Book Review: “House of Dark Shadows”

“House of Dark Shadows (Dreamhouse Kings #1)” by  Robert Liparulo

Genre: Middle Grade/Young Adult Fiction, Fantasy

Source: Library

GoodreadsOther Dreamhouse Kings books

Summary from Goodreads:

When the Kings move to a secluded small town, fifteen-year-old Xander is beyond disappointed. Pinedale is the last place a future filmmaker wants to land. But he, David, and Toria are captivated by all the rooms in the old Victorian fixer-upper they moved into–and by the woods around it. Soon odd things begin to happen: sounds come from the wrong direction; giant footprints appear in the dust; and when David hides in the linen closet, he ends up in a locker at school. When they find a hidden hallway with portals to far-off places in long-ago times, Xander wonders if this is a teen’s dream come true or his worst nightmare.


The book is just as fun as I remember it being.  The book initially leads to you to believe the Kings moved into a haunted house. That is a fun idea but the family slowly discovers there’s much more to the house. It started out as interesting because who wouldn’t want secret passages to places (that don’t quite make sense)? The interesting quickly turned dangerous when the house leads them to different ages and places.

The characters were a bit lacking. Xander was a bit annoying with all of his references to movies and television shows. I wanted to know how he felt. Not how some movie scene made him feel. David was really annoying because he was the typical stupid little brother who puts himself in danger just for the fun of it. The rest of the family were pretty flimsy characters. I want to like them but there’s not much to them. I’m hoping that there will be some character growth as the series continues.

The real exciting twist comes at the very end. To me the ending kicks the book from “that was fun” to “wow, I can’t wait to see what’s to come”.

The audiobook worked pretty well for this book. The narrator did a good job. They story moved pretty quickly so that made listening to it a lot easier. There weren’t a ton of details to get bogged down by so you could enjoy the journey. I finally discovered you can adjust the speed of the narration! It was a huge help for me. I was actually able to get through a ~8 hour book in my 3 week check out window.

The bottom line? A fun book that made me interested in continuing the series.

I read this as part of my Reading Outside the Box Challenge. This was for my Reading By Ear square. See my progress here.

reading outside the box


2 thoughts on “Book Review: “House of Dark Shadows”

  1. I haven’t read this, but it sounds really good! This seems like a book I would have loved when I was younger. Hopefully I can find the audiobook and listen to that sometime as a quick and fun listen is perfect for me. Great review!

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