The Bone Houses by Emily Lloyd-Jones
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 about Ellis 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.
Expected publication: September 24th 2019 by Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
This was such a beautifully written story. About the dead, well the undead. But it was also a story about family and love.
Ryn is the oldest sibling in her family. Her mother had passed away and her father never came back from the mines. So Ryn took over her father’s job, the gravedigger. Ryn liked her job. She felt more comfortable around the dead than the living. And she knew what Bone Houses were. They were undead, but not zombies. They were rotted bodies, brought back to life by some remaining magic from a curse. The Bone Houses stayed in the woods, but something changed and they were now attacking people at home.
Ellis doesn’t know who he is. Not really. He was found, injured, when he was young and brought up around the prince. He had a nice life, but wanted to know where he came from. Who his parents were. He was also a mapmaker and he found his way to forest when he was attacked by a Bone House. Luckily Ryn was on watch and she saved him. Ryn needed money to pay her uncle’s debts and Ellis wanted to go map the forest. So Ellis agrees to pay Ryn for her help. She is also hoping to find a way to end the curse. And to also find her father.
The Mountains of Annwvyn have never welcomed humans.
Ryn and Ellis leave for their journey into the forest. There are Bone Houses everywhere at night. Not only is this a rough trip, but Ellis runs out of his herb for pain. His shoulder gets so bad that he can’t even move. Ryn finds him help from a strange source. The two begin as company and become friends. It’s probably hard to not become friends after everything they go through. The Bone Houses are not the only monsters either. There are dangers everywhere and only the old stories kids were told can help them.
Monsters were unrestrained, unbound, and beautiful in their destruction. They could be slain but they would never be truly defeated.
I loved both Ryn and Ellis. Ryn was stubborn and tough. Ellis was sweet and determined to live a happy life, even with his daily pain. Ryn’s brother and sister were also great, but they aren’t in a huge amount of the story. What we do know is that Ryn loves them more than anything. She will risk her life to keep them safe, even if she doesn’t come back home.
Warnings for a lot of death, descriptions of the undead, animals dying, loss of parents, pain that is a disability, and an undead animal that I dare you not to adore.
I gave this book 4 1/2 stars rounded up to 5. Thank you to the publisher for sending me a link by e-mail to read this from netgalley. Quotes were taken from an arc and may change before final publication.
Have you read The Bone Houses? Is it on your TBR? Do you like darker stories?