Fantasy Book Review: All The Murmuring Bones by A.G. Slatter


Fantasy Book Review

All The Murmuring Bones
Author: A.G. Slatter
Publication Date: March 9 2021
Publisher: Titan Books
Genres: Fantasy
ShelvesFemale-authored, Female-fronted

All The Murmuring Bones was an odd read, a story I went into with high expectations, only to struggle with the first quarter of the story, before finding my way into the heart of the story before the end. A.G. Slatter weaves three very different threads together, a family drama, Gothic mystery, and paranormal fantasy in a story that's heaviest on the first and lightest on the latter - which is where my struggle came in. 

The characters are rather cold, sometimes unlikeable, but their story . . . their history . . . their mystery . . . that's the reason to keep reading. Miren, the protagonist, is the last daughter of a family with magical ties to the sea, a young woman trapped between honoring ancient deals and breaking free of them. I think I would have enjoyed the story more had I liked her more, had I cared for her enough to become as invested in her struggle as the Gothic mystery, but she's serviceable enough to keep the story moving.

Despite my issues with Miren, the Gothic mystery made for a fantastic read, full of twists and turns, abrupt shifts in tone, and surprising slides deeper into darkness. It's oddly paced, with prolonged lulls between the more action-packed scenes, but it all pays off in the end. The atmosphere is perfectly fitting, and what we do see of the merpeople is intriguing - not to mention creepy and unsettling.

Well-written with a strong narrative and fantastic atmosphere, All The Murmuring Bones is a good read that, for me, would have been great had it delved deeper into the magical faery tale elements. That's a personal preference, though, and different readers with different tastes may find that slide to great easier.

Rating: ♀ ♀ ♀ 1/2

My sincere thanks to the publisher for sending me an ARC in exchange for an honest review.

About the Author

Angela Slatter
has won a World Fantasy Award, a British Fantasy Award, a Ditmar, an Australian Shadows Award and six Aurealis Awards for her short stories. She has an MA and a PhD in Creative Writing, is a graduate of Clarion South 2009 and the Tin House Summer Writers Workshop 2006. Angela’s short stories have appeared in many Best Of anthologies, and her work has been translated into many languages.