Monday, April 20, 2015

House of Secrets by Chris Columbus and Ned Vizzini

House of Secrets by Chris Columbus and Ned Vizzini is a juvenile fantasy adventure.

The Walker family has fallen into a bit of hard luck. Dr. Walker has lost his job after an embarrassing incident, and the family is hoping to relocate, but homes in San Francisco are mostly far out of their price range. When the real estate agent shows them Kristoff House, a lovely Victorian in a prestigious neighborhood, they jump at the property when they learn that it is inexplicably well within their price range. Of course, if something seems to good to be true, it probably is. Shortly after they move in, the Walkers are visited by an old witch who has a grudge against their family, and nefarious plans for them that cause the Walker children, Cordelia, Brendan, and Eleanor, to be trapped in a fictional fantasy world peopled by barbarians, giants, and pirates. She will only let them escape if they obtain for her the mysterious Book of Doom and Desire that appears at key points during their adventure. However, giving the book to the witch might just plunge the entire world into chaos. Is there any way that the Walkers can find their own way back to their world?

This book has a promising plot, and the sort of cinematic sensibilities you'd expect from Chris Columbus, who has directed his share of epic fantasies. Unfortunately, the book is marked by a lack of character development and a tendency to rush from one far-fetched adventure to another, to the point that the story didn't feel like it was progressing at all, just running along like a hamster on a wheel. This is another juvenile fantasy that may appeal to young readers who are enthusiastic about fantasy and adventure, but is unlikely to find many fans among more discerning readers.

(Reviewed from an e-audiobook borrowed through my library system.)

No comments:

Post a Comment