Murmur by Ryal Woods ~ Review by Optimist ♰King’s Wench♰

My review, I fear, will not do this book justice.

murmurTitle:  Murmur (Secret Senses #1)

Author:  Ryal Woods

Publisher:  MLR Press

Rating:  4 out of 5 Stars

From the Publisher

“I am Roman. I am Gallic. I am Hibernian. I am too mixed in everything to be of concern to anything,” Aonghas tells his friend. He’s also the human counterpart of the demon gods who rule the five senses, blessed and burdened by this gift that has enhanced his senses beyond average human experience. But his gifts have kept him isolated and wary of forming relationships beyond casual acquaintances, until he meets Maon. This young man he encounters only under shadow of darkness has his own secrets, and Aonghas is captivated by his mysterious lover. Will their bond endure if their secrets are revealed?

My View

This book… This book got under my skin! I could not figure out what was happening, could not put it down and refused to let it beat me. Yes. I’m kind of competitive.  I formed and discarded so many theories, I could’ve held my own with a Vegas blackjack dealer. This book frustrated me, held me captive and made me Google things. If I resort to Googling an author has done something right.

Aonghas perplexed me. At first, I thought he was put off by him. I couldn’t figure out why he was so punchy and seemingly hypersensitive. His character developed organically and the truth is revealed. He’s been shunned most of his life for his gifts which has made him a loner. He expects people to judge, disappoint and in all likelihood leave him, so he has cause to be angry; it’s the old ‘the best defense is a good offense’ strategy. Then he meets Maon out on the moors one night in his secret Stonehengey hideaway.

Maon… I’m shaking my head. I’m still befuddled as to why anyone would agree to this sort of clandestine relationship. I do appreciate the point *I think* Ms. Woods is trying to make about modern society placing too much emphasis on beauty and the visual aesthetic, but this goes on forever! No way could I go this long without ever seeing my paramour, unless you’re blind which neither are. What’s more, I never felt their connection; couldn’t understand why Aonghas would choose Maon over Sòlas.

Sòlas is palpable, present and devoted. I felt the connection between him and Aonghas and felt his pain when Aonghas repeatedly chose to secret away with Maon. Most important of all Sòlas isn’t keeping secrets! He is who he is and makes no apologies for his standing or lack thereof in the community as a metallurgist nor does he hold himself back from Aonghas. He’s demonstrative and kindhearted not only to Aonghas but to Doughal, Aonghas’ servant, as well. I applauded him when he initiated their separation until Aonghas made his decision.

As much as I was frustrated and enthralled by this bizarre love triangle, I was confused and captivated by the supernatural aspects of Murmur. What’s with Aonghas’ connection to the sabball? What the hell is Magus? Is Maon a ghost? Suffice to say, it kept me turning the pages to get the answers to these questions. I wasn’t disappointed by the answers either though the Maon storyline was bittersweet and poignant.

The writing is beautiful. It reads very classic novel and a little poetic. It’s ethereal, mystical and existential at times. Ms. Woods shows her prowess both in her linguistic skills as well as tension building. If you’re looking for loads of erotic moments, look elsewhere. Murmur is more sensual than erotic. In all honesty, this isn’t something I would ordinarily read, but I’m glad I did, so if you’re looking for something different give Murmur a whirl. I’ll not forget it anytime soon.

Where to Buy

MLR Press




I would like to thank MLR Press for providing me with a copy of this book in exchange for my honest opinion.

Farewell Giveaway
I have a number of paperbacks, most of which are signed, to giveaway. Over the between now (11 Mar 2017) and 31 Mar 2017, every comment on the blog (this post and all other new posts), will be entered to win 1 of these paperbacks. There are also some misc swag items, so there will be a few packs of these to give away as well.

Thank you so much for your support over the last 4 years. Prism will be closing its doors on 1 April 2017. All content will remain available, but no new content will appear after 31 Mar 2017. As such all request forms have been turned off. Again Thank you,

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