The Bone Houses
by Emily Lloyd-Jones 

This one is billed as “buffy the vampire meets sky the deep” and whilst it does feature a plucky, combative girl with a trusty axe as the heroine, its not “Buffy” as much as “Welsh Fairytale.”

There’s talk of Twyleth Teg, they eat Bara Brith, they head into a dark forest teeming with the restless dead in search of Castell Sidi and a magical cauldron– well, you get my drift.

Aderyn is the daughter of the village gravedigger on the edge of a forest where the OtherKing used to rule, before he took his people and his magic and sailed away. She takes care of her siblings and their goats and chickens, and buries the dead. She occasionally, when venturing into the forest, also buries “The Bone Houses” a slightly strange name to my ear for reanimated skeletons/corpses that haunt the forest. Her axe comes in handy for convincing thme they should go back to being dead, and then she drags them off to the blacksmith’s forge for burning.

Only when a mapmaker from the city arrives wanting to map the forest. Aderyn must lead him through danger, and with the help of a loveable, stalwart, but rotting goat (truly, the goat is one of the BEST characters in the book) hacking and battling different Bone Houses (and bits of Bone Houses) along the way.

In that sense, it’s kind of a spooky novel. But really its a fairy tale about a mother with a magical cauldron who loved her son, and a gravedigger comfortable with death, and the leftover bits of welsh fair folk magic in the world.

Lovely little story for folks in the mood for a dark fairy tale with bone-bashing girl power.