Review: The Bone Houses

Review: The Bone Houses

Title: The Bone Houses
Author: Emily Lloyd-Jones


An instant IndieBound bestseller!

Buffy the Vampire Slayer meets Sky in the Deep in this bewitching, historical horror novel, perfect for fans of Holly Black and V.E. Schwab.

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 into the heart of the mountains, where they will have to face both the curse and the deeply-buried truths about themselves. Equal parts classic horror novel and original fairytale, The Bone Houses will have you spellbound from the very first page.


Honestly, this book had me at the mention of V.E. Schwab and Holly Black in the blurb – two of my all-time favorite authors. With a bar set that high, I dove right in, and let me tell you, this book didn’t disappoint!

From the beginning, the story sucks you right in. A lot of the background we’re given comes in the form of a fairy tale with an spooky feel to it, and that just sets the tone for the entire book. I thought that having parts of the story told in that fairy tale style would be jarring or boring, but it had the opposite effect. It made for a very immersive way for the author to set the scene, and I quickly found myself getting attached to the characters and the world.

Aderyn is a fantastic protagonist – capable and independent, but flawed and a bit insecure. She’s one of my favorite heroines I’ve read this year, and possibly ever. A lot of the times with these kinds of fantasies, it’s easy to fall into the trap of being annoyed by the main characters (has happened to me more than once) but Ryn is the type of protagonist you can’t help but cheer on, despite some questionable decisions. And just as likeable as Ryn is the second main character, Ellis. With his own set of flaws and insecurities, he’s just as fully fleshed out as Ryn. Both their stories intertwine in a way that’s unexpected, and they manage to work together in a way that at no point comes across as either of them being helpless/completely dependent on each other. That’s a difficult balance to strike when one characters is much more physically capable than the other.

Their adventure was a really fun read, and I found myself wanting to stop if only to make the story last longer. It was exactly the kind of story I love to read, and probably one I’ll go back to – something that doesn’t happen often at all. If you love a good, spooky fairy tale, give this one a shot!

Rating: 5/5

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