My Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
Title: The Bone Houses
Author: Emily Lloyd-Jones
Format: Hardcover (owned)
Categories: Death, Fantasy, Welsh Mythology, Young Adult, Romance
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 book made my heart smile! Who knew that a book about bone houses (skeletal zombies basically, not an actual HOUSE), could feel light-hearted?
Ryn is an axe-wielding gravedigger who is trying to keep her family afloat. She has a younger siblings and no parents. The uncle who is supposed to be their caretaker is gone and most people choose to burn bodies instead of bury them, so times are tough in Colbern. If things don’t change for Ryn and her family, they could lose their home and each other.
Magic from long ago has been forgotten over time, but Ryn knows in the forest outside of their town, are bone houses. The bone houses are dead people, come to life and she feels it’s her job to take her axe to them. She is brave, strong and no nonsense, which I love about her. Then one day a young man named Ellis comes to town and he is a mapmaker who is lost. He is searching for clues about his family and needs a guide. Ryn and Ellis set off on a journey to find out more about his history and also to end the curse of the bone houses once and for all.
This book was basically the walking dead and yes it’s kind of creepy but I think because it’s Ryn who’s dealing with them – I feel like her perspective of these bone houses is so refreshing and different because she is a gravedigger. She’s around the dead, cares for the dead and even when she’s destroying the bone houses, she apologizes. ❤️ I liked seeing death through Ryn’s eyes. There is one scene when they come upon a town where the bone houses live with the living and I thought it was heart wrenching. ☹️
Ryn and Ellis’ relationship is a slow burn romance, it’s clean and sweet. For a time I didn’t think there would be a romance between them, I think it could’ve gone either way for them and it would have been fine. But I’m also happy for their happily ever after.
Interwoven in this wonderfully told emotional fantasy story about family, bone houses and mythology, is the theme about grief and pain. Ryn has lost her parents, and Ellis never knew his, so they are both dealing with the pain of their pasts. But Ellis also deals with physical pain and I liked how he described living with it. My heart broke for Ryn and Ellis when they finally confront their ghosts. 💔 But they are there for each other, not just in the romantic sense, but as two caring human beings.
Even though it’s a book about killing “zombies” and grief, the way this story is told warmed my heart and made me smile. 😊 This is the perfect autumn read, I thoroughly enjoyed The Bone Houses.
“And perhaps this was the truth about the dead. You went on. They’d want you to.”The Bone Houses by. emily lloyd-jones