Tuesday, February 25, 2014

House of Secrets by Christopher Columbus and Ned Vizzini Review

House of Secrets (House of Secrets #1) 
by Chris Columbus and Ned Vizzini
Available Now
Balzer and Bray
Hardback 490 pages
To Buy Links-
Amazon/ Kindle/ Audible/B and N/ Book Depository/ Indiebound/ Kobo

GoodreadsThe Walker kids had it all: loving parents, a big house in San Francisco, all the latest video games . . . but everything changed when their father lost his job as a result of an inexplicable transgression. Now the family is moving into Kristoff House, a mysterious place built nearly a century earlier by Denver Kristoff, a troubled writer with a penchant for the occult. Suddenly the siblings find themselves launched on an epic journey into a mash-up world born of Kristoff’s dangerous imagination, to retrieve a dark book of untold power, uncover the Walker family’s secret history and save their parents . . . and maybe even the world.


This is what I call an EPIC adventure. Almost 500 pages of nonstop action  shared by the ever resourceful Walker kids and some characters from fiction who seem to serve their purpose outside the pages of their books. Let's see if I can make some sense out of it for you.

This is a hard book to review. So much happens and so many characters go in and out of the book that it's hard to tell you about it. The main characters are the Walker children, 15 year old Cordelia, 12 year old Brendan and 8 year old Eleanor. They find themselves battling the Wind Witch an evil woman that has a wish that only one of the Walker children can fulfill for her. She sends the house hurtling through Denver Kristoff's novels where the Walker children meet characters, good and bad, that lead or chase them through their adventure.

There are giant cyclops, savage Viking like warriors that serve a Queen who eats little children's fingers. An ocean filled with carnivorous sharks and blood thirsty pirates, the captain of which performs horrifying experiments on his captives. Bones come to life becoming full skeletons, fighting against the Walkers.  A WWI pilot crash lands scaring savages away. Grenades, Sopwith Camels, Walther PPK's, a boy wanting to be a man.  A girl with a crush.  A boy forced to be a man before his time. Chivalry, sibling rivalry, family bonds.  It' all in there. So much more. As I read this book, and I read it over several months, I found I could put it down and pick it back up with no problem even after a week or more. I could pick right up where I'd left off and not forget what had happened before. I think it' a great read aloud book. One chapter a night, it would be a great one to share with your kids. 

Now you might wonder why I took so long to read it, I had to stick other books in between as this was my own book I was trying to read for pleasure. Things got in the way of it, but I was really happy I never forgot what was going on. It is full of adventure and mystery, characters from books coming into existence. It's just a really full book. I can see a movie as I read the book, see it happening as I read it. It's really creative and though this story is wrapped up, the overall story arc is far from over.

I'm interested to see how this continues with Ned Vizzini's passing. This is a series and I wonder if Christopher Columbus will continue to write this series on his own or find another writer to co-author with. Or maybe several of the books have already been written. Whatever the case may be, I do hope that the series continues. 

Have fun with the pirates!! And watch out for the Book of Doom and Desire.






10 comments:

  1. I've been wanting to read a book by Ned Vizzini for awhile, though I likely won't start with this one. Still, it seems like an entertaining novel, albeit not my usual genre/age range. I'm glad you enjoyed it, though, Heather and it seems to have been an exciting journey! Wonderful review.

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    1. Since you like fantasy, I would recommend The Other Normals. I really enjoyed that one. I can't remember if it's YA or MG but it was comical with a teen making very awkward mistakes, grappling with puberty (he' a very late bloomer) and an alternate universe.

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  2. Sounds like quite the adventure and the cover is neat with the house seemingly coming out of the sea

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    1. Yeah, there is a reason the house has all those barrels underneath it when the Walker parents buy it, besides the builder of it being eccentric.

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  3. This seems like a fun book though a part hard to keep track of things especially in a 500 book. Sounds like a nice summer read and I do know just the right kids who would love this book. Thanks for the recommendation, Heather!

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    1. I didn't have a hard time keeping track, like I would have in say, Harry Potter, or Inkheart, but I don't know about younger readers. I did see the second book is about to release.

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  4. I know what you mean... so much going on it makes it harder to review. I think you did a brilly review! I love that you were able to intersperse other books and still not be lost when you came back. Makes it memorable. Oh I might have to read it and then pass it along. Great review!

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    1. Yes, it's hard to hit everything and not give things away, but it was a simple story and not a simple story. I really enjoyed it. It was part Goonies, part Percy Jackson (jr version) and part Gremlins.
      How's that for a mash-up Oh, and add some Home-Alone with the three Walker Kids.

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  5. Okay, is this considered more MG or YA? It sounds like lots of fun and I am up for a big adventure and I want to meet some pirates!

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    1. I think it's considered MG especially with the adventure. It definitely is a fantasy, set in the real world but it quickly moves into the fantasy world. There is a small romance which I think will reappear in later installments so it might be a bit like Harry Potter, they are too young in the beginning and as the series grows the character will get old enough for romance. I am not saying this is like Harry Potter. It's totally different. Not similar at all. The kids are not magic, not that we have seen yet.

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