Review: The Murmurings

The Murmurings
Carly Anne West
Series: None
Release Date: March 5th, 2013
Publisher: Simon Pulse
Number of Pages: 384
Rating: 3 stars

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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…
I feel like The Murmurings is really comprised of two vastly different novels combined into one: the first half being its own novel; a dark contemporary of sorts where a girl is grieving over the death of her sister, and a boy helps pick up the pieces, with some dark and somewhat creepy paranormal happenings taking place every now and then, and then there's the second half being its own little novel; a somewhat creepy, thrilling, and fun paranormal/psychological read with a great deal of secrecy, mental hospitals, experimentation, and deceit thrown in.

But it's where those two 'novels' meet, and how the vastly different aspects in each 'novel' transition together, and more importantly how long the entire novel itself truly takes to reach its promised creepy and paranormal aspects, where I feel The Murmurings met its greatest faults.

The entire first half of The Murmurings--or as I put it, the 'contemporary novel'--was an incredibly rocky, boring, and frustrating experience for me. For those of you who have been reading my reviews for a while now, you'll know that I don't mind a lot of exposition when reading, as long as I feel it is crucial and beneficent to the progression of the plot. In The Murmurings, however, I feel like the exposition was stretched out far longer than necessary, also meddled in with uninteresting aspects of the novel, such as the romance.

I'm not against romance in young adult novels; it seems like almost all young adult novels do have a romance in one way or another, and I honestly have no issue with that whatsoever. However, what I do take issue with is when the plot is practically thrown under the bus for romance and boy drama, which is exactly what happened in the first half of The Murmurings.

But then there's the second half of The Murmurings--or, as I also put it, the fun paranormal/psychological novel--which is an entirely different monster (no pun intended) than the first half, and the reason The Murmurings is receiving three stars from me. While it may have taken a bit too long to happen, the second half of The Murmurings is a thoroughly fun, and at times chilling read, which finally lived up to the promise of the cover and synopsis. Though I can't say I found it to be particularly creepy, it will certainly appeal to fans of psychological thrillers and paranormal lore.

Although the character development may be a bit lacking, and the first half just screamed for the book to be abandoned, I'm glad that I decided to stick with The Murmurings to experience the fun ride that is the second half. While it's definitely not as creepy of a read as I had hoped, The Murmurings was well-written, fun, and had a surprising sense of poignancy towards the end, and because of that I am able to say that I feel it is a worthwhile read for fans of psychological and paranormal thrillers, even if that's only for the second half.


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