House of Dark Shadows (Dreamhouse Kings, Bk 1)
House of Dark Shadows - Dreamhouse Kings, Bk 1 Author:Robert Liparulo Xander King is seriously bummed when his family moves from Pasadena, CA to a little hick town called Pinedale. He loved his life back home and can't imagine what this new town and new school could possibly have to offer. When the King's arrive they begin searching for a house to buy and finally stumble across an old, abandoned Victorian ... more »home deep in the woods.
Xander's parents instantly fall in love with the old house and set to work trying to make it livable. Xander and his brother, David, begin exploring and make startling discoveries. It seems one of the closets is some sort of gateway to a locker in their new school. If that wasn't strange enough, they also discover a secret passageway that is full of rooms that are portals to other worlds. After a couple of exploring adventures gone bad, the boys soon realize that this house is much more dangerous than they could have ever imagined. Unfortunately, the King's are about to discover just how real that danger is.« less
House of Dark Shadows by Robert Liparulo is a twisting tale of adventure and terror when the King family move into a new house, a house with a terrifying secret.
Meet Xander, 15yo male who is a budding movie maker who suddenly gets uprooted from his home town and forced to move to Pinedale, a tiny town with no prospects of fun.
From first encounter with the house Xander gets a strange feeling of unease, things sound different and he thinks he sees a shadow figure. Against his hope for something different, his family move into this strange house that has seen better days and things start happening right away.
Foot prints on the dusty floor boards is the first sign they receive, telling them they might not be alone in the house.
Xander, his Dad and his younger brother David search the house for the owner of these foot prints and find nothing strange, yet.
It is David that finds the closet, a closet that when closed transports them to their new school, where they emerge from a locker, and find they can also return home the same way.
On their first night in the strange house, they once again see a shadow figure and follow it only to find out how different their home is.
This is an engrossing tale that keeps the reader constantly guessing until the last page.
Fifteen year old Xander King is miserable. His family is moving from Pasadena to the small town of Pinedale. "Still in California, but barely." When the family arrives they find what his parents consider a dream house but Xander just considers creepy.
Full of mysterious sounds, creepy shadows and unexplained footprints, the house just seems too sinister for Xander to feel comfortable. As Xander and his twelve year old brother begin to explore the house they find things are even weirder than they could have ever imagined.
For a young adult book I was surprised at how well the storyline and suspense are written. Usually with YA writing the storytelling is a little too cheesy or predictable but this book breaks out of that mold and I was as creeped out as any Dean Koontz or Steven King book makes me feel when reading late at night.
House of Dark Shadows is Book 1 in the Dream House Kings series and after reading it you'll want to immediately pick up Book 2, Watcher in the Woods as the ending clearly warns that it's "Not The End." You're left with some answers and a HUGE cliffhanger. I enjoyed this quick read and recommend it for both YA and adult suspense readers.
I really wanted to love this book and although it was pretty good it wasn't mind blowingly scary to me. Don't get me wrong there were some pretty creepy parts but some things I found just a tad predictable. Still a good read if your a young person who likes scarier, creepier type books. I think the rating of 3.6 is pretty accurate.
I have been wanting to read this book for a long time so when I saw it was available for free on Kindle (a while back) I snapped it up. This book is first and foremost an introduction to a series. It has some neat ideas but starts incredibly slow.
The King family moves into this creepy old house that's definitely a fixer upper. The oldest son, Xander, is bothered by some of the things that are going on in it. For example when people talk the sound doesn't come from where you think it should, there are other strange sounds around the house, and then there are the gigantic footprints that show up every so often. When Xander and his brother David go exploring they find a set of rooms that takes you to other sinister places.
This book definitely has a very scary and creepy horror feeling to it. Strange sounds and strange men showing up in bedrooms, that kind of thing. In general it creeped me out; so I wouldn't recommend it to people who scare easily (like me) or people who aren't fans of suspense/horror type books. There is a fantasy element to it when the boys find the strange rooms that can take them to other times/places. Even with this fantasy element; when the Kings travel to the other places everything is always scary, sinister, and trying to kill them.
The book starts incredibly slow. It takes half the book or more, for the family to move into the house and start seeing the strange things. The whole time I was like, come on, come on, let's get to some good stuff here. Once they discover the magic rooms things do get much more interesting; but that part is so small compared to how long it takes to set the story up. Because of this pacing issue, this book is more like an intro to the Kings and their house than an actual complete story.
The plot itself is also very predictable. I guessed right at the beginning who the father was and what his past was and was right. I totally agree with Xander about how stupid his dad was about everything that happened; I think it is incredibly unrealistic that a dad would knowingly put his family in that type of position. Which leads me to talking about the characters...they were all okay, but never very interesting. All of the characters do stupid things (as happens in many horror novels) and aren't really that engaging or likable.
I think the strong part of this novel was the idea of the magic rooms; there is a lot of potential there for an interesting story and it would be interesting to see how these things all tie together.
The book ends on a complete cliffhanger with no resolution (again I am not a fan of those). I really felt like this was just a short intro to this world and not really a complete book at all. The writing style overall is so-so; but nothing to write home about. I also have trouble believing this is targeted for young adults; maybe it might be suspenseful for younger kids...maybe middle grade? I think the YA crowd will find it boring and predictable.
Overall it was okay. The idea of the magic rooms is interesting and I think Liparulo could do a lot with that in future books. The story started very slowly, with lots of setup. The plot was predictable and the characters were so-so. This isn't really a complete book; it just sets up the world and leaves the poor reader on a total cliffhanger. Oh, and it is way more of a horror book than a fantasy book. So if you are a wuss about scary stuff, like me, then you will want to look elsewhere. I personally will not continue on with this series and am glad that I got it for free. Definitely not my thing.
Very fun and fast paced book. If you saw the movie "Jumanji" in the 90's it is very much like that, only instead of a board game, it is the house, and they are going into different worlds instead of the things coming to them. I am looking forward to the next book in the series! Highly recommended for a quick read.
Good book. I was nearly halfway through before I guessed that this was Young Adult fiction. I checked the back and it calls it Juvenile fiction. I think it would be fine for kids. A bit scary a time or two. Worthwhile reading for adults, too. Very clean, but nothing at all "Christian" about it. Not sure why Lifeway was selling it and not sure why Thomas Nelson published it. Maybe that will become clearer in later books in the series. This one ended with a real cliffhanger, so I'm compelled to keep reading.