My favorite character in The Bone Houses was definitely the goat. In Emily Lloyd-Jones’ novel, a curse causes the dead to rise. The risen dead are known as bone houses and are essentially zombies. Ryn is a gravedigger who is trying to support her family (and the family goat) whilst simultaneously protecting her small village from bone houses.
The bone houses grow more active when a stranger arrives in town, Ellis. He is a mapmaker who is attempting to do something unprecedented: he wants to map the forest. He and Ryn form an alliance and venture into the forest, followed by the goat, in an attempt to break the curse and for Ellis at least map the forest.
The Bone Houses was very elegantly written alongside the setting. It felt like I was actually in all the various settings with Ellis and Ryn. This fictional world was beautiful, and the Welsh influence on the story was amazing. The legends in the book were completely unique. Even the entire concept of bone houses was creative; I had never read a book that portrayed zombies in such a way. Different miscellaneous cultural aspects were incredible too. My favorite one was the phrase, “fallen kings.”
The relationships between the characters, and even the goat, were some of the best things about this book. I loved seeing the familial bond between Ryn and her siblings and how close Ryn and Ellis had gotten by the end of the story. The goat, however, was the best part. It had died previously but came back to life as a bone goat but still followed Ryn and Ellis throughout their journey. It was sweet and funny to read about the bone goat and to see how devoted it was to the characters.
I definitely recommend The Bone Houses as a refreshing and fantastic read. The opportunity to read about Emily Lloyd Jones’ take on zombies is one that should be taken. You will not regret getting to read about the bone goat.