The Bone Houses
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.

The Bone Houses Details

TitleThe Bone Houses
Author
ReleaseSep 24th, 2019
PublisherLittle, Brown Books for Young Readers
ISBN-139780316418416
Rating
GenreFantasy, Horror, Young Adult, Historical, Historical Fiction

The Bone Houses Review

  • Emily Lloyd-Jones
    January 1, 1970
    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.
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  • ELLIAS (elliasreads)
    January 1, 1970
    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*
  • Namera [The Literary Invertebrate]
    January 1, 1970
    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]
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  • ✨Brithanie Faith✨
    January 1, 1970
    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!
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  • Tara ☽
    January 1, 1970
    Hello I just want to spend the rest of my days reading books about necromancy is that too much to ask
  • Candace Robinson
    January 1, 1970
    ARC received via publisher!
  • Cassady Clifton
    January 1, 1970
    Rated it a 5 because someone gave it 2 stars when it's not even out yet... will update once I've actually gotten to read it!
  • Sarah Henning
    January 1, 1970
    Centered around a truly epic journey, with a satisfying ending and slow-burn love story complicated by the walking dead, THE BONE HOUSES is a horror-drenched fairytale. Emily Lloyd-Jones spins wit, longing, and loss into something just as magical as the creatures that haunt the night in Ryn and Ellis’s world, and the result is a careful, beautiful examination on the impression love leaves behind.
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  • Anna Bright
    January 1, 1970
    REVIEW TO COME, MY LOVELIES. what a delight.
  • Pooja
    January 1, 1970
    Haven't read it yet, but the book bizarrely only has a 2 star rating despite not being out yet.
  • Billie
    January 1, 1970
    Between Kill the Farm Boy and this, I'm kind of oddly obsessed with goats in books going on adventures/quests right now. Please, authors, more adventure goats.Although this book has the trappings of horror/dark fantasy, it is really a book about family. Protecting her siblings and finding out what happened to her father is what motivates Ryn. There's an encampment of people who have chosen to live in exile in order to spend more time with their loved ones. Even the magic that created the bone ho Between Kill the Farm Boy and this, I'm kind of oddly obsessed with goats in books going on adventures/quests right now. Please, authors, more adventure goats.Although this book has the trappings of horror/dark fantasy, it is really a book about family. Protecting her siblings and finding out what happened to her father is what motivates Ryn. There's an encampment of people who have chosen to live in exile in order to spend more time with their loved ones. Even the magic that created the bone houses (re-animated corpses, but not like the typical zombie) is rooted in familial love. There are still enough chills and moments of danger to satisfy lovers of horror and dark fantasy, but there's also a lot more humor and especially heart than what a simple plot synopsis can convey.
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  • Kalie
    January 1, 1970
    What happens when a gravedigger, a mapmaker, and a very clingy goat embark on a quest together? To tell you the truth, I had no idea what I expected when I first sat down to read this. But I saw “horror quest in medieval Wales”, “folk tales”, and “written by Emily Lloyd-Jones” and my heart seized for a moment. I needed no further prompting. It became an immediate MUST READ. I’m lucky, then, that I had the chance to read a manuscript of THE BONE HOUSES early so I can spend the next year before pu What happens when a gravedigger, a mapmaker, and a very clingy goat embark on a quest together? To tell you the truth, I had no idea what I expected when I first sat down to read this. But I saw “horror quest in medieval Wales”, “folk tales”, and “written by Emily Lloyd-Jones” and my heart seized for a moment. I needed no further prompting. It became an immediate MUST READ. I’m lucky, then, that I had the chance to read a manuscript of THE BONE HOUSES early so I can spend the next year before publication not-so-gently yelling at people to prepare for this.I don’t want to say much as it doesn’t even have a finalized cover or synopsis yet, but I will say this in an official bookseller capacity: THE BONE HOUSES is a story that creeps up on you in the best way. It’s an atmospheric, utterly enthralling tale about life after death that mixes thoughtful characterization with whimsy, horror, and a dash of magic. Emily Lloyd-Jones instantly transports you from page one to a northern Wales of old where the dead rise and legends may turn out to be histories after all. It pulled me - and every bone I possess - in from the start and never let me go.
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  • Tyler Hixson
    January 1, 1970
    Ryn is a gravedigger, and a struggling one at that. After her father's disappearance and her mother's death, Ryn makes ends meet for her and her siblings by grave-digging in Colbren, the village in which they live that sits at the base of a formidable mountain range that used to house a fae king. But there's a problem: the dead don't always stay dead, and it's hard to convince people to bury their loved ones when there's a chance that they'll come back as bone houses. And there's debts that need Ryn is a gravedigger, and a struggling one at that. After her father's disappearance and her mother's death, Ryn makes ends meet for her and her siblings by grave-digging in Colbren, the village in which they live that sits at the base of a formidable mountain range that used to house a fae king. But there's a problem: the dead don't always stay dead, and it's hard to convince people to bury their loved ones when there's a chance that they'll come back as bone houses. And there's debts that need to be paid.Ellis is a mapmaker, and a mysterious one at that. He has no last name, and no past that he can remember besides being brought to the royal fortress as a child and being raised as...well, not quite a noble, but close enough. He has mapmaking reasons for travelling to Colbren—it lies on the remotest edges of the kingdom and is largely unmapped, especially the uncharted mountain range that lies beyond the town—but he has other, secret reasons as well. When Ellis arrives in Colbren, the bone houses suddenly attack with renewed ferocity, which drives Ryn and Ellis into the mountains to discover the source of the magic that causes people to rise from the dead. All they're armed with is an old folktale about how the bone houses came to be, an axe, a broken spoon, and a goat. PROS: Folklore-based necromancy story. Awesome. Necromancy seems to be on the rise in YA lit, and I'm all for it.A emotional plot based on loss, familial love, how hard it can be to let someone go and move on.The most badass goat in all of literature.Vaguely Scottish. Had no bearing on the plot but I dug it.Dope cover. Intriguing characters. Ryn is this formidable, grave-digging seventeen-year old, who carries a lot of loss on her shoulders so her family doesn't have to. She's constantly grieving for her parents, one of whom disappeared, so she's saddled with the not-knowing, and in a world where the dead don't stay dead, where her dad could possibly show up on her doorstep as a zombie, that is worse. Ellis is quieter and gentler, but no less formidable. He's got this quiet intensity and confidence that he only shows when he needs to. And he also carries the loss of his family, a family he never knew. Abandoned and raised in a world that he wasn't meant to grow up in. Always wondering where his family is, if they're alive, why they abandoned him. All of this could have hardened him into an unlikable character, but he is kind, gentle, and honest. Two of my favorite YA characters in recent memory; their banter throughout the journey is great. CONS: I'm not crazy about the name "bone houses" but it's hard to put a spin on the zombie genre and I'm glad that Emily Lloyd-Jones found a way to do so, so this is nitpicky.The plot gets a little repetitive on reflection—something happens followed by bone house encounter—but I was so into this that I didn't care.It's also fairly predictable, but again, I was so into the story that I didn't care. All in all, an intriguing, exciting necromancy fairy tale that deals with emotionally charged issues like loss and moving on from the death of a family member. Highly recommended.*Thank you to Little, Brown for sending me an ARC!*
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  • Kilikina
    January 1, 1970
    I need this IMMEDIATELY
  • Ardent
    January 1, 1970
    LOVED IT, start to finish. There were definitely some tears shed at the end.
  • Amber (The Book Bratz)
    January 1, 1970
    In desperate need of this book 😅🥺
  • Sami
    January 1, 1970
    Resilient Ren is her village's gravedigger, caring for the dead and fighting the living dead, known as bone houses, that come out of the forest near her home. When she encounters aspiring mapmaker Ellis, they band together on a journey to defy the powers that be and end the curse of the bone house to save her village (and possibly the country). Throw excellent world-building, action-packed prose, and incredible representation for chronic pain into a cauldron, and you'll get The Bone Houses, a ma Resilient Ren is her village's gravedigger, caring for the dead and fighting the living dead, known as bone houses, that come out of the forest near her home. When she encounters aspiring mapmaker Ellis, they band together on a journey to defy the powers that be and end the curse of the bone house to save her village (and possibly the country). Throw excellent world-building, action-packed prose, and incredible representation for chronic pain into a cauldron, and you'll get The Bone Houses, a masterclass on the epic journey archetype with plenty of surprises in store.
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  • Sana
    January 1, 1970
    Emily Lloyd-Jones writing a historical horror-fairy tale, damn I am so there like this has a small-town setting in Wales and a main character with chronic painAlso, I have read The Hearts We Sold, reading this is the only logical next step
  • Kate
    January 1, 1970
    ARC received at YallWest Book Festival in Santa Monica, CA.Okay, quite simply this book is great. There is a delightful creepiness to the bones houses, & the story is tightly woven, leaving hardly loose ends or random plot threads (there was a minor one in the village Ryn & Ellis discover at the beginning of their journey, but truthfully that is more based on my own interest rather than a necessity to the story). It did end pretty quickly, but honestly, it works for this story. It’s a lo ARC received at YallWest Book Festival in Santa Monica, CA.Okay, quite simply this book is great. There is a delightful creepiness to the bones houses, & the story is tightly woven, leaving hardly loose ends or random plot threads (there was a minor one in the village Ryn & Ellis discover at the beginning of their journey, but truthfully that is more based on my own interest rather than a necessity to the story). It did end pretty quickly, but honestly, it works for this story. It’s a lovely standalone story, with fun characters & a great concept. The bone houses remind me a bit of the cursed pirates from Pirates of the Caribbean, & I think the goat is adorably hilarious. It doesn’t officially release until September, but I highly recommend it. :)
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  • A.R. Hellbender
    January 1, 1970
    The only thing I liked about this book is the world building (even the curse words were unique to the setting, rather than the same ones we hear irl).Aside from that, this book was just ok. The characters were extremely bland, and a lot of the dialogue felt so forced, because it was trying to lead to certain statements for dramatic effect. Overall, the ideas in this were great, but the story itself was a bit disappointing.
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  • Maegan
    January 1, 1970
    Arc provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review. Thank you. A gravedigger, a mapmaker, and a goat set out on a quest to find the truth about the living dead, where they will have to face forgotten magic and the buried truths about themselves. This story was so incredibly good! It reads just like a fairy-tale that is not unlike a Grimms Brothers tale. It was eerie and haunted, and twisted, but still had the magic a traditional fairy-tale would have. This book is written so beautif Arc provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review. Thank you. A gravedigger, a mapmaker, and a goat set out on a quest to find the truth about the living dead, where they will have to face forgotten magic and the buried truths about themselves. This story was so incredibly good! It reads just like a fairy-tale that is not unlike a Grimms Brothers tale. It was eerie and haunted, and twisted, but still had the magic a traditional fairy-tale would have. This book is written so beautifully, almost like prose, and I loved every minute of it. The characters were amazing and were developed very well. Ryn, the gravedigger, lives with her younger brother and sister in the village of Colbren. Her character was great! She was fierce and brave, but also stubborn and big-hearted. Ellis, the mapmaker, struggles to find his way across the country, where he stumbles upon the town of Colbren. He can never find his way, but is still such a gentleman, and is so sweet and innocent. The Bone Houses were creepy and had a zombie-esque to them. Even they were given a great backstory, and I was surprised to see their development throughout the story. And finally, my favourite character of the whole story: Goat. Goat is Ryn’s younger sister’s pet and is loving to her family and protects them at every chance. She embarks on the quest with Ryn and Ellis and helps them learn along the way. The romance was fantastic. There was so much action that in the first bit of the story, romance wasn’t needed, but there was still a bit of slow-burn romance. Nothing happened until about 85% of the way through the book, but when it did happen, I was here for it! Overall, this story is written beautifully, and I wish there was more to the story! I can’t wait to get my hands on a finished copy come September!
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  • Lea
    January 1, 1970
    Ok so this book in one sentence (no spoilers): dead people coming back to life and a girl trying to stop it. I read this book in one sitting! I never do that! But I opened this one and just couldn’t stop until I was done. There are so many mysteries and unanswered questions and the book constantly gives a little bit of information that sparks more questions so that I just had to keep going. I usually don’t really like romance in the books I am reading because a lot of the times it feels forced a Ok so this book in one sentence (no spoilers): dead people coming back to life and a girl trying to stop it. I read this book in one sitting! I never do that! But I opened this one and just couldn’t stop until I was done. There are so many mysteries and unanswered questions and the book constantly gives a little bit of information that sparks more questions so that I just had to keep going. I usually don’t really like romance in the books I am reading because a lot of the times it feels forced and that it is just there because the author thinks it has to be. But in this book, I really like the romance. I liked both of the characters individually and I liked their dynamic together. And I also appreciate the boy being the one who has to get rescued a lot instead of the girl for once. That was so refreshing lol.But the main focus is definitely family and what these characters are willing to do for the people they love. I have to admit. I saw the twist way too late. I should have seen it sooner but I didn’t and it annoys me so much! The only reason I’m not giving this 5 stars is that I think the horror aspect could have been bigger. There was a lot of potential for reeeeaaally creepy scenes that didn't end up being very creepy. Thank you Netgalley for this arc! I can’t wait to buy the hardcover copy so I can put it on my shelf
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  • Jennifer
    January 1, 1970
    This was a beautiful story that reads like an enchanting dark fairytale of sorts. It feels like I've just finished hearing of a legend passed down through generations filled with magic & some light mayhem. The characters are all lovely and a certain stubborn goat had me laughing the whole time. The unraveling of the story as the book progresses, ensnared me more and more and I grew attached to both our Gravedigger & Mapmaker as they leaned on one another, growing closer (a definite slow This was a beautiful story that reads like an enchanting dark fairytale of sorts. It feels like I've just finished hearing of a legend passed down through generations filled with magic & some light mayhem. The characters are all lovely and a certain stubborn goat had me laughing the whole time. The unraveling of the story as the book progresses, ensnared me more and more and I grew attached to both our Gravedigger & Mapmaker as they leaned on one another, growing closer (a definite slow burn romance simmering beneath the events these two go through), fighting bone houses and getting thrown into some dire circumstances along their way. Although it seems to have a darker premise, it's actually steeped in familial love and loyalty. I really loved the bone houses themselves and the story behind them and their creation.In the end we're left with this sense of contentment with how the events have turned out. And how we leave these characters. It may not be a high fantasy story, but it certainly sneaks beneath your skin and leaves you buzzing with serene laced warmth! Definitely keep your eyes out for this one! And be sure to add it to your list to read!
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  • Ellen
    January 1, 1970
    Zombies and dark magic and forests, oh my! This book was right up my alley. It kept me guessing until the last few pages. I loved it!
  • Marie Raymond
    January 1, 1970
    A quick read only because I couldn’t put it down! I
  • Wendy
    January 1, 1970
    I got this book as an advanced reader copy at Yallwest. The book is excellent, with great characters and plot.
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