House of Secrets: Battle of the Beasts by Chris Columbus and Ned Vizzini

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House of Secrets: Battle of the Beasts by Chris Columbus and Ned Vizzini

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Buy House of Secrets: Battle of the Beasts by Chris Columbus and Ned Vizzini at Amazon.co.uk or Amazon.com

Category: Confident Readers
Rating: 4/5
Reviewer: Tanja Jennings
Reviewed by Tanja Jennings
Summary: No genre is off limits for this ambitious and zealous co author team. They produce an imaginative and exhausting tour de force as they unleash a plethora of settings courtesy of their fictional author construct Denver Kristoff. The book bursts with cinematic set pieces with each scene vying to top the scene before it and cliff-hangers galore. It differs from Book one because Columbus and Vizzini make a good attempt at lifting their characters from basic stereotypes by giving the Walker siblings fully blooded ambitions and tempting choices. A movie franchise beckons.
Buy? Yes Borrow? Yes
Pages: 508 Date: March 2014
Publisher: Harper Collins Children's Books
External links: Author's website
ISBN: 9780007465842

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Columbus and Vizzini’s sequel to House of Secrets is action packed, cinematic and compelling. Their influences are myriad and range from the Goonies and early Harry Potter (directed by Columbus) to the fantastical and creepy writings of pulp novelist Robert E Howard, Gothic author H P Lovecraft and Ray Bradbury. The result resembles an explosion of colours from a renegade paint box of genres crossed with high octane movie plots. Fantasy, science fiction, magic, action, horror and war combine to create a curious mix of the supernatural and the historical.

In House of Secrets Cordelia, Brendan and Eleanor experienced a Goonie-like ordeal battling pirates and skeletons with a vengeful witch thrown in for good measure. At the beginning of Battle of the Beasts the intrepid teens are dealing with problems at home and school. Suddenly, they are once again separated from their parents as the eerie Kristoff House magically transports them Wizard of Oz style and they are not in 'Kansas' (in this case San Francisco) anymore but inside the dangerous fictional labyrinth of Denver Kristoff. As they struggle to navigate their new surroundings, they are pursued by Kristoff’s megalomaniac daughter Dahlia. Thrust into the gladiatorial savagery of ancient Rome, they hardly have time to catch their breath before they are confronted by Nazi cyborgs and frost beasts.

It is a frenzied, rollercoaster ride of a book which pays homage to the rambunctious style of movie blockbusters and reflects the spirit of Funke’s Inkheart trilogy, Carpenter’s The Captain Hook Affair and Ende’s The Neverending Story which also explore the power of reading and the intertextual idea of travelling inside books. The authors raid a sweetshop of plots, gleefully dropping war pilots, fearsome creatures, Tibetan monks, flying dogs and bloodthirsty Romans into the children’s world. A powerful book is the key to the way home but is it the ultimate answer? The children must face their greatest trial yet as they discover their deepest dreams and desires. The secrets they uncover will pave the way for a third adventure.

Readers fond of rip roaring yarn style fantasies with siblings in peril should start with the first book in the series, House of Secrets, follow it up with the exciting The Emerald Atlas: The Books of Beginning by John Stephens or navigate the mind-blowing magically mythical world of The Alchemyst by Michael Scott, part of his meticulously detailed six book Secrets of Nicholas Flamel series.

Buy House of Secrets: Battle of the Beasts by Chris Columbus and Ned Vizzini at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy House of Secrets: Battle of the Beasts by Chris Columbus and Ned Vizzini at Amazon.co.uk


Buy House of Secrets: Battle of the Beasts by Chris Columbus and Ned Vizzini at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy House of Secrets: Battle of the Beasts by Chris Columbus and Ned Vizzini at Amazon.com.

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