The House of Secrets by Chris Columbus & Ned Vizzini
Published: April 25th, 2013 (HarperCollins Children's)
Source: for review from publisher
Series: House of Secrets, #1
Buy the book: Bookdepository
Rating: ★★★☆☆ ½
When Brendan, Cordelia and Nell move to Kristoff House they have no idea that they are about to unleash the dark magic locked within.
Now the Walker kids must battle against deadly pirates, bloodthirsty warriors and a bone-crunching giant. If they fail they will never see their parents again and a crazed witch will take over the world.
No pressure then...
Being blurbed by JK Rowling really sets high expectations for this book. While the setup and storyline were interesting, I wasn't blown away.
I love the idea of the magic in this book. The world is built by mister Kristoff, the former owner of the house and I loved that idea and the interpretation of it. It was creative and very imaginative, almost cinematic at certain parts.
While I liked the three main characters, I felt like I was reading about siblings that reminded me an awful lot of Harry, Ron and Hermione. There was a brave kid, a smart kid and a third one who kept them together.. I wish there was a little more originality there. It wasn't necessarily that they looked like the Harry Potter characters, it was more the feel that I got from them. I mean, they are siblings instead of friends the same age, but I couldn't help but feeling this way.
I really enjoyed reading this book. I really liked the rollercoaster ride aspect of it and I loved the fictional world in the book. Having said that, I think the book dragged on too long. At 560 pages, it's a long book, especially if you consider it's the first book in a middlegrade series. I found it dragging in certain parts and I really wish it hadn't. But to compensate that, the ending felt rushed, predictable and an easy way out. It was terribly obvious and I would have thought that after 500+ pages of adventure and mystery and the characters being thrown into situation after situation, the ending could have been more surprising.
I quite enjoyed myself reading House of Secrets. It sure is exciting and interesting -- I just wish it was a little shorter and the main characters were a little more original. The other characters, however, were excellent. I love how they were portrayed and I really enjoyed reading more about them.
I'm not sure how this compares to Vizzini's other work, as I have not read it, but if you're into exciting and adventurous middlegrades, you might want to give House of Secrets a shot.