Review: The Bone Houses

The Bone Houses
By Emily Lloyd-Jones
Published September 24, 2019 by Little, Brown

Publisher’s summary:
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.

 

The Bone Houses is a gripping YA fantasy that meshes zombies and Welsh legends into a satisfying story.

Ryn is a orphaned gravedigger struggling to keep her family afloat. Ellis is a mapmaker with a mysterious past. When he comes to Ryn’s village to make a map, she agrees to take Bone Househim into the forest. But reanimated corpses, known as Bone Houses (the Z word is never used), are coming out of the forest and attacking the village, so their journey into the forest is fraught with problems.

I really enjoyed this book. Putting zombies into a fantasy setting influenced by Welsh mythology is a great concept, and it works really well. The Bone Houses are terrifying because no one knows why they’re coming back. There have always been rumors that the dead can come back, but now the village is overrun with them.

Ryn and Ellis form an alliance that’s uneasy at first. She needs his money, so she takes him into the forest, but she has her own reasons for undertaking the dangerous journey. Both characters have secrets, and their trip into the forest forces them to confront some hard truths.

In this pairing, Ryn is the muscle. Although she’s only a teenager, she’s been taking care of her family for years and she’s tough as nails. Ellis suffers from chronic pain from an old injury, and physically, the quest is difficult for him. The two have to work together the survive, and their growing bond is very appealing.

This book will appeal to horror, zombie, and mythology fans. It’s a bit of a fairy story, but with zombies, and I loved it.

I received an ARC from the publisher through Amazon Vine.

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