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 Welsh village of Colbren, which sits at the foot of a harsh and deadly mountain range that was once home to fae creatures known as the Otherfolk. 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. Ryn has always been quick to deal with this inconvenience whenever they wander too close to her graveyard, but when Ellis, an apprentice mapmaker, arrives in town, the bone houses attack with renewed purpose. What is it about Ellis that draws them near? And more importantly, how can they stop them for good?
Together, Ellis and Ryn embark on a quest that will bring them deep into the heart of the mountains, where they will have to face both the curse and long-hidden truths about themselves. Equal parts classic horror novel and original fairy-tale, The Bone Houses will have you spellbound from the very first page.
- ISBN10 0316418412
- ISBN13 9780316418416
- Publish Date 31 October 2019 (first published 24 October 2019)
- Publish Status Active
- Publish Country US
- Publisher Little, Brown & Company
- Imprint Little, Brown Young Readers
- Format Hardcover
- Pages 352
- Language English
I FINALLY was able to get into this! Boy am I ECSTATIC about this development, because for SO long I have been hearing nothing but great things about this book, I just couldn't get into it. Until NOW! And I am so happy that I could— because this was ABSOLUTELY PHENOMENAL!
yeah, yeah... all of you were right
A beautifully written, YA novel involving a cute zombie goat!
My thoughts about this book are similar to The Near Witch from VE Schwab. It creates a great atmosphere, I couldn't stop reading it, but overall it could have been better. I was probably not the right audience for this book. I had expected more angst and a less generic story. A large part of the story was predictable, but still enjoyable.
In a world where magic is real, and corpses can get back up again (known as Bone Houses), there are plenty of lessons for one to learn.
Ryn is a gravedigger. She took up the job once her father went missing, and she’s been doing an okay job of keeping her family afloat ever since. But times are changing, as is the magic in the area. The Bone Houses that once stuck to the woods are now venturing out – and putting them all at risk.
Ellis is an apprentice mapmaker. That is what he wants to be known as. Not the boy with a dark or mysterious past. Just Ellis the mapmaker. His ambitions have led him to Colbren, a village on the side of a mountain. And it’s that mountain that he hopes will make his name.
“And perhaps this was the truth about the dead. You went on. They’d want you to.”
Warnings: In case it wasn’t obvious from the title or description, The Bone Houses deals with death. A lot of it. There are walking corpses. And they’re in various stages of decay. There are sometimes graphic descriptions of this. There’s also some animal death (and reanimation) to contend with.
The Bone Houses was an astonishingly chilling read. It was beautifully written, full of lush details that made the world leap off the pages and feel startlingly real. This is one of those books that’ll latch on to your imagination, and hold on until you cave in and finish reading it.
Or, at least that way the case for me. Even when I put The Bone Houses down, my mind was occupied with the story being told. I couldn’t distract myself from it, especially not towards the end. So I would strongly advise against doing what I tried to do: reading The Bone Houses during 15 minute breaks from work. It doesn’t work out that well.
There is so much to love about The Bone Houses. Emily Lloyd-Jones’ writing is elegant, sophisticated, and atmospheric. I loved every minute, even the graphic detailing of the Bone Houses themselves. It was impossible to look away.
I loved the concept behind the Bone Houses; how they walked and acted. The rules they had followed (or rather, the rules that Ryn believed they followed based on her observations). It was all fascinating. And okay, it was dark as well. But in a good way.
Speaking of Ryn; I found myself surprised by how much I enjoyed reading from her perspective. She’s one of the most compassionate characters I’ve read about – and yet it’s all bundled up behind a tough exterior. Her love towards her siblings and respect for the dead was breathtaking and refreshing.
The romantic subplot in The Bone Houses was a nice touch. It was a desperately needed ray of light in what could have been a much darker tale. It was also an extra touch of what makes us human – an ironic bit, when you stop and think about it.
This is the first novel I’ve read by Emily Lloyd-Jones. And clearly I’m going to have to add her backlog to my massive TBR list, because I’m smitten with her writing style. I need more of this, and fast.
For more reviews check out Quirky Cat's Fat Stacks
-Solid stand alone. Lloyd-Jones is able to paint this world with a full mythology, exciting adventure, and believable characters in under 400 pages.
-Wonderful adventure. I do love a good quest.
-This is not a fairy tale but there’s a fairy tale feel. Magic. Curses. Adventures. Legends.
-Dark but not scary or spooky. Bone houses are essentially zombies so there’s a bit of terror involved. It’s just not scary in the traditional way.
-Don’t let the mention of zombies turn you away if that’s not of interest to you. The story is so much more than zombies. It’s probably the most beautiful zombie story you’ll read.
-Ryn and Ellis are wonderful partners. They complement each other way. I love they way they’re fine with how the other one is a mess. Ellis has mobility issues and will never be strong like a man ‘should’. Ryn is more comfortable in a graveyard with dirt under her nails than anywhere else in the world. Somehow that imperfection just works. Not in the ‘You’re the love of my life and I must do anything to be with you’ way. More of the ‘I really like you, let’s see where this goes’ way.
-THAT GOAT. Seriously, what a show stealer.
"The forest did not scare her; rather, she wanted to be like it: ageless and impervious, cruel and beautiful. Death could not touch it."The descriptions and atmosphere are fantastic. I was immediately drawn into the world that Lloyd-Jones carefully crafted. The words flow easily and beautifully, gloriously toeing the line of purple prose without bogging down the narrative. The feeling of unease and tension build, leading to a completely wild and intense last quarter of the book that had me on the edge of my seat. I had to put my book down for a minute to recover!
"Our lives depend on people dying. And old people tend to die more quickly than young ones. But they won't be paying for your services, not so long as they think the dead will rise."I did struggle a bit with the worldbuilding, particularly surrounding the king, magic's presence or lack thereof, the overall mystery of the bone houses and where they came from. A lot of it comes together in the end, but there are some things I just had to suspend my disbelief for and not poke with logic. Excellent pacing, never a dull moment even though I wish some things were explained earlier in the text. Even though I wasn't completely sold on the worldbuilding, it didn't detract much from my enjoyment of the book because of how I was invested I became with the characters.
"She knew how things died. And in her darkest moments, she feared she did not know how to live."The characters most definitely shine in this book. I will die for the goat and I absolutely love Ryn. She will do anything for her family, making great sacrifices to be sure that her brother and sister are taken care of. And the beauty is in the character relationships. This book made me cry. The sibling relationships are precious and Ceri must be protected at all costs; I love her snark!
"Pain doesn't make a person weak or strong. Pain just is. It's not a purifier, it's a part of living."The book is as much about grief, love, and family as much as the horrific bone houses (basically zombies). The theme of loss and pain runs throughout the story and is a journey of acceptance which I found incredibly moving.
Overall, The Bone Houses was such an enjoyable, original, and fast-paced read! I'm really glad that OwlCrate included this book in the September 2019 box (and look at the cover!
This story is more than just their journey of finding out why these ‘Bone Houses’ come alive at night, and the magic behind them; it also weaves a story of a family, using this Cauldron for their own, and the heartbreak that befalls them.
I absolutely loved this novel. The storytelling immersed me in the characters thoughts and struggles and I felt their happiness and pain with them; I couldn’t have asked for a better story to be told.