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Murkmere (Murkmere Hall #1)

3.48 of 5 stars 3.48  ·  rating details  ·  399 ratings  ·  66 reviews
Aggie+s life in the village is as normal and dull as any girl+s; she has never questioned the rule of the Ministration or the power of the divine beings-the birds. Then, the crippled master of the nearby manor, Murkmere, sends for Aggie to become a lady+s companion to his ward, Leah. Aggie accepts and even starts to befriend the wild and strange girl who seems to want noth ...more
Hardcover, 344 pages
Published February 2006 by Little, Brown Young Readers (first published May 13th 2004)
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(showing 1-30 of 751)
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Jaemi
Aggie Cotter grew up in a world where birds meant everything. There's an entire Table of Significance about them in fact. And she has it memorized. You see, in Aggie's world, the Almighty is the Eagle. There are Birds of Light and Birds of Night, and one must carry protection against the latter, so as not to risk harm to one's soul.

There is a story of a people called the avia--people who were not content with their lot, who longed to sore with the birds, to leave the earth behind for the sky. It
...more
Carmen
Great setting, Wrong Point of View

Clouds hang low in the sky where I live. They seem to touch the flat brown fields around our village, and to shadow the broad backs of the horses pulling the plow.

From the opening sentence I was trapped in the dark, oppressing world Patricia Elliot so convincingly creates in Murkmere.

This is a world where the search for knowledge is severely punished and birds are worshiped as gods; their wishes, mysteriously translated by an inbreeding elite called the Ministra
...more
Melody-Rue Ransom
This book was just what I needed right now. The dark setting of the decaying Murkmere estate, and the development of strong bonds between two young women kept me turning the pages.

The religious values created for this novel were quite interesting. The villagers worship the birds, and there is a dark, and a light side to their deities. The eagle (for instance) is considered "the almighty", the creator... and each bird below the eagle has it's own "meaning" and is either a member of the birds of
...more
Whitney
This book reminded me of the secret garden. There is a secret and a family that is kinda outcast or misunderstood. There is a girl that comes in and befriends the wild child, who has a fascination with birds. The mother is gone, the father crippled, and a society with very strict rules. The leaders (both spiritual and temporal) of this society are called the "Ministration." Their organization and complete power/control reminds me of the Magistirium of the Golden Compass series. I think this stor ...more
Leah Lucci
The protagonist of this book follows a religion that involves worshipping birds, wearing protective amulets, and not going outside at night. It's government-sanctioned and spooky. At first, I thought that the book was set in a parallel fantasy dimension, but there are moments here and there that, quite possibly, (spoiler alert) indicate that this is a science fiction dystopia a la Handmaid's Tale.

The book's excellent up until the last 30 pages or so, when it sort of crumbles and leaves a very v
...more
Kelsie Beaudoin (The Bookworm)
I picked this book up on a whim, when I was thinking I needed a plethora of books for the vacation I was taking. As it turned out I ended up reading this book before I left. I read it in just a few hours.

The cover is gorgeous. Smooth and compelling, beautiful and haunting. I judge books by their covers. Get over it.

The story was interesting, very gothic with the decaying manor and sense of oppression. The character development was awesome, and the developing relationship between the to girls in
...more
Jennifer
In Aggie Cotter’s world, birds are at the heart of everything. She has spent much of her life learning about and memorizing the Birds of Light and the Birds of Night, as well as their meanings. History tells the story of a group of people known as the Avia that wanted to fly with the birds. It is said that the Avia were punished by the Almighty, forced to live life as half-human and half-bird. Aggie lives by the Table of Significance, keeping her amber close for protection; then she meets Leah a ...more
Evelyn
A disappointment. The cover is rather wonderful; the book contained within, less so. Let me state that while I have nothing against charming pretty redheaded bookworms in real life, as main characters they are cliche. Let me also state that by page twenty I knew how the story was going to go: (view spoiler) ...more
Jen
*spoiler alert*

This book is an interesting read. I felt like it was dark, so I would read it before you shared it with your children. When I started to read it I thought it might be along the lines of "The Golden Compass" where religion is slavery, and the "ministration" is a group of religious hypocritical zealots. However, in the end I decided that happily enough, that wasn't the message.
In the book a people called the "avia" were long ago punished by God for wanting to fly like the birds.
...more
Kate
Murkmere is really two stories at once. It is the story of Aggie's coming of age, of her realization that the world is much more complex than it seemed, and it is the puzzle of Leah, and who she is. Leah may or may not be related to the swans of Murkmere, a dark and dreary manor, but she has some kind of relationship with them. Aggie, who has grown up with a simple view of the world, is unsure what to make of Leah or Murkmere, and finds her understanding of the world radically changed by her int ...more
Beth
I would probably give this three and a half stars. There was a lot to like about the novel. It had a dark, creepy feeling to it, and Elliot definitely knows how to build suspense and tension within the story. I also like when a character grows and changes over the course of the story, and Aggie certainly does. I also thought the writing in general was beautiful. The opening paragraph was quite lovely and indicative of what was to come.

I have never been the biggest fan of stories that are narrate
...more
Celena
Recently I've wanted to reread a few books I read when I was a lot younger that I can't really remember anymore. This was one of them.

For the life of me, I don't know how I forgot it.

Murkmere is about 15 year old Aggie who lives with her Aunt in a small village. She's summoned by the Master of a nearby manor, Murkmere, to come and be companion to his ward, Leah. Murkmere is a a really dark place, pretty eerie and no one is friendly to Aggie (especially not Leah who doesn't want her there.) But t
...more
Sian Rips
Taking place at the mysterious mansion at the edge of the city, Aggie is sent to care for an even more mysterious girl. Having grown up in the village, under loose surveillance of the Ministry, Aggie lived in suspicion, along with the rest of the citizens, of what lay beyond the iron gates. As if pushing her curiosity, Aggie was thus thrown into a wild world of continuous rebellion, mysteries, and teachings as she continued her new life in Murkmere, a place with secrets of it's own. The stranges ...more
Juushika
In a land where the Eagle is God and bird omens determine the course of human life, young Aggie Cotter leaves her village for the nearby estate, Murkmere, where she will be companion to Leah, the willful ward of the estate's Master. As she struggles to gain acceptance, Aggie begins to suspect that nothing is what she thought or as it seemed: not Leah, who disregards the superstitions of faith and has an unnatural bond with the mere's swans—nor Aggie's family, or the religion and government that ...more
Ealaindraoi
Jane Eyre meets The Golden Compass....

Aggie is offered a job at Murkmere manor to be a lady’s companion to the Lord’s ward, Leah. She accepts the job because she can then send money back to her Aunt Jennet. Her mother worked at Murkmere before her death and she thinks that if she knows more about Murkmere, she’d know more about her mother. But Leah is so strange, wild and moody and she has a strange bond with the swans on the estate. The Master is trapped in a caged wheelchair and has blasphemou
...more
Melanie
This story opens with strictly devout Agnes Cotter being sent to Murkmere Manor to become companion to the Master's ward, Leah. Agnes, being raised to be fearful of the Manor, is just glad to get away from the the village she was raised in.

But something's not quite right at the Manor. Leah is resistant to Agnes' presence and is openly hostile. And Agnes isn't making many friends in the house. She is deeply troubled by the lack of religious devotion shown by Leah and the Master.

Eventually, Leah c
...more
Asenath
The writing drove me crazy. I couldn’t read it. The story was interesting enough, so I skimmed the entire book, really reading only the dialogue. I can’t even put my finger on what exactly it was that was wrong. I think the author used to many ‘to be’ verbs, and they didn’t show the action--just referred back to it. I also thought the characters main goals were weak, and there wasn’t much character growth from the narrator. It was an interesting story, that could have had some real depth, had it ...more
Lea.
I first read this book probably about ten years ago. I remember loving it and it being one of my favorites. I remember it being haunting and fantastical. When I was having difficulty find the perfect book to read, I decided to re-read this book. I’m so glad I did, because I couldn’t remember the plot twists or anything like that. It was as if I was reading it for the first time and I loved it just as much. This is an YA, gothic fantasy and it is just lovely. The author really created a story wit ...more
Patricia
A dark, haunting tale of friendship and betrayal, history and myth. Beautiful.
Selah Bell
This is a world where birds are worshipped as Gods, and anyone who talks about them is in danger of being 'blasphemous'. Aggie is a simple village girl, but when she is summoned to be companion to the Master's ward, her life changes. Leah does not want anything to do with her, and the servants of the manor do not like her. Leah is a strange girl. She is obsessed with the swans of the mere, and takes any chance to slip away from her maid and companion to be with them. Can Aggie discover why, befo ...more
Suz
Unusual voice, slightly haunting. Very goo.
Lu
This book has some dark elements to it--sort of a darker version of The Goose Girl. The bad guys come across as truly sinister so if you don't like reading about that kind of bad guy, don't bother with this book. I think I might like the second book better because the characters are set up so ideally for an interesting plot next time.

Actually, it reminded me in a way of Wurthering Heights and Jane Eyere--damp manner house, mysterious men who are slightly cruel or haunted or whatever you want to
...more
Elizabeth C.
This dark historical fantasy sets the story of the swan maiden in an England-like setting twisted by political intrigue and religious oppression. Aggie takes a job as companion to the ward of the Master of Murkmere, the odd, mysterious Leah, and quickly realizes something is very wrong at the spooky old estate.

Why? For those can’t get enough creepy historical fantasy (or those who thought CURSE wasn’t dark enough).
Carrie
Jan 19, 2012 Carrie rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Teens and adults who enjoy fantasy
Recommended to Carrie by: Gina
A dark, gothic fantasy with a beautifully melancholy setting. Mystery intertwines with the romance element as the people at Murkmere Estate are not always what they seem. I was fascinated by the fictional religion dominant at Murkmere and surrounding villages, based on each species of bird having a different prophetic significance. A satisfying read if you're looking for a stormy-night kind of fantasy.
Dani4848
this book is somewhat predictable, especailly the ending. The imanginary world's culture in the book is similar to that of medieval times. The superstion is very like what i would suspect of a medieval world.
If you ever read the Golden Compass, the Subtle Knife or any of those books, youll find that the religous worlds power and structure are simliar though the beliefs are different.
Sarah
I don't feel compelled to finish books I'm not enjoying, but this was the only book I had with me on my carry-on baggage from Mexico. What a horrible let down!! It could have been really fabulous, like a bird-version of the Selkie myth, but no. Just boring. Once I finished it I had to read the SkyMiles magazine, and I think the crossword in it was more interesting than Elliot's novel.
Trisha
I think NORMALLY i would have liked this book more. I seemed like a book I would normally love. I also have no complaints against it and the story will probably stick in my mind well for a while it just didn't click with me this time. Probably because I'm prego and wasn't in the mood. Good book though. I'll probably read it again later just to see if my theory is correct.
Alexandria
I finally read "Murkmere" (the first in the series), a few months after I read "Ambergate" (the second one). Because the second one is a "companion" book, I didn't even realize really that I was missing something. This one was about the same as "Ambergate", but I feel "Ambergate" was better. Super easy read and still entertaining.
Charlotte
Wow.
This was a damn good book.
I connected with Aggie, I loved Leah and every single character in this book was interesting, well-written and never dull.
Wow.
The writing.
Wow.
I have not gotten such vivid visual images since, like, I don't know.


I still don't know what it was about, but damn! Wow.
Arely
Murkmere is a wonderful story, full of suspense, magic, and friendship. An excellent read for a younger audience (I pre-read it for a younger sibling). Even though it was crafted for kids, I found myself drawn into the story. Elliott's style of writing is charming and poetic, making her book a delightful read.
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Patricia Elliott was born in London and grew up in Europe and the Far East. She has worked in publishing in London and in a children's bookshop in New York. She now teaches a course in children's literature at an adult education college. She lives in London with her husband, two sons, and a yellow labrodor named Finagal.
More about Patricia Elliott...
The Pale Assassin (Pimpernelles, #1) The Traitor's Smile (Pimpernelles, #2) Ambergate (Murkmere Hall, #2) The Devil in the Corner The White Umbrella

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