Author: Lloyd-Jones, Emily
When risen corpses called 'bone houses' threaten Ryn's village because of a decades-old curse, she teams up with a mapmaker named Ellis to solve the mystery of the curse and destroy the bone houses forever.
|Accelerated Reader Information:|
Interest Level: MG+
Reading Level: 5.20
Points: 12.0 Quiz: 508862
Kirkus Reviews (07/15/19)
Full Text Reviews:
School Library Journal - 07/01/2019 Gr 7 Up—Teenager Ryn has been caring for her siblings via her steadily dwindling work as a gravedigger in their remote village. Though more villagers are turning to cremation than burial, the teen's work isn't getting any easier: the dead just won't stay dead. According to legend, a fae curse stirs the corpses, or "bone houses," that emerge from the nearby forest each night, and Ryn often enters the forest alone to stop the dead from reaching the village. On one of her outings, she finds Ellis, an apprentice mapmaker living with chronic pain. But with his arrival comes an attack more vicious than any before. Desperate to end the curse, the two teens travel through the forest to the mountains that once served as the home of the fae. With little backstory and only limited mention of communities outside of Ryn's village, the book focuses on the teens and their mission. Both characters are fully realized, each beginning with a singular goal but ultimately learning that love and loss are their own journeys. Lloyd-Jones turns Ryn's familiar fantasy quest through the woods into a new and magical journey, filled with the best parts of a fairy tale. Monsters, curses, love—both slow-burn and familial—beautiful descriptions of an eerie mythical Welsh setting, and a streak of humor make this stand-alone novel a must-read. VERDICT This fresh take on the undead is recommended for YA collections.—Maggie Mason Smith, Clemson University, SC - Copyright 2019 Publishers Weekly, Library Journal and/or School Library Journal used with permission.
Booklist - 08/01/2019 *Starred Review* Ryn, 17, is more comfortable with the dead than most. She's the gravedigger for the tiny mountainside village where she and her two siblings, long orphaned, eke out a living as times grow ever harder. It's because of her proximity to death that Ryn is one of the few villagers who believes in the old legends of the bone houses—corpses who rise at dusk in the nearby forest, given life by an old curse. In fact, she more than believes it: she's seen and fought the bone houses herself. When a mapmaker named Ellis, haunted by his own elusive past, appears in her village determined to map the mountain, the dead rise at an alarming rate, and Ryn joins him on a quest that sends them both into a dangerous world filled with ancient magic. With ghostly prose, Lloyd-Jones (The Hearts We Sold, 2017) follows Ryn and Ellis' journey while periodically dipping into the local lore that explains how their world has become what it is. While characterization is strong and Ryn and Ellis' trek through the mountains is filled with breathless moments and occasional humor (the latter due mostly to an undead goat), this is, in its strongest moments, a fable about death and the ways in which we live alongside it. This melancholic horror novel digs its way into the heart. - Copyright 2019 Booklist.