Book Review: Murmur by Emily Israd

“When a shapeshifter has the Sickness, it means that one of two things is about to happen. On one hand, it could mean you’re about to develop some sort of special power. Something big. Something rare.

“[Or] you lose the ability to change shapes. Forever.”

Hannah Sterling can change into a bird.

Or at least, she could until this past summer. When the Sickness takes away her shapeshifting ability, Hannah finds herself grounded—maybe for good.

But there’s no time to worry about that. Life in Jessup, Oklahoma has started heading south, fast. A student is killed, a biker gang is on the prowl, and the man Hannah’s father just hired is seriously giving her the creeps.

Meanwhile, Jack Corbin is having problems of his own. Life as the local miracle healer isn’t all it’s cracked up to be, and Jack’s strange power seems to be drawing clients and danger in equal measure.

With the darkness closing in, Hannah and Jack need to take hold of their powers to protect the people they love.

It’s going to take every ounce of luck—and magic—to get out of this one alive. (Goodreads)


I am so grateful to the author, Emily Israd for gifting me a copy of this wonderful book in exchange for an honest review. This was absolutely unputdownable. You may probably know that I just love stories set in small towns. This novel somehow reminded me of Charlaine Harris’ Dead Until Dark (but without the steamy scenes!)

“He couldn’t imagine life without the innate call and response between feather and bone, the power to change over and fly whenever he wished it.”

I was really excited to read about a teenage shape-shifter because this may be my first time to do so. I almost expected another YA Fantasy adventure type of read, so I was pleasantly surprised when it turned out that it’s actually a gripping mystery novel as well. I was honestly unable to predict every turn of the story. I read the whole thing with no idea at all of what will happen next. It was so fun!

I loved all of the characters: Hannah’s aunts are all so adorable, and the friendship that was built between Hannah, Jack, Will and Finn is something I’ve seen between the HP trio Harry, Ron and Hermione. I miss them all already!

“The roaring in Hannah’s ears reached a crescendo as she twisted against the invisible force that throttled her.”

This novel also has one of the most frightening antagonists but in fear of spoilers I won’t tell you who just yet. You must read it! But what I can tell you is that I was very much reminded of Stephen King’s Randall Flagg. He is that scary and creepy!

Despite the chilling villain and unsolved crimes, I do love how the author was able to inject the right amount of sense of humor and comic relief on stressful situations. I found myself smiling and chuckling even when I was so scared for our main characters.

“It’s not breaking and entering! We’re just going to accidentally get lost. Inside his house.”

Some of my major takeaways from this book: First, adults should really start trusting the young ones with the truth; and to also believe when they are telling their truth. As a parent this means so much to me because we do tend to always think that we know what’s best for our kids but we all need to learn how to trust them as well, for them to trust us.

The story is also about discrimination–how people hate and fear what they don’t understand. Education and open-mindedness is key to a truly harmonious community. It’s still quite a long way to go towards equality and understanding among all, but everytime I get to read these kinds of stories it makes me believe that humanity will get there someday 🌸

Overall rating: 3.5/5⭐️

7 thoughts on “Book Review: Murmur by Emily Israd

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