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House of Secrets – Chris Columbus & Ned Vizzini

“Brendan Walker knew the house was going to be terrible. 
The first tip-off was the super-cheerful tone the estate agent, Diane Dobson, used with his mother. 
‘It’s truly the most amazing house, Mrs Walker,’ Diane chirped on speaker. ‘The perfect place for a sophisticated family like yours. And its just gone through a major price reduction’
‘Where is this house?’ Brendan asked. Aged twelve, he sat next to his sister, Cordelia, playing Uncharted on his much-loved PSP.”

When the Walker family walked into 128 Sea Cliff Avenue they knew it was impressive, an unobstructed view of the Golden Gate Bridge, a price tag they could afford and all of the beautiful furniture included? Yes please! However the kids, Brendan, Eleanor and Cordelia weren’t so sure, especially once they started seeing things in the garden. Their first night in the house a visiter arrives bearing good will and the power to transform the lives of the Walkers’ forever. The three of them are thrust into an adventure which will bring out traits they never realised they had and test their strength to the max. 

***

With two big name authors I thought I knew what this book had in store for me from the minute I picked it up; good story telling, more adventure than you could shake a stick at and a great cast of characters. Thankfully House of Secrets did have most of this and overall it was a pleasant read. 

I’m going to start off with what I loved about this book and that was that it is very easy to picture the characters, they have strong personalities and the descriptions of them are very easy to picture. I loved that each of the three Walker siblings had their turn in the spotlight and that the story didn’t really allow one to be bigger and better than the other for the most part. You get more of Cordelia and Brendan’s side of things and Eleanor is a little left out but that is mostly due to the fact that Eleanor is a lot younger and therefore not as able to do the things that need doing. 

In addition the idea of the story was great; a house that gets thrust into a fantasy world based on the fictional works of its creator. A group of siblings who have to get through some very sticky situations in order to get home and be reunited with their beloved parents. The evil witch who wants more power than she is capable of handling and who has caused the problems of the siblings. It was a good story however I do think it was a little bit dragged out and not as fantastic as I expected it to be. 

House of Secrets, in all honesty, was a little bit bland for me. It had so much potential and I really do think it was a good story, however its length made it drag and it soon became one tight spot after another with a fairly obvious conclusion at the end. I was disappointed in the ending which really didn’t help things and I did wish it was done differently, or it was done sooner. 

I hate to be negative about this book because it was ok, it just wasn’t fantastic. Its one of those that will get your heart pumping and engross you during the action scenes but when they all roll into one another towards the end you kinda lose faith a little. I am willing to give the second book a go but I doubt very much that this book or its sequel will really stay memorable to me unfortunately. 

House of Secrets was published by HarperCollins on 25th April 2013. My copy was sent to me from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. 

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