The Bone Houses

The Bone Houses

Author: Emily Lloyd-Jones
Series: n/a
Series #: n/a
Genre: fantasy
Age Group: young adult
ARC?: no

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.


Ryn is a gravedigger, Ellis is a mapmaker. When the Bone Houses (see: the dead) begin to rise and act unnaturally (for them at least) their paths cross. Together, Ryn and Ellis must journey deep into the forest to reveal the secret of these bone houses.

Death is not to be feared.

The Bones Houses from the beginning was a great concept. It wasn’t one that I’d seen quite this way before. It was unique enough that I didn’t feel like I was reading about zombies or something of that ilk. I was very excited for this book, and I’m even more excited to say that I really liked it. It was perfect spooky October read for me. It was both atmospheric, well written and thrilling.

The forest did not scare her; rather, she wanted to be like it: ageless and impervious, cruel and beautiful. Death could not touch it.

I want to start by talking about the atmosphere. I love books that have atmosphere, or make me feel a certain way – and it doesn’t necessarily mean they have to have a lot of action or be spooky. Sometimes they do, but in this case the book wasn’t totally action packed. There were a few fight scenes, but not really any big battles or moments per se. Instead we get a lot of great character moments and slow build pacing that makes the end worth it. There is something to be said for very slowly building up a plot and pacing, and this book does that in spades. From the moment you open the book, there is a unique atmosphere. It is slightly creepy, but also slightly comforting. It’s a strange combination, but I can’t explain it any other way. I loved it for that reason though.

Nothing stayed buried forever.

The writing of the author helps that. Lloyd-Jones’s writing is lovely and it enables you to envision what is happening and what this world looks like. It is also why the atmosphere is so powerful. Good writing in this combination make the book that much better to read. There is a great combination of dialogue and prose, and neither side seems to be too heavy on it. The mixture is perfect for me. This book is also in third person, and again, I think for this narrative it works well.

Character wise, I loved all the characters in this book, from Ryn and Ellis to Ceri and Gareth, they were all great characters. Ryn felt well developed to me, she was not faultless by any stretch of the imagination, but she was always doing what she felt was right. She struggled and overcame different obstacles. I really like that in a character. Ellis too, had a backstory and as we go along we learn more about him, and it isn’t all doled out at once which keeps some mystery. Like Ryn, you are kept guessing.

I love Ceri, and her goat. (I loved the goat, to be honest. One of the best characters in the series. And the book had some amusing lines related to said goat.) Gareth too, was a character that was developed. Overall, I was impressed by these characters. There were even some villains too!

And perhaps, if she left enough gifts, the forest might give her father back.

Plot wise, the book was done in two parts: before the adventure and the adventure. They read as their own sections, and the before the adventure part sets up the adventure part nicely. It all worked together smoothly. As I said earlier, it was a build-up, so this books pace is much slower. There are side meanders that work, however. It doesn’t feel like those portions were extraneous. They were put there for a reason. I liked the plot of this book, on an adventure to figure out what is going on with the dead rising. There’s way more to it than that, but I don’t want to spoil anything. It gets really, really good.

I can’t say enough how much I liked this book. I was intrigued and spell bound from the very beginning all the way to the end of this book! 


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