After the death of her parents, 17-year old, Ryn, is left to run the family’s graveyard, along with her brother and sister.
This may seem a simple task to you, they’re gravediggers. How challenging can it be?
In their remote village of Colbren, however, the dead oftentimes don’t remain dead; not exactly.
Allegedly, due a decades-old curse, the dead in Colbren can reanimate themselves and begin to walk again amongst the living. These walking dead are known as bone houses.
For the most part, Ryn is used to dealing with this issue. They don’t cause too much trouble. They seem to stick to the forest and are fairly easily cut down if need be.
Recently though, the behavior of the bone houses is changing. They’re venturing further into the village and attacking with a new ferocity. Ryn can’t quite figure it out.
Around this same time, a mysterious young man, a mapmaker by trade, has come to the village. Could the two things possibly be connected?
Ryn is drawn to this new man, Ellis, and the two begin to get to know one another. It turns out Ellis was found in the very mountains that border the village. He is on a search for his parents. He wants to know where he came from.
They both have mysteries to solve and there’s no better way to solve a mystery than going on a quest. Any Reader knows that!
Thus, Ryn and Ellis, along with Ryn’s very faithful goat, head off deep into the heart of the mountains, where they hope to finally learn the truth behind the curse and their own lives.
The Bone Houses is a highly creative and engaging YA Dark Fantasy story. I loved the characters and the escalation of the plot over the course of the book.
It’s hard to believe a story following a gravedigger and the walking dead could be beautiful, but in the capable hands of Emily Lloyd-Jones apparently it is.
The writing is lyrical and compelling, with just the right amount of humor, romance and horror elements woven throughout.
I fell in love with both Ryn and Ellis, but really it was Ryn’s family goat who stole the show. We stan an animal companion element in any Dark Fantasy story, but it was particularly well done here.
Additionally, I love a quest. It was fun to go along with Ryn and Ellis on their journey, as they began to piece together the truth behind the bone houses the intensity of the story continued to amp up.
I also liked the secrecy and reveals revolving around Ellis. He had a super fascinating backstory and I loved how Lloyd-Jones chose to bring that all to light. There were some great reveals.
I picked this up in anticipation of this author’s upcoming release, The Drowned Woods, which is releasing next Tuesday, August 16, 2022.
The Drowned Woods, although following a whole new set of characters, is said to be set in the same world as this novel. I wanted to be sure to have the backdrop of The Bone Houses prior to picking that one up.
Also, I have heard incredible things about this book, so I definitely wanted to get to it anyway.
Overall, I had a lot of fun with this story and am happy that i made time for it!