{ARC} Review: The Bone Houses by Emily Lloyd Jones

The Bone Houses

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 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.

Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers

Publication Date: September 24th 2019 

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Death, Abandonment, Grief, Depictions of Rotting Corpses, Blood, Gore, Animal Death

Listen: don’t ask me why I took so long to get to this book. I won’t be able to answer you. But I am putting this out into the universe- Emily Lloyd-Jones has made it to my favorites list. I will not be taking any questions at this time.

This book isn’t exactly my thing… yet it is at the same time. I’m not really a spooky kind of reader, but I guess bones and death are buzzwords that’ll get me reading and they haven’t disappointed yet.

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I can’t really explain it, everything here just worked. From the dialogue and writing being soaked in dry humor; it was my kind of writing. Which in turn led to me  speeding through this. And I wasn’t expecting that don’t ask me why ? The pacing was perfect, the writing was seamless, it just all worked for this story.

And though the plot is very much so a driving part in my love for this book: Welsh folklore and zombie-ish creatures closing in on our main characters town and she has to find a way to stop them- I do think this is a character focused story.

❥  Ryn – Our Gryffindor gravedigging main character who is still grieving over her father going missing and just wants to protect her family while axing down bone houses. Honestly, from Ryn’s first introduction, I already loved her. She looked death in the eyes and didn’t cower, but said teach me while being unapologetically herself and never apologizing for who she is.

❥  Ellis – Our mysterious, Hufflepuff map-maker who doesn’t let his chronic pain define or stop him from doing what he loves, while also trying to find out information about his past.

❥  The Goat – I didn’t think I’d get the hype over the goat…and honestly I didn’t know what to expect from said goat… but damn it we love the stubborn, loyal goat.

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The character dynamic weaved together kind of effortlessly– both are paired with loneliness and grief; add that with their quirks and they were relationship goals. I obviously loved them together, because not only were they great as a unit, they were great apart. Even when they were in a pickle, they just had to be a smart ass to each other and that’s always the best relationship trope don’t @ me.

Yet, the sibling relationships may have grabbed onto my heart a bit more. Ryn and her siblings may have made me emotional- it showed their loving relationship still had resentment and unwavering support mixed together and that was the most realistic, relatable thing I’ve read in a while- you can still love someone and begrudge them, even if it is a self-projection of what you’re feeling from yourself.

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I was getting a bit nervous towards the end, I was a third through and didn’t know how things would pan out… but I’m a dummy for doubting leave me alone.

This was just such a satisfying read, though the book kind of broke my heart… and I shouldn’t be surprised, this is about death, but it’s more than that. It’s learning to let go and accept death for what it is. To live for yourself and for the now. And again, Jones doesn’t disappoint.

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