All the Murmuring Bones by A.G. Slatter is a gem! A mesmerising fairy-tale like fantasy novel, peppered with uncanny watery fables. It is the best book I have read in a very long time, I savoured it and I am still completely under the spell. I cannot recommend it enough!
We follow Miren, brought up in a decrepit mansion by the iron fist of her grandmother. She is the unique heir of a cursed family who owns their fortune to their bloody worship of the sea, and who might have something of the ghoulish mermaids themselves.
The threats to Miren are multiple and dire. But she is a very strong 16 year old. Yes, this might be a YA novel, but its depth, writing style, complex storyline has nothing to envy from its brethren in adult fiction. In fact, I think it goes beyond age judgement – it is a fantastic book, and despite her young age, Miren has the confident personality, reflections and the maturity of a grown woman. I really loved reading her story, thought process, and see her extricate herself from the most impossible situations.
The fairy tale elements are very much linked to the water world, from the sea to the fresh water encounters during Miren’s journey. Water almost becomes a character and we feel its dark, suffocating and mysterious presence throughout. It is so very well weaved into the story, and manages to create so much tension. In fact after the first chapter the tension never leaves. You are caught in a grip, trapped like Miren and you feel like you are trying to kick your way out of it yourself.
This was such a great read I just let myself be carried by the prose. For once I didn’t want to pry at the seams to understand how the whole plot fitted together. I loved getting carried by the ups and downs and the adventures in the novel. The twists and turns and roller coasters are numerous and you cannot escape the tension. This is not a fairy tale for those who enjoy bright romances basked in magic. There is a lot of magic here, but it is the kind that keeps you awake at night and scared.
I actually loved that romance wasn’t a big thing in this book. There is love, but in a different way than usually portrays. It is not a sweet thing and certainly not something to moon over constantly, just little dashes here and there that have nothing to do with the tension of the book. I found the portrayal very refreshing. And yet there was a lot of kindness and thoughtfulness in those pages and I really loved those moments too.
If you love mermaids, the type that eat people and turn to foam, fairy tale warnings with hungry monsters, bad deals and children abandoned in the dark, if you love historical fantasy and witchcraft then this is a book for you.
The novel is coming out the 9th of March 2021 and I am already impatient for the next book by Ms Slatter.