Rachel's Reviews > House of Dark Shadows

House of Dark Shadows by Robert Liparulo
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May 11, 11

Read in March, 2011

My friend randomly grabbed this book for the two of us to read for our college YA Lit Class. It was "horror" week and we were surprised to discover that we were the only ones in the class who found a quality book that we liked. I was pumped to see it was a series. My husband is hooked too and you will be as well once you read it!

Sixteen-year-old Xander, his parents, younger brother (David) and sister (Toria) move from LA to a small CA town into a giant old house. Much to their shock, they discover the house is a portal to other times. I'm not giving details so you'll read it but I will write about why you should. In fact, I'll do my first "Top 5" list for this review:

1) "House of Dark Shadows" (and subsequent books in the series) have very well-developed and unique plots. They are scary moments and violence in the book for sure so I'd recommend ages twelve and up. The plot is intricate and interesting. Keep in mind this is in the action genre so don't expect any romantic twists or slow,lingering writing.

2) This is a fast-paced book. Have some time on your hands because you won't be able to easily put it down but it won't take too long to read either. This series would be an excellent pick for reluctant readers (especially boys). It's not difficult reading persay but it does make you think and I believe RR would feel success as they read these books.

3) You will learn some about history. Each portal is a different time and place than modern day and as the series develops, you really get a solid base of historical fact. It's a nice little addition that Liparulo sucessfully wove into the books.

4) Despite the hardships the characters go through, there is a strong emphasis on family relations. The relationship between the two brothers in particular is really positive. I also appreciate a YA book without the typical "I-hate-my-parents-and-my-entire-family" agnst. The crazy trials this family goes through brings them closer, which is nice to see.

5)The writing is good. The dialogue rings true, the language is descriptive, the action is well-written and the suspension of disbelief occurs nicely (meaning the book is written well enough that you can believe the fantastic.).

In summary, the book is well worth the read as long as you go in with an understanding of the genre.
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