Audiobook Review: Murmuration by T.J. Klune

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.

Listening Length: 12 hours and 11 minutes
Narrator: Kirt Graves

TJ Klune is a autobuy author to me. Even if I review a free copy, I’ll end up purchasing the book in ebook, audio or paperback because I just love the story that much and I need TJ to keep writing for as long as he can stand it. One of the greatest things about this author is his willingness to take risks when it comes to writing. And boy was this a risk.

This is the most unusual story I have listened to in awhile. There is a lot going on that I was keenly aware of while I was following Kirt Graves narration, I just couldn’t figure out the bigger picture. The story was pretty obvious in some ways, but I was still following breadcrumbs to understand it completely through most of the story. It is definitely a story that takes you on a winding journey. It’s hard to tell whether it will lead you to the Emerald Castle, or whether you’ll end up back in Munchkin land.

I love a bit of mystery, and this mystery worked me the entire time. I was hungry for the little bits of knowledge that cropped up during odd moments, and how that played into the overall plot. I really had no idea how this story was going to end, even as I neared the conclusion. I loved that I got played and that at times I was completely confused.

This story is an experience. In patience and thought. It’s like a twin peaks episode, but then once you’re at the end you realise you’ve watched the entire season. It’s something bizarre and quirky and beautiful. Fascinating in it’s development with a slow reveal. A complex piece of literature from a skilled writer who enjoys taking readers on a ride.

I did find the tone of the story to be a little dreary. It felt slow at times, and I wanted it to hurry up. My best advice to other readers is to go in expecting an experience. Not just a story but a journey. This will make you consider the what if’s and draw parallels to thoughts or stories you’ve heard or seen. This is a story within a story, and once you’re inside it, you’ll question what you’ve read, and everything you’re going to read.

This is more than a romance. This is actually beyond a romance. The relationship between Mike and Sean is the most minute part of this story, but is also everything in this story. Pay careful attention.

I can’t say I love Kirt Graves as a narrator, but I think his style is growing on me. This is a personal issue and I don’t think it has anything to do with Kirt’s voice acting skills. I’m a weirdo with voices, and if you’ve followed any of my previous audio reviews, you’ll know it is more connected with my hearing issues than the actors who put their voices to these stories. The best way to judge for yourself would be to sample this story on Audible.

If you’re a fan of odd quirky stories, complex writing, and stories that are different, definitely give this one a go. It wasn’t my favourite, but it is definitely something memorable, and for that it gets high marks.

A review copy was provided for an honest opinion.

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