“Stories are history, whether they’re true or not.”
*** A copy of this book was kindly provided to me by Netgalley and Titan Books in exchange for an honest review. Thank you! ***
I had such high hopes for this story as I loved the sound of a gothic mermaid fairy tale, but I personally feel that this is mostly false advertisement if I’m honest. As a result, I ended up feeing extremely disappointed by All The Murmuring Bones; this story is mainly a really slow paced and character driven historical read where the fairy tale part only pops up sporadically until well into the story. Not what I had signed up for at all, and the story I did find sadly didn’t work for me either. I’ll try to further explain my feelings briefly below.
I already mentioned the lack of gothic fairy tale vibe and other ‘magical’ elements in general, but this was one of the things that I was really disappointed by if I’m honest. I expected to be mesmerized by mermaids and Irish folklore being woven into a magical story, but instead it’s mostly a slow historical read where the main character keeps moaning about how bad her family treated her. Most of the fairy tale elements are simply stories that have been in the O’Malley family for a long time, and the ‘real’ fairy tale elements don’t start to pop up until well into the story… And if I’m honest it’s a miracle that I even made it that far.
Oh yes, sadly I’ve been debating whether to just DNF instead for a long time, and in a way I still wish I did… Because while the second half of the story was slightly better and felt at least a bit more like the gothic mermaid fairy tale that I was promised, I don’t think it actually made up for the initial disappointments. I think I kept reading to learn more about the Irish folklore stories more than anything, but as a whole All The Murmuring Bones wasn’t what I expected, and not in a good way.
I wasn’t really a fan of the writing or characters either. Miren is such an annoying main character that I simply couldn’t connect to despite her supposedly being strong and resourceful. Her constant complaining and interactions with others just really got on my nerves… Which didn’t really help making me feel better about the story itself either of course. The rest of the cast was a bit of a mixed bag, but as a whole for a mostly character driven story I don’t think they were developed enough or at least sufficiently realistic.
As a whole, sadly I didn’t exactly have a positive experience with All The Murmuring Bones despite having such high expectations for it. I still like the premise, but the actual story didn’t deliver what promised and I came close to DNFing more than once. It was definitely a miss for me, but a lot of people do seem to react to it more positively so don’t give up on my account if you think it sounds like your cup of tea.