House of Secrets
House of Secrets

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Series: House Of Secrets Vol. 1   

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Annotation: Cordelia, Brendan, and Eleanor Walker, aged fifteen to eight, must rely on a mysterious book to face the Wind Witch and her father, the Storm King, who have kidnapped Dr. and Mrs. Walker and brought them to a strange world of magic.
Catalog Number: #76064
Format: Perma-Bound Edition
All Formats: Search
Publisher: HarperCollins
Copyright Date: 2013
Edition Date: 2013
Illustrator: Call, Greg,
Pages: 490 pages
Availability: Available
ISBN: Publisher: 0-06-219247-7 Perma-Bound: 0-605-73829-7
ISBN 13: Publisher: 978-0-06-219247-9 Perma-Bound: 978-0-605-73829-4
Dewey: Fic
LCCN: 2012051815
Dimensions: 22 cm.
Language: English
ALA Booklist
When director Columbus and author Vizzini collaborate on a title, it's guaranteed to be cinematic and imaginative. This series opener introduces the bickering but affectionate Walker siblings: 15-year-old bookworm Cordelia, 12-year-old lacrosse player Brendan, and 8-year-old dyslexic Eleanor. Their parents find an unexpected deal of a new house in an exclusive San Francisco neighborhood. The builder was an esoteric fantasy writer known for stories with exotic locales. Unfortunately, his elderly daughter lives next door and is soon revealed to be more than just distinctly creepy; she is a witch who spirits away the Walker parents and hurls the house, with the children inside, into the locales of her father's works. So begins a swift-paced, mildly gory, clever page-turner perfect for any reader who has wanted to take part in literary adventures. With pirates, witches, warlocks, dashing WWI flying aces, satisfyingly real sibling relationships, and the opportunity to rescue one's parents, there's something for everyone. While the writing isn't especially elegant, the story is compelling, great fun, and sure to be popular. HIGH-DEMAND BACKSTORY: This novel was preempted within 24 hours, rights have been sold in 15 territories worldwide, and there's a major national marketing campaign in the works. Get ready.
Horn Book
Moving into a new house launches three siblings into cinema-ready hijinks. Transported into a mash-up of the former owner's fantasy-adventure books, they are charged with finding a powerful (and evil) book. Part Inkheart, part Lemony Snicket, this whirlwind nonsensical tour of adventure-novel clichis prioritizes action over character development but turns out enough impressive set pieces to win over genre fans.
Kirkus Reviews
Columbus and Vizzini craft a fast-moving, cinematic narrative that packs plenty of punch but may still have trouble measuring up to the competition. The plot is predictable yet peculiar. Three kids lose their parents suddenly--and horribly--before being thrust into a series of manic adventures. The action ping-pongs wildly from a primeval forest peopled by savage warriors to the high seas, festooned with murderous pirates and hungry sharks, to a medieval-style castle ruled by a vicious queen. The children are cardboard characters at best: Cordelia, the brainy, bookish oldest sister; Brendan, the hyperactive, game- and sport-obsessed 14-year-old brother; 8-year-old Eleanor, spunky and sweet with a learning disability thrown in for spice (and plot potential). Secondary characters are even more sketchily drawn, which suits perfectly in some cases but weakens their impact in others. The text often reads like a script, providing direction rather than description. Some details seem gratuitously gross and/or violent, and the dialogue doesn't always ring true. Worst of all, how the authors get their heroes out of trouble and back to the real world seems anticlimactic and, even within the fantastic framework of the story, not entirely believable. Ending with the promise (or threat) of further adventures, this is clearly intended to be the next big thing--whether it fulfills that ambition remains to be seen. (Fantasy. 10-14)
Publishers Weekly
In a rousing adventure reminiscent of The Emerald Atlas, director Columbus (The Help) and author Vizzini (The Other Normals) catapult a trio of siblings across time and space, as they square off against a forgotten writer-s literary legacy. When eight-year-old Eleanor, 12-year-old Brendan, and 15-year-old Cordelia Walker move with their parents into the ancient, eerie Kristoff House, they instantly suspect something-s not right. Then they-re attacked by the Wind Witch, their parents go missing, and the entire house is thrust into a bizarre conglomeration of settings taken from the works of Denver Kristoff, a prolific early 20th-century author. Seeking a missing book of immense power, the siblings battle warriors, giants, pirates, and skeletons to get home again. The nonstop action comes with increasingly high stakes, various scenarios paying homage to the likes of H.P. Lovecraft and Robert E. Howard. The kitchen sink aspect of the plot gives the story a somewhat crowded, frenetic feel, but the deft characterizations and wildly imaginative concept more than make up for it. Final art not seen by PW. Ages 9-up. Agent: Dorian Karchmar, William Morris Endeavor. (May)

School Library Journal
Gr 4&11;8&12; Brendan, Cordelia, and Eleanor Walker are dragged by their parents to look at houses in San Francisco. Their father, a doctor, has lost his job due to an incident at the hospital, and the family has to downsize. The Kristoff House overlooking the bay seems to be too good to be true for the money, but, surprisingly, their father buys it. Once the family moves in, all kinds of strange things start to happen. It turns out that there is bad blood between a former owner of the house, Denver Kristoff, and an ancestor of the Walkers. Kristoff's daughter is now the Wind Witch, and she has enticed the family to the home so that she can get hold of The Book of Doom and Desire , which she plans to use as her vehicle to rule the world. To accomplish this, the witch incapacitates the parents and sends the children into the books her father created in the hope that they will help her retrieve the magical tome she desires. Along the way the youngsters meet many of Kristoff's characters, some of whom help them and others who try to annihilate them. The setup of the story drags a bit, but once the siblings leave contemporary San Francisco for the magical world of the Wind Witch, the pace picks up. The young Walkers are plucky, quick thinkers whom readers will grow to love. With a new adventure that seems to arrive with every chapter, the story unfolds quickly, thus keeping kids hooked and wanting to find out what will happen next.&12; Elizabeth Kahn, Patrick F. Taylor Science &; Technology Academy, Jefferson, LA
Word Count: 88,600
Reading Level: 4.6
Interest Level: 3-6
Accelerated Reader: reading level: 4.6 / points: 13.0 / quiz: 158093 / grade: Middle Grades
Reading Counts!: reading level:4.3 / points:21.0 / quiz:Q60656
Lexile: 690L

Hailed as “a breakneck, jam-packed roller coaster of an adventure” by J. K. Rowling, this New York Times bestseller is the first installment in the explosive tween fantasy series by famed Hollywood director Chris Columbus (of Harry Potter fame) and bestselling author Ned Vizzini (It’s Kind of a Funny Story).

Siblings Brendan, Eleanor, and Cordelia Walker once had everything they could ever want. But everything changed when Dr. Walker lost his job. Now the family must relocate to an old Victorian house, formerly the home of occult novelist Denver Kristoff—a house that simultaneously feels creepy and too good to be true. By the time the Walkers realize that one of their neighbors has sinister plans for them, they’re banished to a primeval forest way off the grid.

Bloodthirsty medieval warriors patrol the woods around them, supernatural pirates roam the neighboring seas, and a power-hungry queen rules the land. To survive, the siblings will have to be braver than they ever thought possible—and to fight against their darkest impulses. The key may lie in their own connection to the secret Kristoff legacy. But as they unravel that legacy, they’ll discover that it’s not just their family that’s in danger . . . it’s the entire world.

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