Hi friends! Before I start, I want to preface by saying: if this title involves the words “zombie goat”, I apologize sincerely for not changing it. If it doesn’t, then I actually did my job for once!!
TW/CW: death, murder, death of an animal
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.
I had really high hopes for this book. A lot of my Goodreads friends enjoyed it, so I thought I would too! Unfortunately, it didn’t quite pan out like that way. Although, the audiobook was extremely well-done! The narrator had a lovely Welsh(?) accent for Ryn! Plus, this cover is gorgeous on another level. Shoutout to the narrator and the designer!
To start, zombies aren’t usually my thing. I mean, they’re so brain-numbing. THEY HAVE NO ANTI-HERO QUALITIES OR POTENTIAL FOR REDEMPTION ARCS*. However, Emily Lloyd Jones did an excellent job at making these undead creatures actually interesting. The Bone Houses have risen from death and our main character Ryn and Ellis have no idea why. Complete with a world full of unique history, I was actually quite invested in discovering the mystery behind them!
*guess what kind of character archtype is my favorite. it’s hard i know
Ryn and Ellis were what I like to call “average likeable”. I liked them. If they died, I would have been disappointed. But I wouldn’t have cried. Or accepted them as honorary citizens of my waffle kingdom. I think this is partly due to the standalone nature of the book. Since I’m a series person*, I have different expectations for character arcs. But I did enjoy both of them, and their relationship! Like, the romance was average in my opinion but I didn’t hate it.
and zombie goat. please be my friend.
Seriously. Zombie Goat was the highlight of this book for me, an added sense of humor and hope and, well, goat presence.
Now here’s why this book didn’t work for me: when it comes to more generic YA fantasies* such as Red Queen, everything becomes far more subjective. Personally, I was able to guess every plot twist, the storyline was loosely interesting but predictable, and the romance was nowhere near good enough to carry this book in my opinion. Maybe I read this at the wrong time of year, or I’m being too harsh, but this one simply didn’t impress me enough to warrant higher than a 3.5 rating.
That’s it! This is really not a bad book at all, just forgettable for me. Tell me:
Do you like zombie books?