“And perhaps this was the truth about the dead. You went on. They’d want you to.”
Rating: 4/5 stars
Format: Physical Copy
Seventeen-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 always stay 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.
If you told me a book about zombies would leave me with tears in my eyes I normally wouldn’t believe you…but here we are. I’ve been in a bit of a slump lately when it comes to fantasy books, but when I came across this one and then found out it was a standalone I figured I didn’t have much to lose. So, I gave it a go and I’m so glad I did. If you’re looking for a standalone fantasy with great world-building, lovable characters, a goat that carries the story on it’s back (not even kidding), and an epic adventure than don’t let this one slip past you.
Aderyn, was one of the most lovable characters I’ve read this year. She will do anything for her family and is fueled by making sure her brother and sister are taken care of since her mother’s death and father’s disappearance. Her family’s graveyard is struggling ever since the recent sighting of bone houses (think zombies), her rent is long overdue, and her uncle hasn’t returned to pay his debts and help save Aderyn, her brother, and sister from losing their home. Yet all the while Aderyn’s life is crumbling around her she’s still determined to not let her siblings and her hometown struggle. With the help of a mapmaker named Ellis, they set off to find out the why the bone houses are wreaking havoc on the world and to hopefully break the curse around them once and for all.
The thing I loved most about this book was how so much of it centers around love, family, grief, and moving forward. There are so many great quotes and messages throughout this story that it seriously made me tear up, which almost never happens. I felt like this was a timely fit for my life given everything that happened in the last few months and it was so comforting to read this and hear that it’s okay to move on when bad things happen to us, and more importantly that our loved ones would want us to. I loved Aderyn’s family dynamics, her friendship and soft romance with Ellis, and her newfound appreciation for her sister’s goat who came in clutch multiple times and saved everyone’s lives. I mean really, anytime an animal is going to save the day I’m obviously here for it.
“Home was taste and smell and sensation. It was not a place.”
“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.”
“It was a risk, to love someone. To do so with the full knowledge that they’d leave someday. Then let go of them, when they did.”
All in all, despite feeling slumpy towards fantasy books lately I’m so happy I picked this one up. It definitely got rid of that feeling and has me excited to dive into more fantasy books this winter but also excited to check out more books by this author as well.
Until next time,