Friday, September 18, 2009

House of Dark Shadows by Robert Liparulo

House of Dark Shadows by Robert Liparulo
Copyright 2008
Thomas Nelson - YA/Suspense
293 pages, incl. excerpt from Watcher in the Woods
Author's website

Looking for something creepy that won't keep you up at night? I've found the book for you: House of Dark Shadows. Be prepared, though because it's just the first book in a series. If you like this installment of the Dreamhouse Kings books, you'll definitely want to read on.

When 15-year-old Xander's family moves away from his lifelong home to a remote town in Northern California, he's frustrated. He has a close-knit family that he loves, but he was content with his life and happy in Pasadena. Leaving his friends and his girlfriend is awful; it seems likely they'll lose touch with 200 miles between them. When the family finds a huge house near Pinedale that has been unoccupied for several decades, Xander has a strange feeling.

Inside the house, it's impossible to tell the location of a sound if someone calls out. And, there are other creepy things that make him hesitant, like giant footprints in the dust of the dining room and the sensation that he's being watched. But, his parents are adamant. They love the house. In short order they clear the house of 30 years of grime and move in.

When Xander and his younger brother David discover that stepping into a closet takes them on a journey across town, they're a little shocked. But, it's the series of doors upstairs that act as portals through time and space that really intrigue them. What they don't realize is that there are dangers lurking behind those doors. What dark secret brought the King family to the house? Will they survive the house and its dangers?

Brittanie reviewed House of Dark Shadows and I immediately put it on my wish list. Wow, am I glad I trust Brittanie! This book was absolutely perfect for the RIP IV. It's suitably creepy and heart-pounding but lacks significant gore (although there are some violent scenes and there's a little gory description, it's nothing this chick couldn't handle) and it's not so frightening that you can't read it at night. I've already got the second book in the Dreamhouse Kings series, Watcher in the Woods, and I'm going to try to bump that one up to read as soon as humanly possible.

5/5 - A quick, adventurous young adult read -- creepy and surprisingly believable in spite of travel through time and space. While the book is the beginning of the series and there's a bit of set-up, House of Dark Shadows never ceased to hold my attention. I whipped through it pretty quickly and hated putting it down when I had to do the usual Mom things.

Kiddo has fried his computer and needs to use mine to work on an English paper, so I hope to be back later tonight to write a second review. But . . . not now. Hope everyone's having a fabulous weekend!


  1. I am glad you liked the book! My 12 girl cousin is addicted to the series. She has read all of the ones that are out and keeps bugging me when the next one is coming. I still have not read the second though. I need to borrow it back from her. lol

  2. Awwww, Nancy! I saw the title of this book and immediately thought of Barnabas Collins!

    I will admit, however, that it sounds interesting, in spite of my crushing disappointment. ;)


  3. The first thing I thought of when I saw the title was that old soap opera Dark Shadows. The book sounds like fun!

  4. Brittanie,

    Cool that your cousin loves them. I hope the series keeps my interest. At this point . . . well, you know, it's very seldom that I read a book and wish I could immediately begin the next (So Not Happening was one) that it's hard to imagine the series becoming tiresome. We'll see. You do need to borrow back the second one so I can read your review. Selfish of me? :)


    Would you believe . . . I had to look up Barnabas Collins. I have no memory of Dark Shadows, but we had a 100-foot antenna when I was that age and we could only get signals from three stations -- and they weren't all different networks, so there are things I missed. I'd never heard of The Cisco Kid till I married, either.

    Sorry to disappoint you. The book is good. It's light creepy, but I love YA and don't like a book that's so creepy I can't read at night, so I was happy!


    That's what CJ said (see my response, above)! I've probably heard of Dark Shadows but since I never saw it I guess if I did, the name never did sink in. It's a fun book - just the right amount of creepy for wimps like me. :)

  5. Okay, there is something that I love about that cover! Thanks for the review, Nancy. I will have to check it out!

  6. Kailana,

    It's a great cover, isn't it? The person in the window gives you a hint of that little bit of creepiness . . . and I love the colors. Hope you read it! I want to know your thoughts. Which reminds me, I'm behind on reading posts, again. Need an extra day to dedicate to catching up on favorite blogs.

  7. Another one for the shopping cart. Boy, you make this sound good. I looked at one or two of his adult thrillers while I was shopping. They look too gorey.

    I notice there are 4 in this series. Do you know if that's all or will there be more coming?

    Have a good week, Bookfool.

  8. Okay, I love this book. A house that allows you to travel across town is a house I want to live in. :) Minus the evil monsters. Nevertheless this will make a fab read.

  9. Booklogged,

    I'll stay away from his adult thrillers, then! There's some violence and a character who has to dodge dead bodies in House of Dark Shadows, but I thought it was quite tolerable and it certainly is a fun read.

    I think there are more coming. It seemed like an awful big number of covers when I looked at his website - maybe 6 or 7.

    Thanks! You have a good week, too, Cheya!!


    Yeah, I could do without the monster but the house sounded pretty darn cool, otherwise!!

  10. Love this series. My whole family reads them together. By the way, the title is a direct reference to the old Dark Shadows series. 15-year-old Xander is a movie nut and often thinks of things in terms of movies and tv shows he's seen. When he sees the "dreamhouse" for the first time, he gets a creepy feeling and thinks of Barnabas Collins and the Dark Shadows show. It's one of the things I like about the books, that Xander and the others are so real and have little quirks like this.

    I have read his other books (the adult thrillers) and totally recommend them. It's his style that I enjoyed so much from Comes a Horseman and Germ that made me want to read his YA. But if you're squeamish, I recommend Deadfall or Deadlock--they are less violent than the other two.

    Great review. Thanks.

  11. Michael,

    Thanks for telling me that. Since I'm not familiar with the show, it went right over my head. Even though I didn't catch the reference to the TV show, I agree with you that the characters are well-rounded and interesting -- definitely part of the reason I loved the book. I was surprised how believable the book was. For the subject matter, there has to be some skill involved to pull off a decent suspension of disbelief!

    I'm squeamish and prone to nightmares, so thank you. I'll look up the titles you recommended. :)

  12. Great review and I do love the cover - the first thing I thought of was the old vampire soap opera when I saw the title. Glad to know they're not reviving THAT!

  13. Lesley,

    That's funny! Everyone else seems to have loved it and I knew nothing about it. Notice Michael says the main character, Xander, does refer to the show. I passed right over that because I had no frame of reference. We must not have gotten the network that carried that show.


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