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The Bone Houses

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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 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.


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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 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.

30 review for The Bone Houses

  1. 5 out of 5

    Melissa ♥ Dog/Wolf Lover ♥ Martin

    UPDATE: $2.99 Kindle US 10/27/19 September Owlcrate Unboxing! Click on the link below the pic to see the GOODIES! THE GOODIES LINK HOLY SHIT CAKES! THIS BOOK ROCKED! Mel 🖤🐶🐺🐾

  2. 4 out of 5

    Nilufer Ozmekik

    Spooky, heart throbbing, can you hear it? BA BOOM! BA BOOM! THUMP! THUMP! Those kind of perfectly written, well-crafted thriller stories with adorable characters always make me feel alive! So I toss around 4 and 5 stars and finally I decided to be good-hearted grader (or I could find somebody wearing Ryns costumes for Halloween at my door, chasing me with her axe) and clicked to 5 HORRIFYING STARS! I think I made the best choice for my Halloween week by reading this epic, fantastic journey, Spooky, heart throbbing, can you hear it? BA BOOM! BA BOOM! THUMP! THUMP! Those kind of perfectly written, well-crafted thriller stories with adorable characters always make me feel alive! So I toss around 4 and 5 stars and finally I decided to be good-hearted grader (or I could find somebody wearing Ryn’s costumes for Halloween at my door, chasing me with her axe) and clicked to 5 HORRIFYING STARS! I think I made the best choice for my Halloween week by reading this epic, fantastic journey, with the sweet touch of Welsh folklore and urban tales introduces a rough, strong, invincible, brave heroine Aderyn (let’s call him Ryn), the gravedigger! Ryn meets her first BONE HOUSES- dead people who don’t die and wonder around the forest at night time- when she was a little child, following secretly her father to the forest without listening his warnings. That day, her faith changed and she started to follow her father’s footsteps, choosing his carrier for herself. (Can you imagine a heroine who buries dead people and uses her axe efficiently to crush the skulls of Bone Houses, yes, you found one, Ryn is unstoppable and merciless!) Her father goes to work for mine but he never returns. When their mother passes away, not so decent law abiding citizen uncle start to live with them (we cannot say he takes good care of them, he is so occupied with his gambling and loaning money from village’s one of the rich and powerful man Eynon who is also big asshole! Very same guy threatens three siblings to evict them for the house left them from their family!) and of course he also leaves the house and nobody hears from him. Ryn lives with her brother and little sister, taking care of them, isolated from the life and mostly connects better with dead people than the living ones. She lives to slay the creatures and finally she meets with the map-maker boy Ellis (who gets lost by a lost map and finds himself to be killed by a bone house but thankfully Ryn and her magical axe solves the problem. She saves his life!) is also reserved, orphaned, lost (literally and mentally), thinks the real people are more dangerous than the creatures. Their loneliness, relation issues with other people, passions about their jobs ( Ryn expresses herself by digging the soil and Ellis tries to find his way and his identity in life by drawing new road maps.), their weirdness, isolated natures and finally grieving ( Ryn misses her father and their special connection marked by the half spoons –her father takes the half and tells her, he will come back to unite them- her death mother and Ellis suffers from his parents’ absence who he never met.) make them MATCHED MADE IN HEAVEN. Now they come together to start their journey to find the cauldron which is the source of dead-bones and destroy it to save the village from the attacks of them. So I loved the detailed, gore, dark, stunning writing. I visualized all the parts on my head and scared shitless. The impeccably written action parts were heart throbbing, terrifying but also very entertaining. I felt the blood pumping into my veins and pure adrenalin rush so I jumped up and down, screamed, dropped the book and started to run, then I got bored from the real life as I saw my husband and friends yelled at the soccer game on the TV so I returned back and bit my fingers during my reading. (Not nails! My manicurist will kill me if I do!) So urban tales, magical folkloric elements, some Welsh some Eastern cultural elements perfectly mixed with horror genre. And of course Ryn is my favorite kind of badass, straightforward, stubborn, free, self-confidant, witty, entertaining character with her awkward sense of humor. I also loved Ellis. He seems like a little overshadowed by Ryn because she is so powerful character. But his emotional side, loneliness, loyalty, suffering from physical and mental injuries do not make him vulnerable, these attributes make him adorable and quite a great fit for Ryn. (They complete each other and best part is Ellis accepts and loves Ryn’s antics, quirkiness.) I highly recommend this especially to the horror genre fans!

  3. 4 out of 5

    jessica

    fy nghalon cymreig mor hapus ar hyn o bryd // my little welsh heart is so happy right now. i can count on one hand the amount of mainstream novels that have incorporated traditional welsh influences into their stories. welsh folklore and culture - particularly northern welsh - is rich and magical, so i am beyond happy to see a story represent it (this even mentions the legend of beddgelert, which i may have lowkey freaked out about. lol). and i think its these influences that i hold dear to my fy nghalon cymreig mor hapus ar hyn o bryd // my little welsh heart is so happy right now. i can count on one hand the amount of mainstream novels that have incorporated traditional welsh influences into their stories. welsh folklore and culture - particularly northern welsh - is rich and magical, so i am beyond happy to see a story represent it (this even mentions the legend of beddgelert, which i may have lowkey freaked out about. lol). and i think its these influences that i hold dear to my heart which helped me fall in love with a story about zombies. zombies are so not my thing. but this comes from a place of myth and legend, rather than something from horror, and it makes all the difference. it feels more like the opposition in a fairytale and not like something you would find in a nightmare. i really appreciate how emily lloyd-jones took that approach and told that aspect of the story from that kind of perspective. at the end of the day, i know this might not be everyones favourite book. the characters could be considered a little one-dimensional and there are some moments that might be forgettable. but seeing a culture i love be represented is a truly wonderful feeling, so this gets all the stars from me! ↠ 4.5 stars

  4. 4 out of 5

    Lola

    I never thought a book about zombies could be so elegantly told. But I should have expected to be swayed by Emily Lloyd-Jones, the same author who wrote The Hearts We Sold which, despite the less-than-pretty-topic, sold me with its beautiful neat writing. Its not easy to turn a fantasy story, with zombies of all things, into a fairytale complete with a moral message and universal themes of family, love and acceptance. Yet this author succeeded. She most certainly improved upon her previous I never thought a book about zombies could be so elegantly told. But I should have expected to be swayed by Emily Lloyd-Jones, the same author who wrote The Hearts We Sold which, despite the less-than-pretty-topic, sold me with its beautiful neat writing. It’s not easy to turn a fantasy story, with zombies of all things, into a fairytale complete with a moral message and universal themes of family, love and acceptance. Yet this author succeeded. She most certainly improved upon her previous release and I would even go as far as to say she went above and beyond what I expected. This is about two young people who set on a journey into a dangerous forest. Ryn is trying to stop a deadly curse from destroying her family and Ellis is a mapmaker with huge ambition who decides to map a place no one dares explore – the forest. Together they face obstacles and become stronger on the inside and the outside. My only issue with this book, and this author it seems, is that while her characters are not one-dimensional per se, they never do turn into real beings that could jump off the page. It very much feels like we are reading someone’s story as opposed to someone telling us their story. But this book remains a lovely and surprising experience. Normally I do not read about horror-ish elements but the un-dead and the violence did not shock me one bit, possibly because the writing enchanted me too much. Or maybe I’m changing. Regardless, I can’t wait to see what Emily comes up with next and I am pleased to recommend this book to you. Blog | Youtube | Twitter | Instagram | Google+ | Bloglovin’

  5. 5 out of 5

    Holly (Holly Hearts Books)

    WE HAVE FINALLY BROKEN THE YA FANTASY CURSE! Here is why this book worked for me in every way possible: Its a fantasy set in medieval times, at least thats how I pictured it but I picture everything in medieval times because hello. Nice to meet you. You must not know me. You have a small village that is fenced in by Iron because zombies lurk in the dark wood beyond it, youre following siblings, the main character is a gravedigger which I found interesting as fork, you have a friends to lovers WE HAVE FINALLY BROKEN THE YA FANTASY CURSE! Here is why this book worked for me in every way possible: It’s a fantasy set in medieval times, at least that’s how I pictured it but I picture everything in medieval times because hello. Nice to meet you. You must not know me. You have a small village that is fenced in by Iron because zombies lurk in the dark wood beyond it, you’re following siblings, the main character is a gravedigger which I found interesting as fork, you have a friends to lovers dynamic which is my preference. The love interest is glowing with Hufflepuff aura. You’ll want to carry him in your pocket at all times. This book hit me in all the right places. It has the grim, it has the Huff, and a pet goat companion named Goat.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Chelsea Humphrey

    This was a wonderfully atmospheric read, with lovable characters, but I couldn't shake the feeling that I was reading a MG fantasy instead of a YA one. Either way, there's a lot of heart and hope here, and this was a lighter read that I would think the younger end of the YA spectrum would enjoy. Full review to come. ************ Buddy read with the lovely Meltotheany! *Thanks to the publisher for providing my review copy.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Nenia ⚡ Aspiring Evil Overlord ⚡ Campbell

    Instagram || Twitter || Facebook || Amazon || Pinterest THE BONE HOUSES is amazing, but I don't really think I agree with the comparisons to Buffy the Vampire Slayer and SKY IN THE DEEP-- if anything, it's like a cross between SABRIEL and THE BLACK CAULDRON. THE BONE HOUSES is a fantasy set in a place that seems to be based off Wales. Aderyn is a grave-digger who lives with her sister, Cerridwen, and her brother, Gareth. Their mother is dead, and their father and uncle have both disappeared Instagram || Twitter || Facebook || Amazon || Pinterest THE BONE HOUSES is amazing, but I don't really think I agree with the comparisons to Buffy the Vampire Slayer and SKY IN THE DEEP-- if anything, it's like a cross between SABRIEL and THE BLACK CAULDRON. THE BONE HOUSES is a fantasy set in a place that seems to be based off Wales. Aderyn is a grave-digger who lives with her sister, Cerridwen, and her brother, Gareth. Their mother is dead, and their father and uncle have both disappeared mysteriously, leaving them all effectively orphaned. Aderyn goes into the forest to forage, but is mindful of her father's warnings that dangerous things rove in the trees after nightfall, including the "bone houses": or, the animated dead. They only stay in the forest and they only come after dark, but lately, Aderyn has been noticing that they have been venturing closer and closer to the edges--until one day, they're out. In the meantime, their village has been graced with the presence of an unusual boy: a map-maker with chronic pain, who won't tell them his surname or why he's come to their village. Aderyn meets him when she saves his life and they end up forging an unusual alliance. Both of them need to go into the forest to find a legendary castle in the lands of the faerie, and a cauldron rumored to give life. So, this was fifteen different kinds of amazing. The writing was lush and gorgeous, and it set the scenery of the village and the forest perfectly. I was very impressed by how richly-imagined this world was, considering that it was relatively simple. It does for Welsh folklore what Naomi Novik did with Eastern European folklore in SPINNING SILVER and UPROOTED. The faerie legends and the nod to The Black Cauldron made me so happy, and the Medieval village setting was so well done. Other things I liked about this book were the chronic pain rep (understated, but rare in fantasy), especially since Ellis was never painted as weak or as a victim. Aderyn is a strong female character who doesn't need to be brash or throw her weight around (just her axe, heh heh) to be respected. I loved her close relationship with her siblings and the family goat, and her slow-burn attraction to Ellis. The way she fought back against the injustice of the village lord who wanted to ruin her family in his greed, and the hero's journey she goes upon to find the reason the dead are rising, were both really empowering for the character and instilled her with agency. She was never passive or bland. Anyone who likes strong female fantasy characters and Welsh settings should pick up THE BONE HOUSES when it comes out, especially if, as I mentioned before, you enjoy Naomi Novik's work, or enjoyed SABRIEL and UPROOTED. It has that same fun, folkloric fantasy vibe, with a gloomy, Gothic edge to keep things interesting. Apparently it's a standalone too, so no need to commit. ;) Thanks to the publisher for sending me a copy in exchange for an honest review!  4.5 stars

  8. 5 out of 5

    Mary S. R.

    5 MILLION STARS! I gotta be honest, I hate zombies and absolutely don't care for themthey're pointless and stupid and an utter waste of time. But this book? Emily Lloyd-Jones somehow managed to bewitch me into adoring this tale; a tale about the aftermath of the fall of a once glorious kingdom of magical beings, and what remains in the mysterious forest they used to live within; a story about a small village haunted by what was left behind by the king of the otherfolk, and a fierce girl fighting 5 MILLION STARS! I gotta be honest, I hate zombies and absolutely don't care for them—they're pointless and stupid and an utter waste of time. But this book? Emily Lloyd-Jones somehow managed to bewitch me into adoring this tale; a tale about the aftermath of the fall of a once glorious kingdom of magical beings, and what remains in the mysterious forest they used to live within; a story about a small village haunted by what was left behind by the king of the otherfolk, and a fierce girl fighting to protect her family and folk. Refreshing and enchanting, the grace of this book completely took me by surprise, and I couldn't get enough! THIS playlist explains perfectly how The Bone Houses felt to me 🖤 FRTC.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Kayla Dawn

    3,5* - this started out really strong, I enjoyed the writing style, the characters and the plot itself. I even finished it in one day. Unfortunately around the last 100 pages or so it got kinda repetitive, predictable and romance heavy (it really wasn't that bad but still too much for my taste lol), which led to me giving it "only" 3,5 instead of the full 4 stars. I'd definitely still recommend it.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Amy Imogene Reads

    3.5 stars Surprisingly elegant and atmospheric, but definitely rough around the edges. Zombies meets ancient Wales meets myth meets....traditional YA trappings. Concepts: ★★★★ Visual descriptions: ★★★★ Density: ★★ 1/2 The Bone Houses has one of the coolest concepts in YAin a small town at the edge of the mystical mountainous woods, skeletons come alive at night and wander. They're called bone houses. That kind of an opener screams to be read. Ryn is a gravedigger, and the tough-as-nails, 3.5 stars Surprisingly elegant and atmospheric, but definitely rough around the edges. Zombies meets ancient Wales meets myth meets....traditional YA trappings. Concepts: ★★★★ Visual descriptions: ★★★★ Density: ★★ 1/2 The Bone Houses has one of the coolest concepts in YA—in a small town at the edge of the mystical mountainous woods, skeletons come alive at night and wander. They're called bone houses. That kind of an opener screams to be read. Ryn is a gravedigger, and the tough-as-nails, chip-on-her-shoulder YA heroine that we've seen before. Her father was lost to the mountains, her uncle was lost to the wilderness, and her siblings are all she has left. The family scrapes it by on the edges of poverty in a very medieval-feeling way. Enter Ellis, the mapmaker. Kind of strange that there seems to be an entire profession devoting to traveling mapmakers, but The Bone Houses runs with it. Ellis is an orphan boy trying to find his parents, and finds himself drawn to the woods where he was found. Ryn and Ellis also find themselves drawn to each other and end up in the woods on a quest to a) learn more about the mountains for a map, b) learn more about Ellis' past, c) try to find out what happened to Ryn's dad, and finally d) to discover the heart of the woods and find a way to stop the bone houses from rising. (It's a complicated quest.) There was potential for me to love The Bone Houses, but I never found myself crossing the divide between liking and loving. It was cool...but I wanted more of the magic, more of the bone houses, and wayyyyy less of the YA-standards: the romance, the tying everything up together in the end, the internal dialogues on identity that took up space that could have been used on plot, etc. Give me the weird and the unexplained magic and leave everything else behind—it just bogged the story down.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Emily Lloyd-Jones

    Eeeek. Im so excited to share this book with everyone. There are folktales and magic and undead corpses shambling around. There is a teenage gravedigger with a (slightly) dysfunctional family. There is a mapmaker who can never find his way. And my favorite character is a goat. EDIT: For more information about the books release and some preorder fun, check out my website! Eeeek. I’m so excited to share this book with everyone. There are folktales and magic and undead corpses shambling around. There is a teenage gravedigger with a (slightly) dysfunctional family. There is a mapmaker who can never find his way. And my favorite character is a goat. EDIT: For more information about the book’s release and some preorder fun, check out my website!

  12. 4 out of 5

    alana ♡

    And perhaps this was the truth about the dead. You went on. They'd want you to. If you told me a book about zombies would leave me with tears in my eyes I normally wouldnt believe you...but here we are. I've been in a bit of a slump lately when it comes to fantasy books, but when I came across this one and then found out it was a standalone I figured I didn't have much to lose. So, I gave it a go and I'm so glad I did. If you're looking for a standalone fantasy with great world-building, “And perhaps this was the truth about the dead. You went on. They'd want you to.” If you told me a book about zombies would leave me with tears in my eyes I normally wouldn’t believe you...but here we are. I've been in a bit of a slump lately when it comes to fantasy books, but when I came across this one and then found out it was a standalone I figured I didn't have much to lose. So, I gave it a go and I'm so glad I did. If you're looking for a standalone fantasy with great world-building, lovable characters, a goat that carries the story on it's back (not even kidding), and an epic adventure than don't let this one slip past you. Aderyn, was one of the most lovable characters I've read this year. She will do anything for her family and is fueled by making sure her brother and sister are taken care of since her mother's death and father's disappearance. Her family's graveyard is struggling ever since the recent sighting of bone houses (think zombies), her rent is long overdue, and her uncle hasn't returned to pay his debts and help save Aderyn, her brother, and sister from losing their home. Yet all the while Aderyn's life is crumbling around her she's still determined to not let her siblings and her hometown struggle. With the help of a mapmaker named Ellis, they set off to find out the why the bone houses are wreaking havoc on the world and to hopefully break the curse around them once and for all. The thing I loved most about this book was how so much of it centers around love, family, grief, and moving forward. There are so many great quotes and messages throughout this story that it seriously made me tear up, which almost never happens. I felt like this was a timely fit for my life given everything that happened in the last few months and it was so comforting to read this and hear that it's okay to move on when bad things happen to us, and more importantly that our loved ones would want us to. I loved Aderyn's family dynamics, her friendship and soft romance with Ellis, and her newfound appreciation for her sister's goat who came in clutch multiple times and saved everyone's lives. I mean really, anytime an animal is going to save the day I'm obviously here for it. Favorite Quotes “Home was taste and smell and sensation. It was not a place.” “The anticipation of the loss hurts nearly as much as the loss itself. You find yourself trying to hold on to every detail, because you'll never have them again.” “It was a risk, to love someone. To do so with the full knowledge that they'd leave someday. Then let go of them, when they did.” All in all, despite feeling slumpy towards fantasy books lately I'm so happy I picked this one up. It definitely got rid of that feeling and has me excited to dive into more fantasy books this winter but also excited to check out more books by this author as well. Blog | Twitter

  13. 4 out of 5

    Hannah Greendale

    Would definitely classify this as dark fantasy, what with the rotting corpses and reanimated dead and all, yet it's strangely funny at the most unexpected times. Reads like a YA version of The Black Cauldron and features a cast of fully-realized characters, including a fierce, axe-wielding female protagonist, a gallant map maker, and a loveable goat. A gruesome delight!

  14. 4 out of 5

    Rachel Reads Ravenously

    3.5 stars The living had a tendency to make promises they could not keep. The Bone Houses was one of my most anticipated Fall 2019 books. While I didnt love it, I did enjoy it and it was the perfect book to kick off October with. The Bone Houses is a fantasy novel about Ryn, a gravedigger in a small town. When a bunch of bone houses (aka the dead) begin to rise and attack her village every night, she sets out on a quest with a map maker to save the town. I grew up thinking monsters could be 3.5 stars “The living had a tendency to make promises they could not keep.” The Bone Houses was one of my most anticipated Fall 2019 books. While I didn’t love it, I did enjoy it and it was the perfect book to kick off October with. The Bone Houses is a fantasy novel about Ryn, a gravedigger in a small town. When a bunch of bone houses (aka the dead) begin to rise and attack her village every night, she sets out on a quest with a map maker to save the town. “I grew up thinking monsters could be slain.” “And I grew up thinking people were the monsters.” There was a lot of amazing world building and imagery in this book, that’s my favorite part about it. Many parts of the book were written in such a way that I could see the landscape so clearly in my head. I liked that we had a strong female heroine and a sweet and respectful hero. The pacing was what made this a 3 star and not a 5. I had no problem putting the book down and sometimes struggled to get back into it. Otherwise, a very unique and solid story. “The dead are dead.” “But they don’t have to be.” Follow me on ♥ Facebook ♥ Blog ♥ Instagram ♥ Twitter ♥

  15. 5 out of 5

    Hollis

    It might seem obvious, or maybe not, but the overwhelming theme of THE BONE HOUSES, a story of a curse, magic, and reanimated dead, is grief. Of letting go of the past, whether that be from a loss or from a hurt or from an unknown beginning, and moving forward. Living. She knew how things died. And in her darkest moments, she feared she did not know how to live. My interpretation of the setting of this story is Wales, or a Wales-like place, because the mythology and folklore reference beings It might seem obvious, or maybe not, but the overwhelming theme of THE BONE HOUSES, a story of a curse, magic, and reanimated dead, is grief. Of letting go of the past, whether that be from a loss or from a hurt or from an unknown beginning, and moving forward. Living. She knew how things died. And in her darkest moments, she feared she did not know how to live. My interpretation of the setting of this story is Wales, or a Wales-like place, because the mythology and folklore reference beings similar to the fae, to the Tuath Dé Dannan, and also the character names feel Welsh. Once there were magical beings in the world, and magic, but a battle saw it ended and, as time passed, the legends have become stories or morality tales. But in Ryn's village, the magic isn't all gone; the dead, or bone houses, still walk the forest. Though with few people brave enough to venture into the dark, few believe that even that much magic still lingers. It isn't until years later, her father lost, her mother dead, and at seventeen, working as a gravedigger, doing all she can to keep her siblings fed and with a roof over their heads, that something has changed. The bone houses are leaving the forest. This was the problem with being a gravedigger in Colbren. Nothing stayed buried forever. When the village is attacked, Ryn teams up with a recent arrival, a mapmaker, to journey to the mountains where the legend of the cauldron of rebirth was said to be last seen. If they destroy the cauldron, maybe it'll end the bone houses and break the curse. "I'm a mapmaker." "Why aren't you spending the night in the village?" "I–I meant to." "You're lost." "I am not."" "You're a mapmaker who cannot find a village."" "I was using someone else's map." Lloyd-Jones' story is lush, magical, and eerie. Beyond the mystical, it deals with grief, pain — both emotion and physical — and family; and not just the two legged variety. For all the horror and violence of the walking dead, Ryn is careful in dealing with them, respectful, even as she's forced to fight for her life against them. She struggles with the concept of what she has to do, with how it makes her a terrible person, and though we don't suffer through endless agonies I thought enough time was spent — or maybe it was just genuine enough — to make it a good argument. Even if there was really nothing else she could do. She was a half-wild creature that loved a graveyard, the first taste of misty night air, and the heft of a shovel. There's a romance, a slowburn of one, and though you see it coming early on, it nonetheless still wows you as it unfolds. Gently, carefully, and sweetly. These characters were both very aware of themselves and each other; this felt real and believable. Infact, the whole story did. The family connections, the stillness and peace of the forest, the horror of what hides in the dark, the desperate things people will do when facing the death of a loved one.. it might have been wrapped up in the fantastical but it was all very real. Also I would die for the goat. "I grew up thinking monsters could be slain." "And I grew up thinking people were the monsters." This isn't my first read by this author (a fact I just realized while grabbing info for this review!) but it's definitely the first one that will follow me into my dreams. This one is going to stick with me for sure. And I can't wait to see what she writes next. ** I received an ARC from the publisher (thank you!) in exchange for an honest review. ** --- This review can also be found at A Take From Two Cities.

  16. 4 out of 5

    ELLIAS (elliasreads)

    Book: rising corpses and deep mystery and curses and mountains. Me: Hmmmm ok ok keep going. Book: '....standalone.' Me: FUCKING STOP! WHAT. SAY NO MORE! *adds book to TBR*

  17. 5 out of 5

    Candace Robinson

    I was confused here because the book felt middle grade for me but I guess its YA? Sometimes it felt too wordy when I just wanted it to get some action. The world building is neat, though, just wish it was a little more fast paced. I was confused here because the book felt middle grade for me but I guess it’s YA? Sometimes it felt too wordy when I just wanted it to get some action. The world building is neat, though, just wish it was a little more fast paced.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Lisa Wolf

    Before picking up The Bone Houses, my thoughts were (a) pretty cover!! and (b) yet another zombie story. Well, I was correct about the cover, but The Bone Houses is far from an ordinary book about zombies! In fact, I'd classify this more as a fantasy story than horror, because while there are dead who rise, the story is really about the magical elements and the legacy left behind by the departed fae rulers of the land. Ryn is a marvelous lead character, strong and dedicated to her family, not Before picking up The Bone Houses, my thoughts were (a) pretty cover!! and (b) yet another zombie story. Well, I was correct about the cover, but The Bone Houses is far from an ordinary book about zombies! In fact, I'd classify this more as a fantasy story than horror, because while there are dead who rise, the story is really about the magical elements and the legacy left behind by the departed fae rulers of the land. Ryn is a marvelous lead character, strong and dedicated to her family, not afraid to use her axe to defend her town and the people she loves from the dead who rise by night and come into the village. But why are the dead walking, and what do they want? These aren't your horror movie zombies -- there's no chowing down on the living, for one thing. And while Ryn initially believes that they're all on the attack, she soon learns that there's more to them then meets the eye. Once Ellis arrives, he and Ryn form a partnership to discover what's really going on and find a way to stop it. There's more to Ellis's story than is apparent at first, and as he and Ryn share their stories, both trust and deeper feelings develop between them. To love someone was to lose them. Whether it was to illness or injury or the passage of time. It was a risk, to love someone. To do so with the full knowledge that they'd leave someday. Then to let go of them, when they did. I loved this book! The magical elements are well done, and there are some ruminations on life and death and the meaning of it all that are quite lovely. Plus, lots of terrific surprises and some truly scary action moments. Highly recommended.

  19. 4 out of 5

    kath | novel + folk

    What has adventure, slooooow burn romance, Welsh folklore (I need more of it now!), chronic pain rep, and hands down the best literary goat you'll ever become acquainted with? This. Book. Oh hi, I absolutely loved this special, strange, magical little story and consumed it in it's entirety in one sitting. Emily Lloyd-Jones was a new author for me but her writing style has snagged my heart forever. Please excuse me, I must go acquire her other books immediately because, what a talent. This book What has adventure, slooooow burn romance, Welsh folklore (I need more of it now!), chronic pain rep, and hands down the best literary goat you'll ever become acquainted with? This. Book. Oh hi, I absolutely loved this special, strange, magical little story and consumed it in it's entirety in one sitting. Emily Lloyd-Jones was a new author for me but her writing style has snagged my heart forever. Please excuse me, I must go acquire her other books immediately because, what a talent. This book read like a story worn smooth by generations of retelling, with a heartbeat that wound with mine until I felt completely one with this magical forest setting and heartfelt character arcs of loss and grief and strength. Though it was a quick read, I wanted it to never end. {4.5 stars}

  20. 4 out of 5

    Cesar

    4 stars.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Namera [The Literary Invertebrate]

    ARC received in exchange for an honest review - thank you! This story is like a fairy-tale : it's fantastical, eerie, and gorgeously written. But also like a fairy-tale, the magic vanishes if you think too deeply about it. Seventeen-year-old Aderyn verch Gwyn is the eldest daughter of the gravedigger in the village of Colbren. Ever since her father disappeared into the forest one day, it's been her responsibility to put food on the table by burying Colbren's dead. She and her younger siblings - ARC received in exchange for an honest review - thank you! This story is like a fairy-tale : it's fantastical, eerie, and gorgeously written. But also like a fairy-tale, the magic vanishes if you think too deeply about it. Seventeen-year-old Aderyn verch Gwyn is the eldest daughter of the gravedigger in the village of Colbren. Ever since her father disappeared into the forest one day, it's been her responsibility to put food on the table by burying Colbren's dead. She and her younger siblings - brother Gareth and sister Ceridwen - are heavily in debt to Lord Eymon and risk eviction at any moment. After years of digging graves, Ryn had little fear of death. Death was quiet and stillness. It was fresh earth and wildflowers. It was coin in her purse and a hole in the ground. The problem is that enough people just aren't dying. And even the ones who do die prefer cremation over burial, in order to avoid coming back as a bone house. The bone houses are basically zombies, walking skeletons, and if you wander into the forest next to Colbren you risk running into them. An eighteen-year-old mapmaker named Ellis discovers this the hard way: trying to spend the night in the forest, he's narrowly saved from being carried off by the bone houses when Ryn bursts into his life and destroys the skeletons. Luckily for them, bone houses aren't able to go beyond the forest's edges. Until suddenly, they are - bone houses attack Colbren, leaving destruction in their wake. Ryn and Ellis soon strike a deal. Ryn needs coin, and Ellis (who's somehow mysteriously connected to the prince's castle at Caer Aberhen) has plenty of it. He'll give it to her if she can take him into the forest, deeper than anyone dares to go, and through to the mountains of Annwvyl on the other side. The land there used to be the domain of Arawn Otherking, lord of the fae; though he's long gone, Ellis is determined to map the area to win fame and glory. Ryn also wants to find a way to destroy the bone houses, so she's more than happy to follow him into the land of Arawn. What follows is a lushly described tale heavily based on Welsh mythology. Now, while I don't know much about Welsh mythology, I LOVED how atmospheric it made the novel. There's an old Celtic saying I read once - long is the day, and long is the night, and long is the waiting of Arawn. I don't precisely know what it means, but it sounds beautiful, and it's always hovered at the back of my mind. This novel was like that: hauntingly beautiful, but not much is explained. So if you try to actually dissect it, it stops being enjoyable. I'm talking about all the questions you're left with at the end of the book. I can't actually articulate them because of spoilers, but be aware that The Bone Houses doesn't try very hard to explain most of what happens. You really do just have to think of it as a fairy-tale. Like, the village of Colbren seems to exist mostly in a void; there are no mentions of any other places except Caer Aberhen, let alone other countries in this fantasy world. Considering she encountered bone houses in the forest literally every day, I also found it weird that Ryn couldn't make any other villagers believe her about their existence until they attacked. Nor do we get much knowledge of what the main characters look like until well over halfway through the story. But the writing helped me forget any deficiencies the book had. It's evocative without being purple or flowery, and the descriptions of the forest in particular are BRILLIANT. There's also a near-drowning scene which is described so well that I actually felt like I was in the water myself. The romance is also lovely. It's extremely, extremely slow-burn: nothing happens until 85% of the way through, and even then it's more the hint of romance than anything else. But that was perfect. We get to see pages and pages of build-up as Ryn and Ellis, two very lonely people, learn how to trust and be attracted to each other's strength. OVERALL Beautiful prose and the kind of story perfect for autumn nights, but don't look too deep. [Blog] - [Bookstagram]

  22. 4 out of 5

    Maryam🌻

    The forest did not scare her; rather, she wanted to be like it: ageless and impervious, cruel and beautiful. Death could not touch it. A graveyard. A gravedigger. Zombies. A curse. A magical land. What more could you want? Im so glad I read this in this particular month and weather because it is the perfect mix of spooky and fall-y. This was the problem with being a gravedigger in Colbren. Nothing stayed buried forever. SETTING: The book was set in a small village called Colbren that is placed at the ”The forest did not scare her; rather, she wanted to be like it: ageless and impervious, cruel and beautiful. Death could not touch it.” A graveyard. A gravedigger. Zombies. A curse. A magical land. What more could you want? I’m so glad I read this in this particular month and weather because it is the perfect mix of spooky and fall-y. “This was the problem with being a gravedigger in Colbren. Nothing stayed buried forever.” SETTING: The book was set in a small village called Colbren that is placed at the ends of a haunted and cursed forest and land that was home to the fae folk in the past. I think I’ve come to love books set in forests especially at this time of the year because of the autumn setting: fallen, golden leaves, chilling winds, haunted land..it was so atmospheric and makes you feel as if it’s out of a fairytale. CHARACTERS: What I loved most about this book are Ryn and Ellis (and Ryn’s family). They were such strong characters with such distinct traits and characteristics. Ryn is a gravedigger. She is fierce, stubborn, brave, ferocious and very loyal and I loved her so much. Very rare to read about a YA character that didn’t annoy me lol. As for Ellis, he is a mapmaker. He’s kind and good and so sweet and ugh I just wanted to hug him all the time! I loved Ryn’s sister and brother as well. ”I grew up thinking monsters could be slain.” “Ah,” he said. “And I grew up thinking people were the monsters.” As for the romance, it was practically non-existent until the very end which made it very well executed and not shoved in your face. They did not love each other before they even spoke. Ryn did not spend her time swooning about Ellis nor did he. It did not take or give anything to the story. It was subtle and sweet and exactly right. THE BONE HOUSES: I found the idea of the dead rising from their graves and becoming killer zombies totally epic. It gave the story a creepy edge; made your heart beat faster and your palms to sweat. Such a rare concept and it was done so well. ”She was a gravedigger. She would bury her fear.” WHY DIDN’T I GIVE THIS 5 STARS? As much as I loved the setting and the characters and the concept, the plot dragged. It was a slow read and at times repetitive and a little boring. Nothing happened for like 70% of the book which I majorly didn’t mind but it made it hard for the book to come to an end. Also there was some kind of mystery about one of the characters that I figured out almost instantly so I wasn’t really surprised when they found out the truth🙈 All in all, totally recommend this book. It should be read THIS month and at this time. Trust me. EDIT: I changed the rating from 3 to 4 stars because I found myself sometimes thinking about how good this book was and the characters👌🏻so i thought it deserves more recognition.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Rebecca McNutt

    The Bone Houses is one of the best fantasy novels I've read in a long time. It has all the depth and humanity of The Last Unicorn, all the wit and friendship of The Black Cauldron, and an atmosphere which comes alive with creepiness and horror, in a good way. Ryn is a gravedigger in a world where the dead don't stay dead. She has a strikingly calm yet respectful attitude about it, but still she worries about the trouble it will cause her as a gravedigger, as well as the attitude about it with The Bone Houses is one of the best fantasy novels I've read in a long time. It has all the depth and humanity of The Last Unicorn, all the wit and friendship of The Black Cauldron, and an atmosphere which comes alive with creepiness and horror, in a good way. Ryn is a gravedigger in a world where the dead don't stay dead. She has a strikingly calm yet respectful attitude about it, but still she worries about the trouble it will cause her as a gravedigger, as well as the attitude about it with the locals. After saving the life of a mysterious boy named Ellis (a mapmaker whose past is pretty much a blank slate, or so it seems), the two of them go off to find out what is causing the problems... and what they find is completely unexpected. I won't spoil the ending of the book, but it takes a completely different turn and I really loved it. There's something hauntingly tragic but still beautiful about it. Lloyd-Jones's writing makes the grim world she crafts come to life with unexpected beauty of its own, something ordinarily absent from stories of graves and walking ghouls. I loved the characters, and how lifelike and deep they are written. The Bone Houses is an amazing story, combining the atmosphere of horror with the magic and joy of fantasy.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Cortney LaScola - The Bookworm Myrtle Beach

    I got The Bone Houses through Owlcrate, and I was not disappointed! I liked the story, the folklore, and the characters.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Mlpmom (Book Reviewer)

    I had zero expectations going into this one and was pleasantly surprised by it. In fact, I had so much fun with this. It was unique and original and I loved the darker side to it as well as the strong family bonds and of course, the magical aspect of it was, well, magical.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Angela Staudt

    The forest did not scare her; rather, she wanted to be like it: ageless and impervious, cruel and beautiful. Death could not touch it. What a beautiful story about the dead, family, and love. I loved the lush magic, and the eeriness as well. I honestly didnt know much going into this book, but it turned out to be such a great read. I cared for the characters quite a lot and shed quite a few tears towards the end. Reading a book about bone houses (zombies basically), I just thought it would be a “The forest did not scare her; rather, she wanted to be like it: ageless and impervious, cruel and beautiful. Death could not touch it.” What a beautiful story about the dead, family, and love. I loved the lush magic, and the eeriness as well. I honestly didn’t know much going into this book, but it turned out to be such a great read. I cared for the characters quite a lot and shed quite a few tears towards the end. Reading a book about bone houses (zombies basically), I just thought it would be a fast-paced read, but I was so very wrong. I loved the main character Ryn and how she was so strong for her family. This book surprisingly had me laughing at the witty humor one moment and crying because of the grief that Ryn carries with her. I loved and enjoyed her interactions with her brother and sister as well as the town folk, and Ellis the mysterious map maker who comes to their little town called Colbren. “I grew up thinking monsters could be slain.” “Ah,” he said. “And I grew up thinking people were the monsters.” I actually became really attached to the undead and by the end I was torn because I know the bone houses are not supposed to be, but I couldn’t help feel bad for them. I loved the slow burn romance that took place as well between Ryn and Ellis and it was such a small part of the story, but I feel like that made it so much more powerful. I really enjoyed the journey they went on and how they dealt with their pain and grief. This is one of those books that is going to stick with me for a while because of the message and just how beautifully it was told. I am so glad this came in my September Owlcrate box, it was the perfect book to start my October Spooky Reads.

  27. 4 out of 5

    ✨Brithanie Faith✨

    4/5 stars ⭐⭐⭐⭐ e-ARC provided by NetGalley and Little, Brown Books For Young Readers in exchange for an honest review! The Bone Houses by Emily Lloyd-Jones follows a gravedigger- and an apprentice mapmaker who embark on a journey to defeat a decades-old curse that causes the dead (or in this case "bone houses") to rise- and for some unknown reason-attack with an all new ferocity that comes seemingly out of nowhere. Full transparency- I got sucked in by the "Buffy The Vampire Slayer meets Sky In 4/5 stars ⭐⭐⭐⭐ e-ARC provided by NetGalley and Little, Brown Books For Young Readers in exchange for an honest review! The Bone Houses by Emily Lloyd-Jones follows a gravedigger- and an apprentice mapmaker who embark on a journey to defeat a decades-old curse that causes the dead (or in this case "bone houses") to rise- and for some unknown reason-attack with an all new ferocity that comes seemingly out of nowhere. Full transparency- I got sucked in by the "Buffy The Vampire Slayer meets Sky In The Deep", and the "Perfect for fans of Holly Black and V.E. Schwab", but OMG (OH MY GOAT😉) am I glad that I did- because this was fantastic! I fell head over heels in love with these characters, and the story itself felt like an original fairy-tale that was not unlike something you'd expect from the Grimm brothers themselves. The expected publication for this book is the 24th of September, 2019! You'll not want to miss this once it hits the shelves!

  28. 4 out of 5

    Kat | Rustic Pages

    This book was such a fun twist on the usual zombie story! The zombies, or Bone Houses, come alive because of a curse that has been put on a nearby forest. Anyone who is buried there comes back to life at night, so the dead are a mix of both recent, traditional zombies and completely decomposed skeletons. In short, the two main character's goal is to stop this curse from happening because the dead are now wondering outside of the forest and into town, endangering the lives of their loved ones. This book was such a fun twist on the usual zombie story! The zombies, or Bone Houses, come alive because of a curse that has been put on a nearby forest. Anyone who is buried there comes back to life at night, so the dead are a mix of both recent, traditional zombies and completely decomposed skeletons. In short, the two main character's goal is to stop this curse from happening because the dead are now wondering outside of the forest and into town, endangering the lives of their loved ones. Let me emphasize for those of you who fear they are stepping into a horror; this is truly not the case. Though there is suspense, the focus is more on the myths, legends and fantasy side of the story, not on blood and gore. You will see other reviewers mention that it is closer to a fairytale and I would absolutely agree. I also loved the incorporation of Welsh folklore and this story inspired me to further study it once closing the book. As I mentioned before, this was a really unique take and though I wish I felt a little more connected to the characters, I still very much enjoyed the story! Find me on Booktube! youtube.com/c/rusticpages

  29. 5 out of 5

    MaryannC. Book Freak

    4.5 Stars. I have to say that this type of Fantasy read is not usually something I pick up, but when I start noticing great reviews from others I will gladly step out of my comfort zone and give it a try and I was very glad that I did. This was a fantastic read with a very interesting storyline something I liken to Night of the Living Dead meets the Middle Ages with an axe-wielding heroine named Ryn, who really reminded me of the brave, fearless character Rey and her light saber from Star Wars: 4.5 Stars. I have to say that this type of Fantasy read is not usually something I pick up, but when I start noticing great reviews from others I will gladly step out of my comfort zone and give it a try and I was very glad that I did. This was a fantastic read with a very interesting storyline something I liken to Night of the Living Dead meets the Middle Ages with an axe-wielding heroine named Ryn, who really reminded me of the brave, fearless character Rey and her light saber from Star Wars: The Force Awakens. Ryn, and her siblings are gravediggers, a job she proudly performs because of her quiet respect for the dead and when her father taking on a job for the evil landowner in the nearby mines disappears, she becomes the caregiver to her siblings Ceridwen and Gareth. When the dead begin to rise, aptly named The Bone Houses ( violently attack) on the edges of their land bordering the forest, Ryn, together with a young man named Ellis and goat (who was my favourite) set on a journey to find the enchanted, magical land of Castell Sidi and along the way, hoping to find out what happened to her father and stopping the curse that propels the dead to rise. Filled with action and adventure again, this is not my usual type of read, but I was enthralled with the vivid descriptions of this story and I could see it playing out before me, leaving me awed. Recommended to those who like a really good Fantasy read.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Mena

    I did not expect to enjoy this book as much as I did. It was a simple, yet beautiful and elegant tale of well, love. "It was a risk to love someone. To do so with the full knowledge that they'd leave someday." But we do it anyways. Concept/Setting/Plot The village of Colbren is situated at the edge of a mythical forest, that was once home to the magical beings simply known as the Otherkind. Now the dead, known as bone houses rise every night in the forest. But they do not bother the village as I did not expect to enjoy this book as much as I did. It was a simple, yet beautiful and elegant tale of well, love. "It was a risk to love someone. To do so with the full knowledge that they'd leave someday." But we do it anyways. Concept/Setting/Plot The village of Colbren is situated at the edge of a mythical forest, that was once home to the magical beings simply known as the Otherkind. Now the dead, known as bone houses rise every night in the forest. But they do not bother the village as they are seemingly confined to the forest...until they aren't. The bone houses decide to say hi to their neighbors and bring along with them, death and destruction. We have a mapmaker, Ellis who is visiting from the city in the hopes of mapping the area and perhaps finding the answers to his past, and Ryn, the grave digger who decides she's had enough and seeks an end to the curse of the bone houses for the sake of her family and perhaps find her father. Together they venture into the mountainous woods to fulfill their tasks. Characters I quite liked the two leads. Ellis is "...good and kind..." and Ryn is the girl that carries an axe and can take on anything because she's strong, loyal and willful. Kind of like the bone goat, when I think about it like that. It was a flip to the whole 'strong, brash guy - speshul snowflake girl' trope, but it was done pretty well. So, Ellis played the damsel in distress a couple times, so what? The story is simple enough, yet with a depth I did not expect until it hit me. A few parts where predictable such as Ellis's true identity, but that did not take away from my enjoyment of the story

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