Wednesday, August 28, 2019

Book Review: "The Bone Houses" by Emily Lloyd-Jones

Title: The Bone Houses
Author: Emily Lloyd-Jones
Genre: YA Horror Fantasy
Page Length: 352 pages
Publication Date: September 24, 2019
Date Started: August 27, 2019
Date Finished: August 27, 2019
Rating: 4 // 5 stars

*I was sent a free advance copy of this book from Novl in exchange for an honest review*

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.

When I read the synopsis for The Bone Houses, I knew it was going to be different from books I normally read but I was excited nonetheless. It was a good different for sure. The horror slash fairy tale setting definitely sucked me in as I've never read anything quite like it. I'm not big on horror because I'm a huge scaredy-cat but I feel as if the fairy tale feeling helped temper some of the horror, which is nice because it means that more non-horror readers can pick this book up.

Even though this book was super unique, it also felt very comfortable to me. It had some of my favorite tropes in it such as a quest, strong sibling relationships, a badass main character, and a slow-burn romance. I thought all of those were done pretty well. It was really refreshing to see a close sibling group since a lot of books I've read recently have featured characters without any siblings at all. I'm also a sucker for a romantic sub-plot and I loved how this one was slow-burn and didn't take over the story at all.

The whole idea of the bone houses, how they began, what they can do, etc was so fascinating. We got bits of folklore sprinkled here and there about the fae, the forest, how the bone houses were created, and other stories that were really interesting to read. Upon finishing the book, I can definitely go back and look at how they were important with our storyline.

The writing was really nice. It was easy to fall into and understand while not being overbearing with details or heavy dialogue. I was able to read this book pretty quickly because the writing was simplistic and the story was engaging.

I think the one thing that kept me from rating this 5 stars was the fact I didn't connect with the characters more than the story needed. Yes, I cared about them and I want them to be happy, but it's not as if they're characters I'm thinking about every five seconds like with some books. I do think this is because a lot of my favorite characters are ones in series that I've had multiple books to spend with them and see their character growths. Because this is a shorter standalone, I didn't get that chance to feel as deeply. However, I still really liked the characters and I was very invested in their stories even if I wasn't in love with them.

Overall, I'm not quite sure what else to say. This was a standalone fantasy and I really liked how it ended. Even if there was a sequel I'm not quite sure what there would be to do next. I'm very content and happy with how things finished up. It was a great book that I can see a lot of people enjoying! This was a quick, heart-pounding read that I'm sure would be absolutely wonderful to read in October when we're all looking for those spooky books.



Thanks for reading!
xoxo
Lauren



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