“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.”
This book delved into the topic of grief in a fantastical way. With a historical element to the story, it follows the journey of Ryn, weighed down with the grief of her missing, presumed dead, father and the passing of her mother while trying to keep her younger siblings safe from harm and destitution. We also come across our antagonist, Ellis, with no clear history other than he was found wandering the enchanted forest as a small boy.
This was a very immersive tale. It’s paved the way for open discussions of death and grief and its many forms. I struggled at times with the alternate perspectives because they were written in the third person, but it gave good insight into both Ellis and Ryn’s thoughts. The bone houses are the walking dead that only rise in the enchanted forest at nightfall but, as the book progresses, we learn that they are more than just bones. Leaving me with the dilemma of; if the enchantment was to be lifted, all the bone houses that were close with loved ones would be lost forever. But for them to stay would be unnatural. It left me contemplating what I would want if the enchanted forest was real.
The conclusion to this tale was a bitter-sweet one. It didn’t leave me wowed but was certainly enjoyable and an easy read. If you liked House of Salt and Sorrows, you’ll like this.
Published – 24th September 2019
Publishing Company – Little Brown Books
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