Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “All the Murmuring Bones” as Want to Read:
All the Murmuring Bones
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

All the Murmuring Bones

4.04  ·  Rating details ·  413 ratings  ·  222 reviews
Long ago Miren O'Malley's family prospered due to a deal struck with the Mer: safety for their ships in return for a child of each generation. But for many years the family have been unable to keep their side of the bargain and have fallen into decline. Miren's grandmother is determined to restore their glory, even at the price of Miren's freedom.

A spellbinding tale of dar
Kindle Edition, 368 pages
Published April 8th 2021 by Titan Books (first published March 9th 2021)
More Details... Edit Details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about All the Murmuring Bones, please sign up.
Popular Answered Questions
Holly Hand Grenade I don't think it's a retelling as there are many different myths the story pulls from. Rather, I think it's an exploration of how these myths might wo…moreI don't think it's a retelling as there are many different myths the story pulls from. Rather, I think it's an exploration of how these myths might work after being passed on to the newest generations.

I thought it was enchanting.(less)

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
Average rating 4.04  · 
Rating details
 ·  413 ratings  ·  222 reviews

More filters
Sort order
Start your review of All the Murmuring Bones
Renaissance Kate
Blog | Twitter

While I agree with other reviewers that this book was not what I expected, I still thoroughly enjoyed it.
1st person POV is usually hit or miss for me, and in this case A.G. Slatter nailed it. I absolutely loved Miren’s character and the opportunity to experience the story through her eyes. I would categorize her as a morally gray character, but one whose choices I understood and whom I saw as a kind-hearted young woman striving to do what was right.

I would describe this book as bo
✩ Yaz ✩
3 - ⭐️⭐️⭐️

Thank you NetGalley and Titan Books for providing me with an e-Arc in exchange for an honest review.

There’s an old woman, though, with plans and plots of long gestation; and there’s the sea, which will have her due, come hell or high water; and there are secrets and lies which never stay buried forever.

All the Murmuring Bones is considered to be a dark gothic fairytale following the O'Malleys, the once-powerful family.

The O'Malleys' prosperity is the fruition of the bargain with the Me
Di Maitland

'Mark my words, Miren, the O'Malleys are on the rise.'

I REALLY liked this one. I didn't speed through it like I do some books but I loved the writing, the setting and even Miren.

'One for the house, one for the Church and one for the sea.'

When Miren's grandfather dies, her grandmother Aoife, the last true O'Malley, decides to marry her to her distant cousin to help refill the family coffers. Knowing that her reservations against the match will go unhindered, Miren plots her own
Athena (OneReadingNurse)
Mar 04, 2021 rated it really liked it
Thank you so much to Titan Books via NetGalley for the early digital copy of All the Murmuring Bones! This is a hugely atmospheric, dark fairy tale from A.G Slatter that I think most fans of lore and legends will love

Oh man, so far I think Slatter deserves every single of those literary awards, and I am extremely interested in her short fiction tales.
All the Murmuring Bones is all of the things in the description and more. Miren is the last of the O'Malleys and is absolutely not going to be cont
Feb 06, 2021 added it
Shelves: fantasy, rating-r
I was intrigued to read this book because I love a good gothic novel. Sadly, I didn't find what I was looking for here.

Lovers of ornate prose will likely really enjoy the writing style of this book which is very detailed and vivid, but I tend to prefer writing that's a bit more sparse and to-the-point. I'm also a very plot-oriented author, and this book's plot moved extremely slowly, picking up only in the final quarter. In terms of genre, the book did something a bit strange with the traditiona
♠ TABI⁷ ♠
Feb 26, 2021 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2021
Find this review at Forever Lost in Literature!

All the Murmuring Bones is a darkly atmospheric tale full of folklore and a captivating story about one woman as she charts her own new path from a rather grim life. This wasn't quite what I expected it to be, and if you're looking for a story with a lot of Mer presence, then this probably isn't what you're expecting either, but I still really loved this story for what it was and the inclusion of folklore and (supernatural) elements that made it del
Karen Brooks
Apr 18, 2021 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Haunting tale of dark beauty

The O'Malley's have ruled both Hob's Hallow the seas as far back as memories go. Powerful, fortunate and feared, as their hold on land and the deep declines, it's left to the last daughter of the blood to ensure their 'reign' continues. But Merin is not your usual kind of O'Malley. Headstrong, smart and determined to carve her own path, when her grandmother strikes a bargain to guarantee the family's future, Merin, her mother's daughter in every way, determines to mak
Feb 19, 2021 rated it really liked it
Shelves: on-kindle, arc
I grabbed this book because I like dark, gothic tales.... and with mermaids thrown in? Deal.

I have to say that I thoroughly enjoyed this book.

I enjoyed that there was no overdone, over-troped romance. The book focused on the main character and her quest to live her life without the interference of men. The men in this book, mind you (except for a fair few) are disgusting and controlling.

I love the mermaid tales that were sprinkled throughout the book that have to do with the backstory of the f
Beas Chattaraj
Dec 04, 2020 rated it really liked it
Deep, dark and beautiful. This is the description I am going to go with. Part Katherine Arden, part Naomi Novik and part Catherynne M Valente, it hit all the right spots for me. This is a grim (excuse my pun) fairy tale of a family with a bloody history and strange customs and pride and downfall, of the OMalleys. Miren is the last daughter, the last true O'Malley, and she is being forcefully wedded to Aidan Fitzpatrick, her cousin. When she discovers that her parents aren't dead as told to her b ...more
Mar 01, 2021 rated it it was amazing
**Review originally published HERE at Sci-Fi & Scary.**

I have had a streak of amazing reads so far in 2021. So when I say that All the Murmuring Bones is absolutely, without a doubt, my favourite read of the year so far, know that this means this is truly a special read.

All the Murmuring Bones follows Miren, last of the true O’Malleys. The O’Malleys are an old, mysterious family, unafraid of making dark deals to ensure their line’s prosperity. When one of these dealings sees Miren’s freedom at s
Emma Cathryne
Mar 04, 2021 rated it it was ok
Shelves: fantasy, arc, adult, horror
Thank you to NetGalley and the publisher for an ARC in exchange for an honest review.

This book felt like it was trying to be a lot of things: a dark fairytale, a gothic horror, a feminist commentary; but didn't really quite succeed at being any of them. It won the most points for me with regards to the fairy tale aspects: A.G. Slatter is certainly a stunning prose writer, and a lot of the language here was lovely. My favorite parts were the ones that leaned the heaviest into the folkloric theme
Pixie's Book Den
All the Murmuring Bones is a haunting book that slowly creeps up to you and pulls you under it's calm surface, where dark fairytales and chilling horrors await.

Set in a fantasy 19th century irish setting, where magic exists, but is an old, almost forgotten thing, while gruesome mythical creatures and spirits remain. The story begins in a small village by the sea, home of a girl, who is the last heir of a once influental and powerful lineage, that is said to be connected to the powers of the ocea
This is such a delicious gothic fairy tale. Does it make sense to use delicious here? It's definitely consuming.

The O'Malley's have always lived in Hobs Hallow at the edge of the sea, reaping the sea's rewards from, it is rumored, unnatural means. Their wealth was legendary once upon a time, but now Mirin is the last O'Malley. When her grandparents die, she finds clues that indicate her mother is still alive. With an unwanted suitor at her heels, she flees Hobs Hallow to try and find her parents
Kal ★ Reader Voracious
You may or may not know this about me, dear reader, but I am addicted to mermaids and I love Gothic fiction. So naturally when Titan contacted me about this book I jumped on it so fast. All the Murmuring Bones truly is a "spellbinding tale of dark family secrets, magic and witches, and creatures of myth and the sea; of strong women and the men who seek to control them." I adored this intensely feminist tale and watching fairy tales come to life in a way.
"Other families have stories of c
Yvonne (It's All About Books)

Finished reading: February 27th 2021

"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! ***

(view spoiler)
Georgia Husselbee
Feb 26, 2021 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
3.5 stars

*Thank you to NetGalley and Titan Books who provided me with an ARC, in exchange for an honest review.*

I have to say I was a little bit disappointed with this book. After seeing the cover and reading the synopsis, I was so excited when I got accepted to read this as I thought the storyline would go in a different direction than it did.

The very first chapter felt like a bit of a backstory to the O’Malley’s and I almost feel like it would’ve been labelled better as a prologue. The overall
“There was salt in her veins just as there is in mine. The sea mourns when we die, we female O’Malleys, for whatever reason. Perhaps because we produce the children, the tithe we feed to the waters. Perhaps that’s why we are a loss. And all the waters in the world are joined.”

Rating: Really Enjoyed, translates to 4 stars

This book was such a fantastic read. I read through it really slowly because I have had an insane week at work, but if I had had the chance to just sit and devour it, I’m sure I
Jackie ϟ Bookseller
I received an ARC of this title from the publisher via Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review.

3/5 stars: ★★★☆☆

"You claim what you can endure from your once-life and burn the rest."

All the Murmuring Bones begins as a tale of a family whose powers began with a bargain that ties them to the sea and its mer people. The bargain itself is left mostly a mystery to the reader and main character, Miren, but involves sacrificing a child of each generation to the sea in order to ensure the family's con
El Hyrst
Full review available on my blog March 4th 2021:

Thanks to W.F. Howes for the Audiobook Review Copy of this book. It has not affected my honest review.

Content Warnings: murder (adult and child), forced marriage, incest, abuse, child sacrifice.

So I once again did that thing I do where I instantly request something without reading the summary, solely because Andee recommended it to me. And once again, it worked out so, so well. I absolutely adored this book
Mar 03, 2021 rated it really liked it
Shelves: arcs-netgalley
All the Murmuring Bones is a modern gothic-style fairytale with a dark and sinister atmosphere. There is a marvellous blend of fairytale, folklore and magic and you get the sense you are reading an old fairytale, immediately drawn into the wonderful atmosphere created by the author. The whimsical short stories sprinkled at various intervals throughout the story are genius and added to the folkloric feel. The author’s writing style is detailed and evocative, the world is beautifully described and ...more
Donna Bull
Jan 31, 2021 rated it really liked it
A haunting, dark, gothic fairy-tale journey.

Angela Slatter weaves a tale of the sea, mythic creatures, magic, silver, loss, abandonment, and family secrets into a story that keeps you turning the pages. It is also the story of one woman's fight to live her life on her terms and not that of others. You are pulled into Miren's life and that of the O'Malley's, a once proud and wealthy family who have fallen on hard times. Then you begin to find out that the O'Malley's aren't quite like any other fa
J.A. Ironside
Audio ARC provided by NetGalley in exchange for an honest review

Audio review first. I already love Aoife McMahon's narration style and she was the perfect choice for this book.

This book was everything I wanted in an Irish inspired original fairytale - ambiguous morality, fantastical creatures, a sensible, cunning and clever heroine and an ancient bargain made with the sea. I really don't want to spoil anything by going into too much detail, but Miram is a great character. I love the fact that in
Once upon a time, there was a girl in an old house, surrounded by old legends, and songs, and promises. Her name was Miren O’Malley, the last of them all. The O’Malleys had been a prosperous family. Too prosperous, if one believes what was told about them. But time had not been kind, and the last of the O’Malleys could be the one to pay the price.
Once upon a time, there was a girl in an old house, surrounded by blood, death and whispers. And all she wanted was her freedom…

I can’t really say what
Feb 21, 2021 rated it really liked it
Shelves: arc
Thank you to NetGalley and Titan Books for an advanced copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

All the Murmuring Bones follows Miren O’Malley who comes from an ancient and powerful family who struck a dangerous deal with the mer, prosperity in exchange for a child from each generation. However, after many years of not fulfilling the bargain, the O’Malleys are left only with tales of their now faded glory and Miren’s grandmother will trade anything to see it returned.

I really enjoyed
Feb 09, 2021 rated it it was ok
That’s a lie, I actually DNF this book at 75%. But I think that I’ve read enough to form an opinion.

This book just wasn’t what I expected. Based on the cover and sinopsis one would think “oh, mermaids!”, well no. Besides some appearances and short stories there are NO mermaids.

The only think I liked about the book was the kind of dark fairytale atmosphere that it has. But the story is just so dragged out that I couldn’t continue.

First, in my opinion the author fails to create a connection betwee
Feb 07, 2021 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: arc, netgalley, 2021, fantasy
A Gothic tale involving sea creatures? All the Murmuring Bones by AG Slatter was an absolute must-read for me.

A once powerful and prosperous family, still proud, has fallen on difficult times. Miren's grandmother is determined to restore the O'Malleys to what they once were. To do that, she's willing to wed Miren to a distant but wealthy cousin. But Miren has other ideas.

The writing is gorgeously Baroque - ornate and polished paired with a Gothic folktale of a story. A shadow drenched, decaying
all the murmuring bones serves as a lushly somber salute to the sea and the fearful legends that lurk beneath its surface, a gossamery gothic fantasy about a girl spun of saltwater who knows only the loneliness of her longing to be free and her struggles against the strangling grip of a family game to sell her to save their own skin. Miren is made bold and bitter by her blanching mistreatment by the O'Malley matriarch, balking at the marriage she is manipulated into and bent on branching off aft ...more
Nicki Markus
Mar 05, 2021 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
All the Murmuring Bones was a compelling and original tale. The unravelling of the family mystery over the course of the story was nicely handled, and the action moved along at a good pace. Miren made for an engaging heroine, and I liked that the romance element came in late and didn't overshadow the rest of the story, as sometimes happens. The Gothic atmosphere was well presented, and all up this was a delightful read that held my interest throughout. I would definitely pick up other books by A ...more
Holly Hand Grenade
"Other families might have stories of curses, cold lads and white ladies, but we have old gods, merfolk and monsters. I never doubted, when I was little, that these stories were true."

We begin this story with the end of a long family lineage. Miren is the last generation of her kind and she doesn't even know what her kind IS. The story unfolds in a fascinating, fairy-tale like world that gradually reveals its secrets and each one is bigger than the last.

This was new. Fresh. It made me feel like
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »

Readers also enjoyed

  • The Shadow in the Glass
  • The Stolen Kingdom
  • The Descent of the Drowned (The Descent of the Drowned, #1)
  • Sorrowland
  • The Unbroken (Magic of the Lost, #1)
  • Leave the World Behind
  • How the King of Elfhame Learned to Hate Stories (The Folk of the Air, #3.5)
  • A Kingdom of Flesh and Fire (Blood and Ash, #2)
  • An Ember in the Ashes (An Ember in the Ashes, #1)
  • The Bone Maker
  • Witherward (Witherward, #1)
  • Cemetery Boys
  • Stamped from the Beginning: The Definitive History of Racist Ideas in America
  • Raybearer (Raybearer, #1)
  • A Song Below Water (A Song Below Water, #1)
  • Spellbook of the Lost and Found
  • The Ladies of the Secret Circus
See similar books…
AKA Angela Slatter

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 translate

Related Articles

Need another excuse to treat yourself to a new book this week? We've got you covered with the buzziest new releases of the day. To create our...
27 likes · 16 comments