Giveaway + ARC Review:
The Murmurings by Carly Anne West

Brooke Banks | 12:00 AM | | | | | | | | | |
I'm happily apart of the blog tour for The Murmurings by Carly Anne West hosted by Shane@ItchingForBooks and Carly Anne West! I actually had just finished reading my copy from Goodreads when I saw there was a tour happening, like a happy coincidence, and Shane was nice enough to let me join

The Murmurings

by Carly Anne West
Format: Paperback, 373 pages
Source: ARC copy from Goodreads First Reads Giveaway
Expected publication: March 5th 2013 by Simon Pulse
Genres: Young Adult, Paranormal, horror, thriller, mystery,
My Rating: 
3 of 5 stars false (3 Stars)
Recommend: Yes, for a darker YA read. I didn’t find it scary or horrifying though.
Links: Amazon Barnes & Noble
 
A teen girl starts hearing the same voices that drove her sister to commit suicide in this creepy, suspenseful novel.

 Everyone thinks Sophie’s sister, Nell, went crazy. After all, she heard strange voices that drove her to commit suicide. But Sophie doesn’t believe that Nell would take her own life, and she’s convinced that Nell’s doctor knows more than he’s letting on.

As Sophie starts to piece together Nell’s last days, every lead ends in a web of lies. And the deeper Sophie digs, the more danger she’s in—because now she’s hearing the same haunting whispers. Sophie’s starting to think she’s going crazy too. Or worse, that maybe she’s not….




PROS & CONS
For those who like it short and sweet, I first present The List:
+ Kept me guessing ‘til the end about who to trust, what was behind it all, and where it was generally going
+ Interesting premise
+ Darrrrrrrknessssssss
+ Generally liked the characters, especially Sophie at the beginning and Nell
+ Was smirking and smiling at some places
+ I really liked Nell’s poems and diary entries. While not an original way of telling her side, I wish I got more of Nell because I loved her voice. Nell would actually be my favorite character and I feel for her.


- One big stupid decision by the heroine that left me screaming, “Don’t do it, dumbass!”, which was required to move the story forward. I can’t actually imagine how the story would’ve worked without this mind numbing decision anyone with a brain, especially a horror fan lover like Sophie, would’ve known not to do. Then she acts all surprised it turns out badly like, what? Clearly though, it left a sour taste in my mouth.

- One big hole that bugged me while reading a whole lot. It still bugs me. Sophie complains about how hard it is to get rid of {spoiler} and has a few pathetic stabs at it. Someone else has been getting away with this task for a while yet they don’t tell Sophie how to do it. Sophie then gets rid of {spoiler} days on end with no problem. HOW did they get away with this? It was explained in detail how hard it was to get away with and I’m just suppose to accept Sophie figured it without being explained? I want to know how! I need to know otherwise it puts everything in question after the fact. Seriously, the rest of the story would’ve been impossible if Sophie doesn’t get rid of {spoiler} daily and without getting caught like previously.

- Not as terrifying or horrifying as I was hoping. More The Sixth Sense than The Shining. The Shining scared the shit out of me, The Sixth Sense? Nope. More eerie and thrilling to me than anything else. Didn’t get any of the visceral reactions you’d expect from horror stories. No jumping at noises or hearing noises or creepy, crawling feelings or freaked out about sleeping or anything.

- The ending is what killed my enjoyment the most and left me more frustrated than anything else. It’s all wrapped up neatly with a bow to give the YA happy ending. I don’t like it. It make me  go “AWWWW”, but then the “Wait...what?!?!” kicks in.


When I first saw The Murmurings I thought I’d found the dark, horrific young adult tale I’d been looking for. I was reading The Grimm’s Fairy Tales and Stephen King when I was young so I’ve been a fan of the darker fiction for a long time. I don’t think that means I’m maladjusted (or anything) and was always frustrated that I had to read about characters so much older than me usually to get my fix for the fiendish.

I had high expectations for The Murmurings. I wanted scary, mind and reality bending. I even read it on an appropriately dark and stormy night. No joke, and no easy feat considering I live in the desert and hardly get any rain. However, it started storming so I settled in for a good read. I finished reading it that night long before it was dawn and promptly fell asleep. This is not the experience I was expecting. It wasn’t bad, just not what I wanted.

I didn’t get the freak out one would expect from a horror book. I wasn’t itching or looking over my shoulder or hearing things or seeing things out the corner of my eye. I wasn’t gasping or holding my breath. That’s the thing that usually grabs people about horror - the terror, the visceral response, the exploration into the darker side of life. I didn’t get creepy, more like eerie atmospheric and thrilling but not scarey either. Scare factor differs so much from person to person though.

I do not get horror from The Murmurings so what did I get? Well, that varies from the different sections. The first half is a darker paranormal romance mystery with Sophie trying to cope and figure out her sister’s death. The second half is an eerie suspenseful dark psychological thriller. There’s the wrap up chapter which goes all mushy contemporary with the standard everything’s okay now young adult ending. Can you tell the ending is the most disappointing part of my reading experience?

So let’s talk about my reading experience. I was so enjoying delving into the mystery in the beginning. I found Sophie to be funny, liked the exchanges between her and Evan, the passages about Nell and, most importantly, it didn’t feel like it was playing down the dark factor to be in the young adult category. It was about setup and investigating but there is definitely some important things going on. It’s not a case of taking forever to get anywhere about the mystery. Then the Big Stupid Decision happens to start the middle of the book. After an initial flurry of action, it begins to go again into “investigating and waiting” mode. I didn’t mind this because I was enjoying how it was all unraveling. Another problem found while reading here, but I was actually loving the thrill of it all. I was intrigued and at the edge of my seat until after the climax. The Big Finale really was suspenseful but not really horrifying since it was nothing really new. Still good, still enjoyable, still not sugar coating or shying away from the grim and gritty. Then the wrap up chapter happens. It’s sweet. It’s closure. It’s the typical young adult ending that I did not want. I’m left wondering, “What?!?”. The more I think about it, the more problems I have with The Murmurings.  

Sure, there’s conveniences, coincidences, tropes and pet peeves that I noticed once dissecting the book for this review but let’s not go there because they didn’t affect my enjoyment while reading.  One of the things The Murmurings succeeded at actually was keeping me guessing until the end about not only what’s going to happen, but who to trust as well. This at least I can say is a solid positive point for me. It stays dark and gritting up until the last chapter. Sophie and Evan’s romance feels less instant and more like a romantic suspense where people are thrown into dangerous situations and cling together. Considering how adults in books work out the same way, I don’t really have a problem with the romance here. I liked the characters, generally, even with the Big Stupid Decision. I loved Nell’s passages and poems the most though. Funny, how she’s the one I feel for most and Sophie is just kinda cool and funny to me.

Considering the genre and how the book was throughout the rest of the book, I was expecting the ending to leave me with this unsettled OMG reaction. As if the book’s reality is going to become your own. This didn’t happen for me here. Not even close. It’s just the exact opposite of everything it came before it. It doesn’t flow naturally to me and feels disingenuous. Like it just had to end that way because it’s young adult instead of delving into the realer, deeper, darker implications of the story. I wanted more chilling after effects, than a sappy aftertaste. There wasn’t much of issues of what comes next since Sophie is all calm, and comfortable about it. It’s all been handled when I wasn’t compelled to buy into that. There’s several things about the book I couldn’t buy into actually.  

There’s two major things that bothered me while reading and did damper my enjoyment. Firstly, The Big Stupid Decision. This is desperately needed to move the story forward yet I hated it. It’s an obvious yelling out “Don’t do it, dumbass!” moment. My opinion of Sophie was lowered because of this incident. She had a reason to go {spoiler}, but she didn’t have to do it so...stupidly. She should have known better. After 100+ pages of learning how bad this {spoiler} is, she just waltzes in like it’s fucking fairy land. A little while later, there’s another incident. It’s not a stupid incident, it’s a *handwaving* away incident. See, Sophie needs to get rid of {spoiler} and we’re told in detail why and how hard this is to accomplish. Someone else has been doing this task for a long time but doesn’t tell Sophie how.  Sophie makes two pathetic attempts at getting rid of the {spoiler} and The Bad Guys catch on to her. After this we are told how hard it is for Sophie to not only get rid of the {spoiler} but to not get caught.... yet....we’re never told how she does this. Given what we know, I can’t find a plausible way to get accomplish the task. IF this thing never gets done, it calls into question not only everything that happened after the fact but also Someone Else’s story of doing it as well. These things bugged me soooooo much while reading. 

Rating:



3 Bats = Solidly enjoyable, with a few issues keeping it from being better.
What it boils down to is that the ending failed to balance the tale and satisfy me so the whole set up came tumbling down. While reading I was thinking this would be a higher rating, but that sadly, didn’t come to pass. 2 major problems, some little problems, but an enjoyable way to spend the night nonetheless.
 


 Win a Copy of The Murmurings! US Only.

4 comments:

  1. Thanks for your honest and interesting review! I really enjoy how you do a shorter review first then a more detailed one. What a great idea! I already have this book on my TBR pile but I love seeing what people think before I read it. I want to know what this big dumb decision is, I hate when that happens in a book. I'm going to have to read it just so I can see what I feel about it.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you Kay!

      Yeah, there is the attempt to explain and justify The Big Dumb Decision but I really did not understand Sophie's decision. After you read it, I'd love to hear what you think.

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