Title: The Bone Houses
Author: Emily Lloyd-Jones
Publication Date: September 24, 2019
Genre(s): Young Adult, Fantasy, Horror
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Seventeen-year-old Aderyn (“Ryn”) only cares about two things: her family, and her family’s graveyard. And right now, both are in dire straits. Since the death of their parents, Ryn and her siblings have been scraping together a meager existence as gravediggers in the remote village of Colbren, which sits at the foot of a harsh and deadly mountain range that was once home to the fae. The problem with being a gravedigger in Colbren, though, is that the dead don’t always stay dead.
The risen corpses are known as “bone houses,” and legend says that they’re the result of a decades-old curse. When Ellis, an apprentice mapmaker with a mysterious past, arrives in town, the bone houses attack with new ferocity. What is it that draws them near? And more importantly, how can they be stopped for good?
Together, Ellis and Ryn embark on a journey that will take them deep into the heart of the mountains, where they will have to face both the curse and the long-hidden truths about themselves.
*ARC obtained at BookCon. All opinions are my own.*
Look, I know this review is coming late, but I did actually read this book on time. You can see my wrap up discussing it here and my real-time thoughts when reading this book here.
That being said, this book was a heckin’ ton of fun! Reading this one in the late summer really got me in the mood for the spooky season. I’m already considering rereading this book during the spooky season to get the full effect.
Ryn – Ah, I really enjoyed Ryn’s character. Her interest in grave digging was really interesting to read about and her motives for taking Ellis on the quest were understandable. Being the one that supports her family in the society the book creates adds an extra layer to her character that had me routing and worried for her over the course of the novel.
Ellis – Ellis was probably my favorite character in the book. He’s a mapmaker from a nearby town that was raised by the Prince and doesn’t know his family. He uses his mapmaking career as a way to explore different parts of the land and learn more about himself. I really enjoyed the way that the author talks about Ellis’s shoulder injury and how this actually played a large role in both his career path and day-to-day life as he’s in chronic pain. I did enjoy this representation and how the shoulder injury was addressed without being swept under the rug or overplayed.
This book reads like folklore or a fairytale. We follow Ryn as she is introduced to the Bone Houses and learns how to be a grave digger under her father. We follow her as a young adult, trying to make ends meet and keep her family safe, while also trying to keep the town safe from the impending danger. And we follow her on her quest with Ellis to discover the truth behind the stories that have been passed down over the years.
We follow Ellis as he travels long distances to learn more about his past and uses the time to map these less-traveled lands. We follow his friendship with Ryn as he tries to gain her trust and his discovery of what lies beyond the town.
I really enjoyed the story once we got on the other side of the village and learned more about the events that inspired the legends. I really like it when books add their own mythology and lore into their worlds and tend to prefer this over the plot itself, that being said, I really enjoyed how the lore in this book was directly tied into the plot in different ways.
I personally saw ~the reveal~ of Ellis’s true family coming, but I still like how linked back into the overall story. Also, there was one scene with Ryn that resulted in some new understanding with her and the Bone Houses that I really liked. It took me a second to understand what was going on, but once it did, I teared up a bit.
One this that did kind of bother me was that when I read the synopsis and heard people talk about this book, I was expecting fae. Spoiler alert, there is no fae in this book (at least not that I saw). This led to me anticipating the introduction of fae and left me woefully disappointed at their absence.
Oh and the goat was my favorite character that’s probably going to be incredibly underrated
Overall, this was a super fun, spooky read that’s perfect for getting you into the fall mood. If you’re someone that likes atmospheric books with a hit of folklore qualities, consider this one perfect for you!
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