Story Rating: 4.75 stars
Audio Rating: 4.5 stars
Narrator: Kirt Graves
Length: 12 hours, 11 minutes
In 1954, Mike Fraser lives an idyllic life in the town of Amorea. It’s a small town surrounded by mountains where everyone knows everyone. There is no crime in Amorea and no one even has to lock their doors. Mike owns the local bookstore and down the street is the diner. At the diner is Sean.
At 23, Sean is younger than Mike, but that means nothing to Sean. The men have been courting each other with mostly a strong friendship for the past three years and the townsfolk are more than ready to push them along, and Sean knows that Mike is his guy.
Mike is finally ready to take the next step with Sean, but things are changing in Amorea and things are changing with Mike. He hears voices in his house and he has memories that he can’t quite place. He also has a sudden urge to breach the mountains surrounding Amorea, but that’s not what’s done and Sean has to be his first and only priority.
The synopsis above does not even begin to cover the story that is Murmuration and if you have any interest in reading or listening to it, that is the way it has to be. This book, simply put, is one that will stay with you long after you have finished it, although the story that surrounds it is anything but simple.
The story opens with a man lying on the ground, but that’s only the very beginning of the journey. At its heart, the story is about Mike and Sean and their version of a love story. From the moment their eyes connected, they both knew, but it has taken them almost three years to move their relationship along. The timing may seem overly long at first, but as the story progresses it’s shown how this was the perfect, as well as the only, timing that would have worked for the men and they are already fully committed to each other in their hearts and in their minds.
Life is good in Amorea. It’s simple and easy and the population is small. But Mike starts questioning what lies outside of their small town. When he hears voices and has flashes of memory, he seeks answers and the cracks start to show. The book is slow and methodical, but also slow and repetitive. I had recently listened to Wolfsong by Klune and Mike reminded me of the main character there. The purposeful, repetitive cadence of the prose was also similar and while the storylines are vastly different, the styles were reminiscent of each other.
This book, I believe, was supposed to be one filled with twists and turns, yet in the first chapter and within the first few minutes the larger plot was clearly evident to me. Then, further in, the author used a line several times that was also used in a movie with a similar plotline and the rest then fell into place. So, while this book was well written and multi-layered with the past and present overlaying each other, it was not filled with the twists I was expecting and I definitely would have preferred if it wasn’t all so obvious.
Yet, even with all of that, the book is still compelling as all of the finer details get filled in. Murmuration is a story of loss as well as a story of love. It’s the story of how choices can lead to unwanted and uncontrolled circumstances. It’s the story of what people will do to each in the name of rage and in the name of science. And, it’s the story of how far one man will go for the man he loves. For as the author’s note tells us “…it’s not about the length of time you have but what you do with it.”
Kirt Graves narrated this book and he also narrated Wolfsong. His style immediately was reminiscent of that performance and it did take me some time to shake off the similarity in tone, style, and cadence. However, once I got past that I enjoyed this book more for having listened to it. Graves is a good match for the story as he captures Mike and Sean, the atmosphere of their surroundings, and the distinct voices of the townspeople, and it was fantastic to listen to a story that layered upon itself. The writing is visual and Graves fully rendered that in his performance. He brought the world to life and just like Mike and the residents of Amorea, we are held at the mercy of the narrator. I would recommend this book certainly for a non-traditional romance and the audio version may just have added that something extra.
A review copy of this book was provided by Dreamspinner Press