Book Reviews

The Bone Houses by Emily Lloyd-Jones

The Bone HousesTitle: The Bone Houses
Author: Emily Lloyd-Jones
Rating: ★★★★

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.

This was the perfect fall read…the ambiance, the plot, and the creepiness (but not always creepy) of the bone houses, or half-alive skeletons of the dead. But most importantly, this was a story of survival, commitment, and the lengths one will go for family.

It was a risk, to love someone. To do so with the full knowledge that they’d leave someday.

After the death of her mother and her father never returning on a trip into the mines, Ryn, the eldest child, finds herself taking over the family business as a gravedigger. One thing I find in common with Ryn is the peace one can often find with the dead…silence and the ability to escape from reality. After seeing a glimpse of a bone house as a child, she knew that one day she would come face-to-face with these zombie skeletons while burying the dead. After all, there is a reason people don’t venture past the iron fences.

Ellis is a mapmaker trying to find his way in this world. Unexpectedly (but not really), Ryn saves Ellis from a bone house while searching for his family history. Coincidentally needing money to pay off of her uncle’s debts, Ellis hires Ryn to take him on his journey to “map out” the Mountains of Annwvyn. Lucky for Ryn, she can find a way to end the curse and hopefully (maybe?) find her father along the way.

Perhaps my favorite character in the novel is the pet goat. She was so sweet, loyal, protective, and a little stinky.

“I grew up thinking monsters could be slain.”

“Ah,” he said. “And I grew up thinking people were the monsters.”

Lloyd-Jones takes reader on a journey into a glimpse of Welsh mythology in the form of bone houses. The Bones Houses is a captivating story perfect for lovers of the undead, life after death, and the lengths on will go to preserve family (literally! haha).

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