Saturday, May 15, 2010

Book Review: "House of Dark Shadows" by Robert Liparulo

House of Dark Shadows


When the Kings move from L.A. to a secluded small town, fifteen-year-old Xander is beyond disappointed. He and his friends love 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 discovered 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 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.


Another find while scouting out Barnes and Noble online as I do basically every time I have some time on my hands. Not such a smart thing. My "tbr" pile is big enough already, and I ALWAYS find something new that finds it's way to # 1 on that list real quick while skipping all the rest. So, that is how I landed upon "House of Dark Shadows." It is book 1 in a series containing 6 books in all, the most recent, "Frenzy" is due out around the end of May (but might be floating around already).

I have my "series" favorites and have been leaning away from them recently. I am sure glad I decided to give this one a chance. A real winner in my opinion. Granted, it could also be enjoyed by a 9 year old just as easily, it kept me engaged through the whole thing. I actually read this one cover to cover (about 285 pages) in about 3-4 hours. Just didn't put it down. Why?? Let's see....

This is a good one to review because I can tell about the story and totally not give away the ending.  The author has this subtle way of hinting towards it throughout the book, but doesn't give up the big surprise until the last 10 pages. Well done.

Xander, his little bro David, and their lil sis Toria have moved to a new town after living in Pasadena their whole lives. Their dad gets a job in the local school as the principal. They end up buying this really weird house where strange things start happening from the minute they lay eyes on it. Even that itself was spooky.

Strange noises, footprints, and other weird things like people walking into one room and coming out of another happen right from the get go. If that isn't weird enough, the boys (and later bring their dad in on it) find secret passages and hallways in the house that contain several strange rooms. These rooms are basically portals to different "adventures," each having some gear (clothing, weapons, tools, etc) in their respective room pertaining to that specific adventure. 

The story takes you through the boys going on strange, dangerous, nail biting adventures through these "rooms" and the dangers they face. At the same time, there is a strange man that keeps appearing in the already freaky house. The boys and their family struggle to live in their new home until the inevitable happens- one of them disappears.

Who disappears? What really is going on with this house? What danger does the family face?

Totally cool book. I already went online and placed my order for books 2-6. I will no doubt finish the series. The book was really easy to read and I am so looking forward to where the adventures go. The rest of the series has long lost relatives, more rooms (did I mention that the "themes" of the rooms changes often creating an endless supply of situations to find oneself in?), family secrets, and one big hunt for someone. Even more exciting is that it is not just the house that the family has to worry about- as it appears  as if the fate of the world also rests in their hands.

Get on this one if you haven't already!



  1. I am so glad you found this book. I found book one in a discount pile at my local bookstore last year while shopping with my gift cards. I went back and bought books 2 and 3. Have all of them up through and including Frenzy. The deal was I had 2 students following this with the understanding that they could read Frenzy first. I got it back Friday and hope to start it next week. With seventeen days of school left things get hectic. Enjoy the series because each book will keep you on the edge of your seat.

  2. Thanks Sandra! Your comments are always appreciated and helpful. I can't wait to read the rest! Already shipped. It was so cool how easy of a read it was. I'm looking forward to banging them out very quickly!


  3. This one sounds like a winner! Thanks for the review.