5 out of 5 for The Bone Houses by 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.
The Bone Houses is the perfect book for this time of year. It’s creepy with exciting action and a great atmosphere. Lloyd-Jones writes particularly creepy descriptions of time spent in a mine and a lake battle. No spoilers but I was completely enthralled during those moments.
Ryn and Ellis are great characters. They begin as partners in an adventure and move into friendship as their hair-raising adventures bring them closer. Ryn is a strong female lead, who has taken it on her shoulders to protect her family and, to an extent, her town. She’s smart and ready to fight, so naturally I love her. Ellis is plagued by an old injury, so he isn’t a physically strong male lead. He is, however, incredibly determined, smart, and kind. He pushes himself when he needs to to protect someone, but otherwise he accepts and embraces his limits rather than being angry about them.
The plot is intricate without having too many moving parts. Ryn and Ellis aren’t sure where legend ends and truth begins, but they push forward to try to solve the problem anyway. There are some really beautiful moments in the story alongside some very creepy ones. It’s a well-balanced and exciting story. I highly recommend it for people looking for creepy fall reads!
On to my next scary reading adventure!