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16 December 2008

Book Review - House of Dark Shadows

House of Dark Shadows (not the 1970 movie) is my second book to review as part of Thomas Nelson's awesome (or should I say, "amazing"?) blogger book review program. I ordered "House of Dark Shadows" not really wanting to read a fiction book, but seeing it as the best of the options that were presented.

I honestly haven't read a work of fiction in quite some time. Most of the books I've read lately have been focused on the church, on leadership, etc. House of Dark Shadows, fitting into a genre I wouldn't normally read, brought a pleasant surprise.

It's going to be tough to tell much about the book without spoiling it (though the publisher's write-up on it does a bit of that).

The first book in the series "Dreamhouse Kings," the story centers on a boy named Xander (short for "Alexander") and the experiences in which he and his family become entangled when they move into an old, odd house in the woods in a small town. I suppose it would fit into the "thriller" category, but it's not a narrative that will make you scared to go to sleep at night. I was vaguely reminded of C. S. Lewis' The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe here and there, but it's certainly not a rip-off. And just as the Narnia books are rather easy to read, this one's an easy read, as well, but not so easy as to be insulting to the adult reader.

The pacing was a bit slow toward the beginning of the book, although in retrospect the character development worked quite well this way. A few too many references to pop culture near the beginning made the tale feel a bit forced, but once I got into the story, there were several points at which I just couldn't put the book down. That's just one sign of a good book. I realized early on that it was likely intended for a teen/young adult audience, but that did nothing to diminish the experience. It was very cool to be so engrossed in a book that I didn't want to put it down.

I was under the impression that Thomas Nelson published only Christian-based books, but I was apparently mistaken. If you're hunting for a fiction book that has a great moral and imparts some Christian ideas, this is not the book for you. This is simply a really good story of suspense and weirdness.

I recommend it for some nice, leisurely reading. Be prepared to purchase the second book in the series.


Tony M said...

Strange - I signed up for this after you mentioned it, but have yet to receive the first book I requested through the program. And you're on at least your second review... weird.

Another oddity - I "commented" using the embedded comment form on the main post page, and if I go to that post the comment shows up - but on the main blog page and here it shows as zero comments. I think there's something wrong with your template.

Dean Lusk said...

Actually, the problem seems to have come in because I installed a feature thingy called "intense debate." I'd love to blame that on Jeff Miller over at for turning me onto it, but I really have no idea how to implement it, and that is surely the problem.

I think I'll remove it. That and the little feedback thumbs-up thing at the bottom right of the screen have been used very rarely.

Regarding the book review program, I assume you went through all the confirmation steps...? Yes, you did. You've done this kind of "internet" stuff before. :)

Tony M said...

Yep... and it even said it was being shipped... or processed, or something... but no book yet... I like ellipses... :)

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