Mike Frazier is living the American dream. In the small town of Amorea, he runs a bookstore and has the love of a wonderful man. Mike has good friends, a cat, and everything a man could ask for. Except freedom. Despite his happiness, Mike can’t help wonder what lies beyond Amorea. But people in Amorea don’t think about things like that and when Mike tries, he finds that his grip on reality begins to crumble. Yet no matter how much doubt creeps into his mind, Mike knows that one thing is absolutely true: he loves Sean Mellgard and he will do anything to protect him.
As the dream fades and Mike learns the horrible truth of Amorea and the happy people who call it home, he is forced to make a terrible decision. Does he pursue the life he was meant to have and lose the precious time he has with Sean? Or does he fight for the dream, even when he knows it can’t last?
Whew. T.J. Klune has done it again. If you’re new to this author, please understand that you can pick up any T.J. Klune book and be guaranteed excellent writing, gut punching emotion, and characters that linger with you long after the book is done. Murmuration is no exception. I’m not going to go into the plot because to do so would mean giving away this novel’s surprises. So instead I will focus on Mike and Sean, who are really the heart and soul of Murmuration.
Mike enjoys his job as a bookseller, even when it means dealing with the local busybodies. He finds joy in the everyday happenings of small time life. Evening poker games, breakfasts at the local diner, and walking home with his fella are pretty much his idea of heaven. His romance with Sean is a slow burning one. They’ve been dancing around one another for nearly three years but what a dance! They’re comfortable and content and despite the sweetness of their relationship, there is also a very believable quality between them that really shines through. Sean is somewhat mysterious and, like the other residents of Amorea, we don’t discover the truth of him until the end of the book, but it doesn’t matter. He and Mike are so in tune with one another that you can’t imagine one without the other and their individuality is almost irrelevant.
Murmuration is extremely well written. Klune has a natural writing style that is both fluid and original. The style is so relaxed and relatable it seems like stream of consciousness, rather than typical prose. It has an almost hypnotic quality about it and as with all Klune’s books, once you pick it up, you won’t be able to put it down.
Murmuration was a beautiful and terrible story that cuts to the heart of what it means to be human. The characters are amazing and the storytelling is elegantly rendered and while the happy ever after is far from traditional, you won’t leave Murmuration disappointed. Consider this one a must read.
A review copy of this book was provided by Dreamspinner Press.