vibe. I did feel like there were a few too many types of magic at times (witches, merpeople, kelpies, and this random magic automaton who shows up twice and doesn't really add anything to the plot?).

All in all, I think a good one for people who like atmospheric dark fantasy with mystery elements, morally grey main characters, and narration in a lovely Irish accent!
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Firstly, thank you so much for the opportunity to review this title.

Sadly this book just wasn't for me. The narrator was excellent, I just really struggled to get into the story and didn't feel any connection to the characters at all.

In the end I chose to DNF the book but it wouldn't stop me from trying another book by this author in the future. I will not be leaving a review on Goodreads as I did not finish the book and don't think it would be fair to do so.
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The narrator of chosen for this title was absolutely perfect. She conveys the atmosphere of the plot brilliantly.

Additionally, it isn't just conveying an overall atmosphere but following the cadence, the ebb and flow of the story. She is neither always on 1, 10, or worse monotone. 

She knows how to modulate her tone, volume, undulating her voice for fantastic dramatic effect.
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Really good and well thought out book. I really enjoyed the concept, characters and execution. Thoroughly recommend it.
The narrator was very good and I loved the Irish accent.
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‘One for the house, one for the Church and one for the sea.’ 

My thanks to W.F Howes for a review copy of the unabridged audiobook edition via NetGalley of ‘All the Murmuring Bones’ by A.G. Slatter. This was narrated by Aoife McMahon and has a running time of 10 hours, 45 minutes at 1x speed.

This was amazing. I love stories that feature sea lore and mer-folk, so I was very drawn to this novel from my first sight of its stunning cover. 

Its lead and narrator is Miren O'Malley. Many years previously the O’Malley family had entered into a pact with the mer-folk: in return for the safety of their family’s ships in every generation they would give a child to the sea. Yet for years the family has been unable to fulfil their side of the bargain with the result that their fortunes have declined.

Now Miren's grandmother is determined to restore the family to its former glory and so is manipulating her into marrying a wealthy distant cousin. Thus, when Miren has children, one will be given as tribute to the sea-queen. Yet Miren is determined to create her own destiny. 

Slatter has crafted a truly wonderful Gothic fantasy with dark family secrets, witches and magic, and plenty of mythic creatures including those associated with the sea. It is a tale of strong women and also of the men who inevitably seek to control them.

Woven into the main narrative are a number of fantastic tales that are taken from Angela Slatter’s previous collections. In her Author’s Notes she writes: “I wanted to have a world where the tales I’ve told readers in the past are ones that these characters also grew up with.”

In addition, Slatter has created very vivid settings,  including Hobb’s Hallow, the O’Malley’s ancestral  home, and the mysterious Blackwater estate. These details were very finely drawn bringing an authenticity to her world building.

In terms of the audiobook, Irish actor Aoife McMahon was a brilliant choice. I have loved her work on a number of titles. She is certainly in demand with over 125 audiobook titles to her credit and has also won a number of awards for the same. 

Aoife McMahon’s voice is beautiful and melodic and I felt that it complimented the storytelling style of the novel and brought Miren O’Malley and her world vividly to life. 

I adored this book and it is one of the best fantasies that I have read in some time. I was very pleased to read that Slatter is writing another novel set in the same world for publication in 2022. I also will be investigating her back catalogue of novels and stories.

Very highly recommended.
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A gothic fairytale gem! I listened to the audio narrated by Aoife McMahon, whose melodic tone and enchanting accent complimented the telling of this tale. ‘All the Murmuring Bones’ is a rich blend of fairytale, magic and myth that delivers a darkly original story. 

At the heart of this tale is young Miren O’Malley who has lived shut away from the world with her grandmother Aoife O’Malley. To rebuild the family fortune Aoife needs to ensure the O’Malley bloodline continues and plots this outcome by arranging the marriage of Miren to Aidan Fitzpatrick. Miren has no desire to marry and certainly not to a man as cruel as Aiden. She plots against this bargain and sets in motion the unsettling journey that follows. 

Angela Slatter has a remarkable writing style and seems to drop moments of horror effortlessly throughout the story. The eerie atmosphere, array of creatures, magical elements and strong characters satisfyingly blend together.
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“Other families might have stories of curses, cold lads and white ladies, but we have old gods, merfolk and monsters.”

Miren O’Malley is the last true heir of a powerful family steeped in a dark history, looking to escape the miserable destiny set upon her by her scheming grandmother in the face of the decline of the O’Malley fortunes. This tale tells of Miren’s fight to claim control of her future and to fill in the mysteries of the past, uncovering dark secrets as well as adding her own skeletons to the family closet. From start to finish it is brimming with dark folklore and many a dark deal made between man and monster along the way, both in Miren’s timeline and the grim fairytales she reads from the family book of legends. 

I found Miren a compelling main character, easy to sympathise with but intriguing and full of surprises. Slatter has wonderfully created a world of matriarchs and their powerful daughters, with men as refreshingly meek supporting characters used as their playthings and seen mostly as a nuisance to be avoided. It would be fair to say that no character is presented as simply good or bad, however - all had a good deal of depth and development, earning my pity and scorn in equal measure. 

Listening to the lyrical tones of McMahon’s narration left me in a trance as I lapped up the poetic language used to beautifully describe a grisly tale. I also really enjoyed her distinctions in voice between characters when reading dialogue - she managed a fantastic range across all genders, ages and creatures! 

After the immense detail throughout the book, including some slow chapters I did have to push myself through, I was a bit disappointed with the ease of the ending, and thought it could have been much more spectacular. The magical elements were also not strong enough in many places to keep the excitement going - a scene of real magical force would have been appreciated after it was constantly whispered about throughout. 

All the Murmuring Bones provided me with some great escapism that I overall enjoyed, and I would recommend anyone who is a fan of gothic fairytales give it a listen.
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I've already reviewed the e-book version for this and gave it 5 stars, because it was an absolutely incredible story. I loved it so much that I also wanted to hear the audio version and I am happy to say, that it does this great book justice!

I love that the narrator has an irish accent, fitting to the irish setting of the book. She has a great story-teller voice and read in a very gripping way. It was very easy to focus on her narration. The way she read the characters was awesome. They were easy to distinguish and the performance wasn't over the top. It really added to this already great story. I liked it a lot and would definitely listen to other books read by her again!

Thank you so much to Netgalley and Titan Books for providing me with an audio ARC for this amazing story!
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3.5 stars
I'm not sure where to start with this book. The beginning had my interest as we follow Miren Elliot (the last of the previously wealthy O'Malley's) through her grandfather's death and find out her grandmother wants to marry her off to her cousin Aidan to strengthen the O'Malley bloodline who used to sacrifice a child from each generation to the Mer in return for prosperity. After leaving her house to look for something I don't want to give away, I really kind of lost interest, I felt like there was almost no plot. I did enjoy when the plot picked up again in the last 20% of the book.
I also enjoyed the writing style, it felt like it really fit what the book was about. The dark atmosphere carried through the book well.
As for characters, Miren was kind of lacking. I just didn't really find her interesting. None of the other characters really stood out to me at all either. 
While this was a book with a good atmosphere, there were some things that were lacking for me.
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Magical, beautiful and haunting!

All the Murmuring Bones follows Miren, the last, true O’Malleys. The O’Malleys used to prosper due to a deal made with the mur. However, after each generation, the family has declined due to the O’Malleys not keeping their side of the bargain. When Miren’s is confronted with one of these dealings, she decides to leave her village and goes on a wild journey.

Let me first start by saying that I love the fact that Angela Slatter uses folklore in this story. I am from a small island community, and I have grown up hearing similar tales. I appreciate Slatter uses folklore in such a unique and creative way.

The story overall is enjoyable to read. Slatter does a phenomenal job at setting the tone at the beginning of the novel by introducing the reader to the O’Malleys.  Slatter repeatedly adds new elements and twists to the story to keep the reader engaged. Furthermore, I loved learning about the O’Malleys and its dark and complex history. By integrating tales of the selkie, mur and more, my mind was filled with wonder and magic. 

The weakest aspect of this story is the character work. Miren and her grandmother Aoife are well realised and complex characters with an interesting story. Unfortunately, I did not feel like I needed to care much about any of the side characters. Furthermore, the second half of the book did baffle me a bit. The plot takes a turn, where the focus shifts to a “crime-related” incident, which almost made me feel like I was reading an Agatha Christie novel. Although some readers will appreciate this plotline, I thought that the sense of magic and wonders disappeared when the plot became more “crime” focused. Slatter ends this story on a positive note, which I appreciate.  

Overall, I did enjoy the story. This book filled me with a sense of wonder and I love that Slatter integrates folklore into the story. The protagonist, Miren, is a great character, and I felt immersed in her journey. Unfortunately, most of the side characters lacked depth, and I have mixed feelings about the ending. I would recommend this story to anyone that loves fantasy, folklore and enjoys magical and beautiful writing.

Rating: 3.5 / 5 stars

My thoughts on the audiobook: I read this book through audio, and I enjoyed the narration. I thought the narrator had a great voice and did an excellent job at differentiating between the different characters. I would be happy to listen to other audiobooks by this narrator.

Thanks to W. F. Howes and Netgalley for the audio arc in exchange for an honest review.
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This was one of the best reads of the last 12 months.
A beautifully dark and gothic read based around the old stories of Ireland, of magic, myth, and creatures of the sea. As soon as I picked it up I just couldn't put it down.
Following the story of 1 girl as she deals with loss, love, hope and despair.
So cleverly written this book grips you from the first page and pulls you in the the Ireland of the past. Seamlessly blending the fair tales of old with the the life of Miren, the 18 year old last of her line. Expected to follow the old ways to preserve her family no matter the cost, we follow Miren and her search for the truth and her place in the world. A true heroine, she pulls us along in her quest for what she believes is right. This book had so many twists, turns, and surprises it really did keep you guessing right up until the last page. This book is honestly on of the best you will read this year.
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