Book Review: The Bone Houses

Title: The Bone Houses
Author: Emily Lloyd-Jones
My rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐
Genre/s: Young Adult, Horror, Historical Fantasy
Goodreads synopsis:

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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I received The Bone Houses as one of the featured books in OwlCrate’s Fear the Night box. I’ve heard nothing but good things about it and I was so excited to dive in! It was the perfect book to read just in time for Halloween and just in time to end the spooky season!

The Bone Houses is one gripping story filled with adventure, magic, horror, mystery, and the beautiful yet heartbreaking telling of death and grief. Safe to say, I adored reading this book!

Gripping writing

I loved the writing style of the author in this book! It was mysterious, fast-paced, thrilling, and melancholic as well. As a result, it was gripping and I just couldn’t help getting sucked in to the story. There were parts where I held my breath and gasped, parts where my heart ached and I teared up a little, parts where I was just so excited and bewildered. It was a nice roller coaster of emotions, and for me, the author did it brilliantly.

I also specifically loved how the author told little stories and flashbacks within the book. It was atmospheric, and I was left thinking that the storytelling was ace.

Flawed yet awesome characters

Here’s a confession: I immediately liked the main character, Ryn! She was fierce and stubborn, and had so much love and determination for her family. And yet, just when I thought I finally knew and understood her character, I uncovered more things about her.

I adored Ellis as well. He was strange and uncertain about a lot of things but I warmed up to him as well. There was a lot of mystery and struggle surrounding his character, and it was nice to see him go on a journey and discover the truth. (And to be honest, I had my suspicions about him and I was right!)

The minor characters were also great, but I’m gonna be honest and say that the goat was my absolute favorite. (Yep. The goat. You’ll know what I mean when you read this book!)

Fast-paced and mysterious plot

I loved how the plot was fast-paced and intriguing. Every chapter there was new detail to be found, a new secret to be discovered, a new flashback to be seen, a new plot twist to be unveiled. It felt like I really was in the adventure together with the main characters and at the end, I loved going in this journey with them—from the village of Colbren, to the forest, to the mountains, the mines, and more.

Some plot twists I already anticipated, but there were more that managed to shock me and kept me guessing on how the story will end.

Nice world-building

The Bone Houses also had a nice world-building. It had elements of Welsh mythology (which according to the author was the inspiration of this book), and it was great! The author incorporated these Welsh myths and for me, that just made the story more fantastical.

Quotes from the book

She was a half-wild creature that loved a graveyard, the first taste of misty night air, and the heft of a shovel.
She knew how things died.
And in her darkest moments, she feared she did not know how to live.

“The dead deserve something,” she said, trying to explain in a way a layman might understand. “A remembrance, a marker, a place to rest. Death should be peaceful—the dead have earned that much.

Beautiful things were often poisonous or useless…

“Losing people is what I fear. The uncertainty and the… not knowing.”

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.

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This was such a great read! Definitely a good book if you’re up for some spooky, adventurous vibes. 4 stars!

How about the others, have you read this book? What did you think of it? Comment down below!

3 thoughts on “Book Review: The Bone Houses

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