Book Review | The Bone Houses by Emily Lloyd-Jones

She knew how things died. And in her darkest moments, she feared she did not know how to live.

Emily Lloyd-Jones, The Bone Houses

Published September 24th 2019 by Little, Brown Books for Young Readers

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. 


Emily Lloyd-Jones grew up on a vineyard in rural Oregon, where she played in evergreen forests and learned to fear sheep. After graduating from Western Oregon University with an English degree, she enrolled in the publishing program at Rosemont College just outside of Philadelphia. She currently resides in Northern California, working in a bookstore by day and writing by night.


I would like to thank whoever posted about this book in Twitter, the cover caught my eye right at the time when I was looking for a new book to read. This book was so wonderfully written – like you were in a dream. I didn’t realize a book about zombies could be written like a fairy tale, but it was. The author gave us a town on the edge of an immense forest where old tales of the Otherking were still believed by the old and scoffed at by the young. In the midst of that is a teen gravedigger and her siblings trying to make the most of their small family.

Our main protagonist Aderyn (“Ryn”) is a strong strong female character, and she is naturally so. She didn’t have to be strong for her siblings out of trauma. Well maybe a little. She lost her father at a young age and she’s been waiting for him to come back. Her siblings are right independent as well – Gareth with his pragmatic outlook, and little Cerridwen who can make amazing food and her wicked sense of humor. Despite being orphans and threatened to be kicked out of their house and home they even joke about how Gareth can hit the Village Lord with his books on the head. Young characters who don’t need much saving are so refreshing to read. Oh and I love their goat.

Then we have the mysterious mapmaker Ellis, who looks like a prince with his fine clothes but is such a great rep for chronic pain. Despite how he doesn’t get any reprieve from his pain, he is not angry nor does he lash out at the people around him. He also isn’t shown as a victim. He’s actually very confident in himself despite his search for his origins.

Round off a zombie story with a background on Fae like stories, those Welsh (??) names, and maybe a monster in the lake and I was transported to a different world of folklore. Definitely a must read.

Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐ (4.5)

I’m loving me these Halloweenesque books this month. More please! 🧟🧟‍♀️🧟‍♂️ Have you read this book yet? What did you think about it? What other scary books are you planning to read this month?

5 thoughts on “Book Review | The Bone Houses by Emily Lloyd-Jones

  1. Wonderful review! My copy arrived in the mail today and even though it sounds a bit spooky (which is outside my comfort zone) I’m so looking forward to reading it because all the reviews have been great! I’ve heard so much about this goat too 😂


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