Saturday, 22 January 2011

Review: House of Dark Shadows, by Robert Liparulo

book cover of 
House of Dark Shadows 
 (Dreamhouse Kings, book 1)
Robert Liparulo

I am incredibly ashamed to admit that I only got this book for my Kindle because it was free. Usually I'm not that cheap, but hey, I'm a Kindle Newbie! Actually, now that we're talking about my Kindle, I got myself a huge virus by downloading E-books!!! Back to the book:

In the beginning I thought this was a children's book, but as it developed I just couldn't put my Kindle down. It starts of with Xander's family moving to a little village in the middle of nowhere called Pinedale. Xander is convinced this move will mean the death of his aspirations of becoming a director. While searching for a house they find an old house that is in need of some serious repairs!

When checking out the house Xander gets the awful feeling the house has a terrible history. Voices seem to come from different places then where the people are they belong to and when visiting a real estate person he finds out that a woman disappeared in the house and shortly after the entire family. The father was suspected of having murdered them all.

Xander does however want to live in the house and they move in shortly afterwards. He has confided in his younger brother, David, and they are shocked when they find out that a closet in their new room leads to a locker in their new high school. Together they snoop around the house more.

Eventually they find a secret passage, that leads to a long hall with many doors. Each door leads to a room. Each room has a theme and Xander and David enter a Gladiator-inspired room. Xander puts on some of the weapons and armor and magically a door opens that was before locked. When he goes in the door disappears and he finds himself in the Colosseum of 1500 years ago. He is one of the two remaining gladiators and has to fight for his life. His father saves him just in time.

Strange things happen and the book only gets more exiting. This book had me on the edge of my seat. While I was supposed to be studying for my history-exam I kept on reading and reading. Xander's aspiration of becoming a movie director is amazing, because he keeps on comparing situations to movies. His brother David is an amazing character. Xander is the more careful one, while David wants to try everything that could be dangerous. Together they make a perfect team to discover all the house;s terrible secrets and are very enjoyable for the reader.
My favourite character is probably David, because he has this will to live and enjoy that I sometimes miss in a lot of characters.

My favourite scene of the book is probably where they discover a sort of magical meadow near their house. They seem to have super speed and strength there and the air seems thinner. A lot of stories have meadows in them, but they usually fail in impressing me, just like the meadow in Twilight. This one however is really well-written.

Robert Liparulo has a very clear style of writing that is very pleasant to read. His characters are multi-layered, yet straight forward. In his best moments he reminds me of Carlos Ruiz Zafon, which is a very big compliment coming from me! When reading the book you can't help but be drawn into the story. When you're not reading you are still thinking about it, about how it will go on, what will happen.

First sentence (Prologue): 'The walls of the house absorbed the woman's screams, until they felt to her as muffled and pointless as yelling underwater.'

I give this book...

4 Universes!!

I'm now actually praying to get my hands on the sequels to this book as there is so much left, so you'll read the reviews on those as soon as I got and read them!

Is there a sequel to a book you can't wait to get your hands on?


  1. That does look good. I will have to add that to my TBR list!!

  2. I've read the whole series-my sister and friends, have too, and we all love it. The books get even better as the story moves along. I kept waiting to be disappointed, but I never was. Really a good story. It's good you like David best because he takes over as the main character in book 2 (Watcher in the Woods). I thought all the characters would have a book, but David keeps going (with some of the other characters having some chapters, which I liked for their perspective and variety). My friends are always saying "Strong and courageous!" now, it's one of the things the brothers tell each other when facing danger! LOL