Thank you to Penguin Books UK for sending me a copy in exchange for an honest review.
Born covered in the feathers of a bird, and kept hidden in a crumbling house full of secrets, Marea has always known she was different, but never known why. And so to find answers, she goes in search of the father she has never met.
The hunt leads her to the City of Murmurs, a place of mermaids and mystery, where jars of swirling mist are carried through the streets by the broken-hearted.
And Marea will never forget what she learns there.
The first time I saw this book, more specifically its cover, I knew I needed to find out about it and I was gratefully sent a copy to review. Other than the little synopsis we are given, I went into this book fairly blind and I’m so glad I did.
The book follows Maréa from her birth all the way into her late teens and we see the incredible journey she goes on – both literally and emotionally. We follow her early days being born with feathers to living a hidden life with her mother and other sex workers in an old house. As she grows, she becomes more curious about her father and knows she must said off on a journey to find him, taking her to the City of Murmurs – here she begins a life of independence with the help of Sybil, a fortune teller who hires Maréa to work her dogs in exchange for somewhere to live, Elver, a girl who was once a mermaid and Leo, the man with all the answers to her backstory and most importantly, her father.
The first thing that will capture you in this book is its lyrical prose. I just wanted to sit and highlight every other line because it was just so beautifully written. Everything from Maréa’s world inside the whorehouse to her journey into the City of Murmurs is just full of magic and the atmosphere makes it impossible for you to remember that this is just a fictional world. All the characters came to life in this world and magic just flowed from beginning to end.
“A place full of memories can never be completely empty.”
Maréa was a wonderful character to follow and I was pleased to discover that she is either bisexual or pansexual and there is a sapphic romance in this book. Other than that, I adored the relationship between her and her mother, Lemán. Her mother wanted to protect her but she loved her unconditionally and it’s so heartwarming to see a strong mother/daughter bond in fiction. There is also Sybil who becomes like a mother-figure to her as well as Professor Elms who is originally introduced to her as a teacher but becomes a lifelong friend. I just really enjoyed all the different bonds in this book, rather than having a main character who just goes off on their own or only really has a love interest and nobody else.
I also really enjoyed the story itself – it isn’t an action-filled plot with twists and turns but like the overall theme of the book, it flows naturally and kept me hooked regardless. It is much more of a character-driven story and I know that can either be hit or miss but for me, I really appreciated it. I would definitely recommend this book if you are a fantasy fan and just want a book you can cozy up in bed with and just forget about the world.
Lots of Love,