Meet the King family ...
The house. There is something just plain weird about that house. The people in town say the previous owner killed his entire family. Or maybe just his wife. Or ... well, no one knows for sure. But the house has been empty for the 30 years since that family disappeared.
But now, the King family is moving in. And weird just barely covers the things Xander and David are discovering as the explore the house and surrounding woods. Secret passages that take them to the school, a hall of doors that open across space and time, footprints in the dust, a meadow where gravity doesn't apply - they aren't quite sure just what to make of it all.
But weird moves to surreal to terrifying when their mother is taken, they learn the secret their dad was keeping and a stranger tries to force them away from the house - the one place they need to solve the puzzles and save the world.
Warning - Potential Spoilers Ahead!
Just look at the titles of the first two books. You know something scary is going to shake down here. But it's not the scary you might expect. No teen slasher-style story line, just a good, fast-paced adventure romp that might scare the pants off of you occasionally. Great fun and I throughly enjoyed these guys.
The story is of the King family and their new house. Which turns out to be an old house for the Kings as the dad used to live there as a boy and the house has been in the family since it was built. But this house has a secret. A big secret. Hidden upstairs is a hallway of doors, portals that open into other times and places. And within the first day of being in the house, mom is kidnapped and taken back through one by a massive brute. What follows is a rally of the troops as dad, Xander and David - with support in the form of mac and cheese from little sister Toria - head into door after door in attempt to rescue her. Along the way, they uncover one door that shows the future - a future they can stop if they can keep Takadasian from getting their house and completing his evil plan.
The King family is at the core of this story - Dad, Mom, Xander (15), David (12) and Toria (9). They've just moved to a new town where dad is going to be the high school principal. Xander is obsessed with movies and is our eyes and ears in the first book. David is on his way to a soccer career and becomes the main character from the second book on. As is tradition in the family, they're named after kings and queens (Alexander, David, Victoria) and generally strike me as pretty cool kids. This is a tight family, with the close bonds and differences brought into sharp relief by the need to rescue mom. They're a family you want to be a part of and it's easy to get attached to them. Supporting characters are brought in and developed with some depth and it's easy to connect and root for (or against) them as well.
We're taken all across time and space through the portals - dropping into the gladiator arena, a Union camp during the Civil War, meeting Hannibal in the Alps. Fortunately the King kids have been well-schooled by their history-loving dad, so they're generally able to figure out where and when they are quickly, using that knowledge to their advantage when they can. Being a history fan myself, it's kind of cool to work that part out along with them. (Yes, I get it first, but I'm not generally under threat of my life at the time, giving me a bit of an edge.)
Highly recommended for your tween to teen boy, although the right kind of girl might like them as well. Lots of violence as they often end up in the middle of battles, nothing gross or overly creepy.
House of Dark Shadows - Dreamhouse Kings Series, Book 1
"If you like creepy and mysterious, this is the house for you! Every room opens a door to magic, true horror, and amazing surprises. I loved wandering around in these books. With a house of so many great, haunting stories, why would you ever want to go outside?" --R.L. Stine (Goosebumps)
Watcher in the Woods - Dreamhouse Kings Series, Book 2
Your turn - Write a review, add a comment, or debate someone who disagrees with you.
What did you think?
Love it! Great read.
Gatekeepers - Dreamhouse Kings Series, Book 3
Timescape - Dreamhouse Kings Series, Book 4
Their destiny is to fix history. Their dream is to get home.
Video Reviews and Fan Trailers of Dreamhouse Kings
Whirlwind - Dreamhouse Kings Series, Book 5
Frenzy - Dreamhouse Kings Series, Book 6
Would You Go Through The Doors?
I absolutely love the idea of being able to walk through a door and be in another time. Seems like a fairly safe way to time travel. However, the Kings rarely find themselves in a nice, safe place in history. Usually, they're dodging bullets, spears and swords almost from the moment they step through. Makes you re-think the whole idea a bit.
Would you go through the doors?
"I consistently find myself in awe of Liparulo's ability to make each story better in this series, always ratcheting up the tension and mystery."