House of Dark Shadows (Dreamhouse Kings #1)
Author: Robert Liparulo
Dream house…or bad dream?
When the Kings up and move from L.A. to the small town, Pinedale, Xander is more than upset. But when they happened across an old Victorian house hidden out in the woods, they think they’ve hit the jackpot. Everyone gets their own rooms. There’s woods for miles to explore.
Weird things begin to happen as they get ready to move in. There are prints of larger-than-normal feet in the dust. A special door in the linen closet. There a hallway with doors that lead to different periods in time like the Civil War. Xander begins to wonder if this is the coolest thing ever or just a dread nightmare come true.
This book marks 15 out of 25 authors, from my New Year’s resolution, that I’ve never read from before. I was really drawn in by the artwork and weirdness.
I honestly don’t know how I’m feeling about this book. It felt a little all over the place for me. I know this book is geared toward the independent reader genre, but still, I didn’t feel all that enthralled. Much of the bits were very intriguing, but I felt like they were lost in the story. Crazy things are happening in this old house, but they just didn’t work together, not in any way that made sense to me. My curiosity was piqued for sure, but unsatisfied. I did love the many TV references—Misery, Star Wars, and Supernatural to name a few. It puts the story in the real world, and lets readers relate more.
The setting of the small town and the old house was very cool. Everything was secluded, adding to the growing ominous feeling. The boys, Xander and David got a tower in their bedroom. Call me jealous, I’ve always wanted my own personal tower; a spot where I can read and have my own world. I really liked the blueprint of the house in the beginning of the book. Things like that really make me feel a little closer and involved with the story.
I struggled in following the story. There just wasn’t enough detail to make all of this click. I just couldn’t get emotionally invested either. This was written to get you on the edge of your seat with all of the wild things happening and sadly, I was just wanting it to be over.
The closeness between Xander and his siblings was so special. At such a young age, most siblings fight and bicker and that wasn’t the case at all. They were there for each other and protecting one another. However, the parents were very odd. There wasn’t much of a difference between them and the kids. They talked and acted like them. Any real parental authority was overshadowed by them wanting to relate to the kids and be their friend. It really threw me off.
Overall: this book wasn’t what I imagined. I knew it wouldn’t be gory or utterly spine-tingling, but I do feel like this should’ve been more to help make the story more vivid and enthralling. Connect the dots. With tigers in the jungle and a creepy man wandering the property and other unexplainable things, I hoped for something more.
“What was embarrassing or personal, dreams and fears—it was all fair game in the King household.” (Xander, p. 107)
“We’re humans, not robots.” (Mom to Xander, p. 107)
“Loved ones die. Fact of life.” (Xander, p. 271)
More to come soon…
Thoughts? Tell me in the comments below.