[A quick note: I love it when a book features an animal that is more like a character, and gives that animal its own personality and unique traits. I almost always become more attached to the animal character than the actual characters. LOL! This was the case with The Bone Houses. It features a cute goat.]
“𝐓𝐡𝐞 𝐚𝐧𝐭𝐢𝐜𝐢𝐩𝐚𝐭𝐢𝐨𝐧 𝐨𝐟 𝐭𝐡𝐞 𝐥𝐨𝐬𝐬 𝐡𝐮𝐫𝐭𝐬 𝐧𝐞𝐚𝐫𝐥𝐲 𝐚𝐬 𝐦𝐮𝐜𝐡 𝐚𝐬 𝐭𝐡𝐞 𝐥𝐨𝐬𝐬 𝐢𝐭𝐬𝐞𝐥𝐟. 𝐘𝐨𝐮 𝐟𝐢𝐧𝐝 𝐲𝐨𝐮𝐫𝐬𝐞𝐥𝐟 𝐭𝐫𝐲𝐢𝐧𝐠 𝐭𝐨 𝐡𝐨𝐥𝐝 𝐨𝐧 𝐭𝐨 𝐞𝐯𝐞𝐫𝐲 𝐝𝐞𝐭𝐚𝐢𝐥, 𝐛𝐞𝐜𝐚𝐮𝐬𝐞 𝐲𝐨𝐮'𝐥𝐥 𝐧𝐞𝐯𝐞𝐫 𝐡𝐚𝐯𝐞 𝐭𝐡𝐞𝐦 𝐚𝐠𝐚𝐢𝐧.” —Emily Lloyd-Jones
When the walking dead emerge from the forest, Ryn isn’t afraid to chop them into pieces and burn their bodies. After all, she’s a gravedigger. She isn’t unfamiliar with dead bodies. But soon, the dead outnumber her and threaten her family and livelihood. With the help of a mapmaker named Ellis, she must venture through a zombie forest to a castle once occupied by fae to break the curse of the undead.
An axe-wielding MC, a quest to save her village, and zombies are the backbone that make The Bone Houses a fun standalone story. There’s action, romance, and the cutest zombie goat. Ryn is no stranger to responsibility. She’s been caring for her siblings ever since her parents died. She feels obligated to break the curse of the bone houses. But when the time comes, she discoverers that her understanding is flawed. Not all bone houses are aggressive killers. In fact, some are long lost loved ones. Breaking the curse is no longer a simple thing.
“𝐒𝐡𝐞 𝐰𝐚𝐬 𝐡𝐚𝐥𝐟 𝐚 𝐰𝐢𝐥𝐝 𝐜𝐫𝐞𝐚𝐭𝐮𝐫𝐞 𝐭𝐡𝐚𝐭 𝐥𝐨𝐯𝐞𝐝 𝐚 𝐠𝐫𝐚𝐯𝐞𝐲𝐚𝐫𝐝, 𝐭𝐡𝐞 𝐟𝐢𝐫𝐬𝐭 𝐭𝐚𝐬𝐭𝐞 𝐨𝐟 𝐦𝐢𝐬𝐭𝐲 𝐧𝐢𝐠𝐡𝐭 𝐚𝐢𝐫, 𝐚𝐧𝐝 𝐭𝐡𝐞𝐡𝐞𝐟𝐭 𝐨𝐟 𝐚 𝐬𝐡𝐨𝐯𝐞𝐥. 𝐒𝐡𝐞 𝐤𝐧𝐞𝐰 𝐡𝐨𝐰 𝐭𝐡𝐢𝐧𝐠𝐬 𝐝𝐢𝐞𝐝. 𝐀𝐧𝐝 𝐢𝐧 𝐡𝐞𝐫 𝐝𝐚𝐫𝐤𝐞𝐬𝐭 𝐦𝐨𝐦𝐞𝐧𝐭𝐬, 𝐬𝐡𝐞 𝐟𝐞𝐚𝐫𝐞𝐝 𝐬𝐡𝐞 𝐝𝐢𝐝 𝐧𝐨𝐭 𝐤𝐧𝐨𝐰 𝐡𝐨𝐰 𝐭𝐨 𝐥𝐢𝐯𝐞.”—Emily Lloyd-Jones
This was an easy, enjoyable read. I loved its atmospheric qualities with zombies, making it a perfect autumn read. But there were some things that fell flat for me, including the romance. The ending felt a bit anti-climactic after the build up. The plot twist was a bit predictable. And because this was more plot-driven instead of character driven, there wasn’t a ton of character growth, which makes the story overall less memorable for me. But I enjoyed it as a simpler read, and it did have a unique plot. I think it would have benefited from a bit more internal character depth.
One of the main themes throughout was loss. Accepting loss of loved ones. Making the choice to let loved ones go, even when the option exists to allow them to linger on in a half-dead form. Ryn and Ellis must make the decision to break the curse, knowing that many people who care for bone-house-loved-ones will lose their loved ones for good.
My favorite aspect was the zombie goat. I thought it had tons of personality. It’s loyalty had me smiling so often every time it saved the day. And I even got teared up when the Goat was finally freed from its curse and laid to rest. It was the only character I cried over that made me feel something.
𝐌𝐘 𝐑𝐀𝐓𝐈𝐍𝐆: 𝟑.𝟓/𝟓⭐️