The Bone Houses by Emily Lloyd-Jones

(Last Updated On: May 27, 2020)

The Bone Houses is such an enjoyable, original, and fast-paced read! I’m really glad that OwlCrate included this book in the September 2019 box (just look at the cover ๐Ÿ˜)!

Photo of The Bone Houses

About the Book

Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readersย  |ย  Release Date: September 24, 2019ย 
338ย  |ย  Genre: YA, Horrorย  |ย  Format: Hardcoverย  |ย  Source: Purchased

The Bone Houses owlcrate edition coverSeventeen-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 alwaysย stayย 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.

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My Review of The Bone Houses

It’s a weird feeling writing a full review six months after reading a book, but trust me when I say thatย The Bone Housesย is a memorable read that’s stuck with me long after finishing it. It is truly a crime that more people aren’t talking about this fantasy horror with a soft relationship and truly touching sibling relationships!

“The forest did not scare her; rather, she wanted to be like it: ageless and impervious, cruel and beautiful. Death could not touch it.”

The descriptions and atmosphere are fantastic. I was immediately drawn into the world that Lloyd-Jones carefully crafted. The words flow easily and beautifully, gloriously toeing the line of purple prose without bogging down the narrative. The feeling of unease and tension build, leading to a completely wild and intense last quarter of the book that had me on the edge of my seat. I had to put my book down for a minute to recover!

“Our lives depend on people dying. And old people tend to die more quickly than young ones. But they won’t be paying for your services, not so long as they think the dead will rise.”

I did struggle a bit with the worldbuilding, particularly surrounding the king, magic’s presence or lack thereof, the overall mystery of the bone houses and where they came from. A lot of it comes together in the end, but there are some things I just had to suspend my disbelief for and not poke with logic. The book has excellent pacing and there’s never a dull moment. Even though I wasn’t completely sold on the worldbuilding, it didn’t detract much from my enjoyment of the book because of how I was invested I became with the characters.

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

The characters most definitely shine in this book.ย I will die for the goat and I absolutely love Ryn. She will do anything for her family, making great sacrifices to make sure her brother and sister have a good life; and the beauty is in the character relationships. This book made me cry. The sibling relationships are precious and we must protect Ceri at all costs; I love her snark!

“Pain doesn’t make a person weak or strong. Pain just is. It’s not a purifier, it’s a part of living.”

The book is as much about grief, love, and family as much as the horrific bone houses (basically zombies). The theme of loss and pain runs throughout the story and is a journey of acceptance which I found incredibly moving.

Are you looking for a unique and atmospheric fantasy/horror read with lovable characters and amazing character relationships? How about a goat as a faithful companion? You should check out The Bone Houses! Click To Tweet

Overall,ย The Bone Housesย was such an enjoyable, original, and fast-paced read! I’m really glad that OwlCrate included this book in the September 2019 boxย (and look at the cover! ๐Ÿ˜๐Ÿ˜๐Ÿ˜)! This is a book I would highly recommend to people who enjoy fairytale style stories with the vibes of the Brothers Grimm to it.

Content warning:ย animal death, bullying, classism

โœจ Buddy read withย Siobhan,ย Loretta, andย Michelle!


Have you readย The Bone Housesย yet? If so, what did you think?!
If you had a faithful companion during an essential zombie apocalypse, what animal would you want on your team?

spacer_wLet’s go on another adventure together!


  1. Tasya @ The Literary Huntress

    April 9, 2020 at 9:31 PM

    I’m so happy you enjoyed this book! I have this on my tbr because the premise just sounds too good to be passed on, so I’m really happy to hear that this book has amazing atmosphere and the characters are well-developed ๐Ÿ™‚

    1. Kal

      April 14, 2020 at 6:35 PM

      Ahh, I hope you enjoy the book as much as I did! It makes for a fantastic spooky season read.

  2. Jade

    April 10, 2020 at 12:02 AM

    Oh wow that sounds so great ! And yes, the cover is GORGEOUS <3 It's so nice to see some YA horror around here !

    1. Kal

      April 14, 2020 at 6:36 PM

      IT IS SO GOOD, Jade!!! I love YA horror and really need to read more of it, my reading has been so SFF heavy for the last year.

  3. Eustacia Tan

    April 10, 2020 at 5:09 AM

    Ooooh, the sibling relationship part sounds great! I’m not such a huge fan of romance because almost every book has it and it’s not my genre :p (Soft romance means it’s not that central?)

    1. Kal

      April 14, 2020 at 6:38 PM

      I know what you mean about romance, I used to be that way but have slowly been converted a bit. I can say this one isn’t a big focus of the story, if that helps! The sibling relationships is a+++

  4. Mere

    April 11, 2020 at 7:43 AM

    I enjoyed this book too! I loved the atmosphere and the adventure of it. Also the goat. The goat was awesome.

    1. Kal

      April 14, 2020 at 6:44 PM

      THE GOAT IS A DAMN BLESSING, Mere!!! I am so glad you also enjoyed this book, it is such a good book that deserves more attention.

  5. Jenna @ Falling Letters

    April 11, 2020 at 11:16 AM

    I haven’t read this yet, but I did it at to my TBR a few months ago. The premise really caught my attention. I love what you’ve written about the sibling relationship. Maybe I will make this one of my isolation reads ๐Ÿ˜›

    1. Kal

      April 14, 2020 at 6:55 PM

      Yessss, I hope you pick it up soon & it offers a nice escape for you!

  6. Kelly | Another Book in the Wall

    April 13, 2020 at 10:43 AM

    Wonderful review, Kal!!! <3 I've missed reading your awesome, in-depth reviews so much while I've been absent from blogging! ๐Ÿ™ˆ I won a copy of this book back in September, and I'm ashamed to admit that I haven't even picked it up yet. It's so nice to hear that it's a fantasy horror with a soft relationship – I love unexpected elements like that! I'm also always there for immersive atmospheres!
    I hope you've been doing alright, love! <3

    1. Kal

      April 14, 2020 at 7:06 PM

      Oh my goodness Kelly, I am so honored by your kind words! I promise you haven’t missed many reviews while you’ve been gone… they have been sparse the last month or so. I hope that you enjoy this book when you do pick it up, love, and that you are doing okay!!!

  7. Marie @ Drizzle & Hurricane Books

    April 17, 2020 at 2:33 AM

    It’s funny, I don’t usually want to turn to YA horror of any kind, because I’m kind of a wuss haha, but for some reason I’m really, really attracted by this book? I’m so curious about the writing (love these quotes you’ve included!) and it sounds like such a moving read. Maybe I should get out of my comfort zone and give this one a try someday… I’ll have to think about it ๐Ÿ˜€

    1. Kal

      April 22, 2020 at 12:25 PM

      I love that you are considering getting out of your comfort zone with this, Marie! Horror is such a wide genre and what scares one person may not be the same for another, so it is possible this may be a book that works for you. The writing is very atmospheric, but there are so many soft elements as well – particularly the sibling relationships – that makes it more than just a book to scare you. Thanks so much for reading!

  8. Krisha

    April 18, 2020 at 2:03 PM

    This book sounds so interesting ? I had heard about it but did not know it was this intriguing and reading your review has definitely made me want to to check this book out ๐Ÿ’›

    1. Kal

      April 22, 2020 at 3:27 PM

      This book is honestly so unique and beautiful; I read it back in October and still think about it now and then! Thanks so much for reading Krisha, and I hope you enjoy the book if you decide to pick it up.

  9. Haley

    April 19, 2020 at 7:12 AM

    You actually sold me with the goat. Adding it to my tbr right now, loved your review! [As always]

    1. Kal

      April 22, 2020 at 10:34 PM

      The goat will win over us all. Happy reading!!!

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