Lloyd-Jones, Emily. The Bone Houses.
Lloyd-Jones, Emily. The Bone Houses. Little Brown Books for Young Readers, September 2019. 352p. $17.99. 9780316418416.
5Q * 4P * S
Seventeen year old Aderyn--"Ryn"--is the tough, hard-working gravedigger in Colbren, a remote village at the foot of the mountains of the fae. She struggles to earn a meager living for herself and her two siblings, since their father disappeared. Life in Colbren might be all right, but the dead just will not stay buried. These cursed corpses--"the bone houses"-relentlessly attack the living. When gentle, secretive Ellis, an apprentice mapmaker, arrives in Ryn's village, more bone houses invade the village. Although Ellis may be attracting the walking dead, Ryn, desperate for money, agrees to serve as the mapmaker's guide. The pair undertakes a perilous journey to map the kingdom of the fae, to dispel the curse of the bone houses, and perhaps, to learn the fate of Ryn's father--helped only by one very loyal bone goat. Ryn and Ellis's epic trek, involving encounters with heavily armored bone houses that were once battle-hardened soldiers, a vengeful laked-welling monster, and a creepy settlement determined to keep its dead forever, is both exciting and imaginative.
Inspired by Welsh mythology, this stand-alone novel is both a classic quest saga and a page-turning horror story. The author demonstrates an admirable ability to create delightful, multi-faceted characters and thrilling events, while never sacrificing a style that is both witty and lyrical. A required purchase for collections serving young adults, this fine novel will especially appeal to those who enjoy fantasy with more than a touch of terror. --Jamie Hansen