Wednesday, December 03, 2008

House of Dark Shadows


Liparulo, Robert. 2008. House of Dark Shadows.

I knew just from reading the premise of this one that I would find much to love in House Of Dark Shadows. (Though the same could be true of reading the premise of 100 Cupboards by N.D. Wilson.) In this case, however, I was proven correct. I only have one bad thing to say about House of Dark Shadows---and that is that it is the first of a series. And the ending...well...it leaves you wanting more. But even that bad news has a silver lining, the sequel Watcher in the Woods is already available. Don't you wish all series books were published like that!

Xander and David are two brothers who are in for the greatest thrills of their young lives--at fifteen and twelve respectively. Though the reader won't be surprised by the adventure and danger elements of the story--the cover, the premise, the prologue--the characters themselves, Xander and David, NEVER expected to find danger of the life and death variety in this small and dinky hick town. But danger is what is lurking in every room of their new house. The house itself is the cause of the danger. Of the adrenaline.

The book is action-packed. It's well paced. If you like adventures of the spooky sort. Part science fiction. Part adventure. Part mystery. It offers much to readers of almost all ages. (I'd say ten and up if I had to label it at all.)

Though the book is published by a Christian publishing house--it's a clean read, by the way--there is nothing religious or spiritual about it. Just two kids exploring a spooky, old house and finding their ordinary lives turned upside down and inside out. No sermons to be found within its pages. There is nothing un-Christian about it. But there is nothing specifically Christian about it either. It's a book anyone could enjoy. I feel the need to say this because sometimes Christian fiction has the reputation (sometimes unfairly so) of being...well....dinky in nature, poorly written, weak plots, flimsy characters, etc.

I thoroughly enjoyed this one and would definitely recommend it. It would be great for challenges as well--assuming that Carl has his Sci-Fi Experiment again this winter OR his R.I.P. challenge next fall.

Here's the premise:


When the Kings move from L.A. to a secluded small town, fifteen-year-old Xander is beyond disappointed. He and his friends loved to create amateur films . . . but the tiny town of Pinedale is the last place a movie buff and future filmmaker wants to land.

But he, David, and Toria are captivated by the many rooms in the old Victorian fixer-upper they moved into--as well as the heavy woods surrounding the house.

They soon discover there's something odd about the house. Sounds come from the wrong directions. Prints of giant, bare feet appear in the dust. And when David tries to hide in the linen closet, he winds up in locker 119 at his new school.

Then the really weird stuff kicks in: they find a hidden hallway with portals leading off to far-off places--in long-ago times. Xander is starting to wonder if this kind of travel is a teen's dream come true . . . or his worst nightmare.


© Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews

4 comments:

Michele at Reader's Respite 12:05 PM  

Ack - another new series. I'm not sure whether I should be elated or overwhelmed by my poor wishlist now. Think I'll choose elated.

Thanks for the heads-up and great review!

Bobbi 12:16 PM  

I loved this book! I've also read #2, The Watcher. I received both as review copies and read them back to back - now I can't wait for the 3rd one!

Icedream 10:44 PM  

I am so glad you posted this review. This book has been on my wish list since I heard about it's upcoming release on Shelfari a long time ago. I still haven't snagged a copy but I am at least happy to find out that my long wait will be rewarded.

My Two Blessings 7:21 PM  

Wow! Sounds like my kind of book. Thanks for the great review and off to add it to my wishlist.

Robin of mytwoblessings

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I'm always happy to hear from you! To help fight spam, comment moderation has been set up for posts older than two days. Feel free to ask me questions or ask for recommendations!

Review Policy

I am interested in reviewing books and audio books. This blog focuses on books written for middle grade on up (essentially 10 to a 110). I review middle grade fiction and young adult fiction (aka tween and teen).

I also review adult books.

I read in a variety of genres including realistic fiction, historical fiction, mystery, romance, science fiction, fantasy, literary fiction, and chick lit. (I've read one western to date.)

I read a few poetry books, a few short story collections, a few graphic novels, a few nonfiction books.

I am especially fond of:

  • Regency romances (including Austen prequels/sequels)
  • Historical fiction set in the Tudor dynasty
  • Historical fiction and nonfiction set during World War II
  • Jewish fiction/nonfiction
  • dystopias
  • apocalyptic fiction
  • science fiction (especially if it involves time travel and alternate realities)
  • fantasy
  • multicultural books and international books

I am not a fan of:

  • sports books
  • horse books
  • dog books if the dog dies (same goes with most pets actually except maybe fish)
  • westerns (if it's a pioneer story with women and children, then maybe)
  • extremely violent books with blood, blood, and more blood

I am more interested in strong characters, well-written, fleshed-out, human characters. Plot is secondary to me in a way. I have to care about the characters in order to care about the plot. That being said, compelling storytelling is something that I love. I love to become absorbed in what I'm reading.

If you're interested in sending me a review copy of your book, I'm happy to hear from you. Email me at laney_po AT yahoo DOT com.

You should know several things before you contact me:

1) I do not guarantee a review of your book. I am just agreeing to consider it for review.
2) I give all books at least fifty pages.
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4) In all of my reviews I strive for honesty. My reviews are my opinions--so yes, they are subjective--you should know my blog will feature both negative and positive reviews.
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