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When fifteen-year-old Xander and his family move into an old, abandoned house in the middle of a dense forest outside of a small California town, they discover that not only are some of the rooms portals into other places, but that malevolent forces are at work.
Series: Dreamhouse Kings (Book 1)
Genre: YA Fantasy
Publisher: Thomas Nelson (May 6, 2008)
Page Count: 306 pages
When I was a young teen, my sister had this book on her shelf. After sneaking the reading the back cover copy, I begged her to let me read it, but my sister was stingy so she said no. Nine years later I bought the book at Realm Makers because I'm an adult now and I can buy what I want XD
The Plot: Strangely, this book didn't have a very motivating plot yet it kept me reading. Most of the story revolved around the family debating to stay in this new house or not. I still kept reading because I wanted to know what was up with this freaking house--and because I rarely ever DNF. XD I also really liked Liparulo's writing style in this book. It's much smoother compared to other books I've read of his. There's also some mammoth twists that really threw me.
The Characters: I really fell in love with the King family. I liked all of the details about their family quirks like how the kids were all named after kings and queens, including Toria (Like me. I was named after Queen Victoria as well). They felt like a real family. I really liked Xander's interest in film and I sympathized with him having to move abruptly from home and trying to make new friends. I also love the sibling relationship between him and David. I've haven't read a story in a while that had a really good overall family. It was refreshing.
The Setting: Most of the book is set in the titular house which is large and creepy and without giving too much away it has a lot of unique things about it.
Epic Things: I love how many pop culture references are in this book. XD David and Xander reference The Lord of the Rings and Supernatural, among others. And David used video game strategy in one part of the book.
The Theme: Family is the biggest thing. Everything the Kings do they do as a family and they value that bond greatly.
Content Cautions: Dead bodies, severed limbs, and a heart exploding are portrayed but not in great detail.
What We Can Take Away For Our Writing:
1.) An Accurate POV - When I took one of Robert Liparulo's classes at Realm Makers, he spoke about how he got into character for Xander and David. He actually decided to become a young boy for a month. He ate everything his of age sons ate, he played the games they did, and so on and this really paid off. You couldn't tell that a thirty-year-old man wrote this point of view. You really felt in the POV of the boys
How this can be applied to writing: Have you thought of doing extreme things to get into the point of view of your characters?
Conclusion: I enjoyed this book. I would have preferred a motivated plot, but I'm sure the next book will have plenty of that.
About the Author:
I've been writing since before I could drive. Short stories, investigative exposes, celebrity profiles, editorials, business columns, radio dramas, screenplays--you name it. For the last few years, I've focused on novels. I'm the author of the thrillers "Comes a Horseman," "Germ," "Deadfall," "Deadlock," "The 13th Tribe," and the young adult series Dreamhouse Kings--"House of Dark Shadows," "Watcher in the Woods," "Gatekeepers," "Timescape," "Whirlwind," and "Frenzy."
Several of my books have been sold or optioned by Hollywood producers. All of them are in various stages of production. I'm also working on an original screenplay with Andrew Davis (director of "The Fugitive" and "The Guardian). I wrote the screenplay for Ted Dekker's "Blessed Child." My short story "Kill Zone" appears in the James Patterson-edited anthology "Thriller," and my essay on Thomas Perry's "The Butcher's Boy" can be found in the anthology "Thriller: 100 Must Reads."
Check out his website, Facebook, Goodreads and Twitter!
Other books by this author I've reviewed:
The 13th Tribe
The Judgment Stone