Author: TJ Klune
Narrator: Kirt Graves
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Run Time: 12 hours and 11 minutes
Category: Historical, Sci-Fi
At a Glance: Murmuration is so hopeful, so satisfying, so beautiful in its simplicity that you will wish you could start it all over again just to live a bit longer with the magic that is Mike and Sean together.
Reviewed By: Sammy
Blurb: In the small mountain town of Amorea, it’s stretching toward autumn of 1954. The memories of a world at war are fading in the face of a prosperous future. Doors are left unlocked at night, and neighbors are always there to give each other a helping hand.
The people here know certain things as fact:
Amorea is the best little town there is.
The only good Commie is a dead Commie.
The Women’s Club of Amorea runs the town with an immaculately gloved fist.
And bookstore owner Mike Frazier loves that boy down at the diner, Sean Mellgard. Why they haven’t gotten their acts together is anybody’s guess. It may be the world’s longest courtship, but no one can deny the way they look at each other.
Slow and steady wins the race, or so they say.
But something’s wrong with Mike. He hears voices in his house late at night. There are shadows crawling along the walls, and great clouds of birds overhead that only he can see.
Something’s happening in Amorea. And Mike will do whatever he can to keep the man he loves.
Review: The Audio: Kirt Graves has the monumental task of bringing this lengthy, intense novel to audio, and he does an outstanding job. Before I go any further, I have to gush a bit over his choice of voicing for Mike and Sean; you could hear every nuance that divided these two men—the easy, younger voicing of Sean, such an assured tone that absolutely screams how much he loves Mike Frazier! Sean was just spot on: confident, fresh, and so very focused on the man he adores. While the voice is decidedly younger sounding, just as a twenty-something young man’s tone should be, there is also such maturity when he reassures Mike during his hesitant and uncertain moments.
Then there is Mike—his voice, slower, steady and careful, always trying to be aware that every word he utters is important to Sean, always wanting to make sure that Sean understands how much he is cherished. And that is exactly what you hear in Mike’s tone while his every word says, “I adore Sean Mellgard.”
This narrator has an incredibly difficult job, for a majority of this novel is narration, just that—very little dialogue, heaps of internal musing and conversation. There are so many moments when I was amazed at how the variances and subtle pacing changes in Mr. Graves’ voicing made the story exciting, engaging, intense. This was a challenging novel to put to audio because so much of it is Mike’s story, told through his eyes, and so often the long descriptive passages could have been lost, boring, blasé, and yet, the narrator never allows that to happen. He never fails to maintain the tension that is needed to move this story along. He not only achieves a chilling effect with darker voice tones and varying vocal speed, but he allows for the darker moments in this story to come alive by manipulating our emotions with his suspenseful delivery. We can hear the awe in Mike’s voice as he sees things that just make no sense in this idyllic hometown setting. We feel his spike of fear when that carefully constructed world begins to fall apart.
In lesser hands, Murmuration would have been just another story with some neat twists and turns and a little bit of romance on the side. Instead, Mr. Graves gives us a sweeping romantic saga with chilling undertones that keep us on the edge of our seats the entire time.
The Story: Well, I cannot say one word about this story that won’t give it away, other than this: the romance that occurs, stumbles, appears to be lost and then is restored, will make you smile through the tears that this author somehow always manages to pull from his readers, and it is so worth it all. From the confusing pathway this story takes, through the mysterious almost Groundhog Day-like repeats that Mike lives through, his and my second-guessing and desperate hoping, the emotions this story evoked ran the real gamut. A fair warning—you will think you have this one all figured out and then, in the last quarter of the novel, you will realize it is so much worse than you could ever imagine. But the sense of utter despair that may capture your heart at that point, I promise, will be short lived.
So, what can I tell you that will not spoil this story for you? I can tell you that if you are looking for sex, look elsewhere. What occurs between Mike and Sean is exquisite and has such depth of feeling and desire that it really transcends sex in so many ways. If you are looking for romance, simple, sweet, hesitant but enduring and sacrificial, then you have come to the right story—it is romance defined, and I do not say that lightly. TJ Klune has really plumbed what it means to love, and just how obstinate and strengthening love can be, how much it can endure and what it can move us to do, changing us forever. If you are looking for a bit of crazy—a mystery wrapped in a conundrum, a slowly evolving, almost nightmarish story that makes so little sense and leads you to the wrong conclusions over and over but is so damn satisfying that you cannot stop reading—again, you have come to the right place.
Finally, if you are interested in characters who continually evolve, who think before they act, who put others before themselves and are willing to wait for “the one” they had never dreamed of meeting, then Murmuration is the absolute best novel you could ever read. This story is an experience, a revelation, a long, glorious moment of compassion, caring, kindness and yes, a touch of violence, wrapped up in the weirdest and most disturbing hidden storyline I think I have ever experienced. But…but…in the end it is so hopeful, so satisfying, so beautiful in its simplicity that you will wish you could start it all over again just to live a bit longer with the magic that is Mike and Sean together.
You can buy Murmuration here: