The Bone Houses Review

The Bone Houses by Emily Lloyd-Jones

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Ack! The reading slump strikes again! This book took me 10 days to read and it’s only 300 pages! No! I will not let this slump get to me! I will prevail! 😛
Overall, this was a nice Halloween read. It wasn’t so much spooky as action-filled and if I was to categorize the story I’d say historical fiction/fantasy, not really anything remotely scary though. I still liked it. I think the characters were nice and Ryn definitely reminded me of Spensa from Skyward (by Brandon Sanderson). Ceridwen also gave me Prim (The Hunger Games) vibes, but she seemed just different enough that it didn’t bother me.
Spoiler Alert
Was this entire story based off of Welsh myths? That’s so cool! I myself know nothing about Welsh myths, so this book was a complete surprise to me and I really liked it!
The story was nicely balanced and had a good pace. Nothing really stood out to me as extraordinary about it, but it was good anyway. The setting was nicely set up: the castle at the end really felt real to me and that statue of the fae guy who’s name I cannot spell, was very pretty in my minds eye; I found it to be a nice touch. The bone houses themselves were kind of confusing and I was never really able to figure out whether they were bad guys or good guys. Also, to anyone who read this book, I couldn’t figure it out: were the bone houses repelled by iron, or was it just Ellis who brought them out? I was super confused about that.
A few moments that stood out to me over the course of the story were… The part at the end where we find out what had happened to Ceri and Ryn’s brother while they were gone. I found it hilarious that Ceri had told the entire village Ryn was getting rid of the curse :). I also really loved basically every moment with the goat. I have the special edition copy of the book for OwlCrate and it came with a letter from the author where she said her favorite character was the goat. I have to say I kind of agree, but overall, Ryn was my favorite character.
On that topic, I found it super funny whenever the goat would pop out from seemingly unsurvivable circumstances and try to get food from Ryn. I was super sad when she died at the end. A tiny bit I didn’t like about the goat though, was the book’s explanation for why she (he?) followed them the entire way. I think it kind of hurt her character to say the reason she was following them was just a bone house instinct. I liked her better when the goat was just being loyal.
The reveals at the end didn’t really shock me. I’m a reader who likes to be completely surprised by the twist at the end of a novel, but when I reread the book, immediately see all the clues and wonder how I missed them. I really like it when the reveal is just shoved in your face and you’re left reading like what? no way? that’s not possible! This book was more of a slow twist where I had predicted that Ellis’ mom was the bone house a few paragraphs before it was revealed.
I’m a bit sad that we never got to see Ryn’s father again at the end of the book. Once was not enough and the author said that there probably wasn’t going to be a sequel, so that just leaves me feeling a bit sad. I would have liked him to show up at the end, maybe while they were at the castle or to have Ryn accidentally kill him during the big finally. It could have done a lot for her character arc, that’s all. I was actually convinced for a few pages, that Ryn had killed him from a paragraph that seemed slightly suspicious while she was running to save Ellis but that didn’t end up being a true prediction.
I really liked the way the book was structured at the end. It seemed so much like a happy epilogue (although it wasn’t one) and I really liked seeing what all the characters were going to do after the action was over. That’s something that is left out in a lot of books and including it in this one gave me a warm and fuzzy feeling.
Now, I know Halloween is over and all the discounted candy has all been bought up, but I’ve decided I’m going to continue reading the spooky reads I had planned on reading on Halloween, but were postponed because of the aforementioned reading slump. I am going to take a tiny break before I read those though, because tomorrow is the day I’ve been waiting for literally since this same time last year: November 5th. There are five books coming out tomorrow that I HAVE to read, I actually don’t even know how I will choose which to start first, but I know they take precedence over Halloween. Sorry spooky books!
In conclusion, I liked this book. It wasn’t as spooky as I might have wished, but it was still a good read. Maybe more of a fall book than a Halloween one though. I give it 4/5 stars and I recommend it to anyone who wants to read a new take on undead. Great book!

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