Posts Tagged ‘Ned Vizzini’

House Of Secrets

Chris Columbus and Ned Vizzini

house of secretsWhen Brendan, Cordelia and Nell move to Kristoff House they have no idea that they are about to unleash the dark magic locked within.
Now the Walker kids must battle against deadly pirates, bloodthirsty warriors and a bone-crunching giant. If they fail they will never see their parents again and a crazed witch will take over the world.
No pressure then…
House of Secrets is the first book in a major new series.
It’s going to be epic.

After an incident at work leaves their father jobless and the Walker family homeless, the discounted purchase of Kristoff House, the unusual but elegant creation of an eccentric novelist, is too good an opportunity to miss. While the monetary cost is nominal, it all too quickly becomes evident that someone intends for the family to pay a much higher price.

At over five hundred pages, the House of Secrets is a large book by most standards. For the middle grade category it is undoubtedly a beast of a book. But as it moves seamlessly from atmospherically creepy tension, to humor, via heart racing action, breath catching peril and wide-eyed surprise, I found that I was absorbed, entertained and delighted by every single page.

The co-writers film and TV backgrounds shine through. Reading the House Of Secrets was an almost cinematic experience full of wondrous Technicolor images and larger than life characters. This was enhanced by the multiple third person, past tense perspective.
I had no idea what was going to happen next or which fantastical being was about to be introduced to our cast and I felt like I was watching an epic adventure movie from my 80’s childhood.

Although very much a driven by the fast paced plot, I was delighted by the realistically flawed but likeable Walkers. As the eldest of four siblings, the squabbling, antagonistic, yet warm and protective relationship felt spot on and I could, all to easily, identify with the bossy, slightly condescending, mother hen, Cordelia.
While on the one hand the cinematic like nature of the plot, pacing and style kept me completely enthralled, I couldn’t help feeling slightly detached from the action, I definitely felt like an observer rather than a part of the action.

Even though the ending was a little too “Hollywood” for my tastes; ignoring the aftermath of the Walkers experiences on their character development and setting up a little too neatly for the sequel, it totally worked. I am caught hook, line and sinker. I’m looking forward to seeing how the characters develop following on from their fantastical experiences and just what (and who) else Vizzini and Columbus pull out of their collective imagination.

Verdict: Fast paced, action packed fantasy for middle grade to middle age.

Reviewed by Caroline

Read Ned’s guest post “A Day In The Life Of Ned Vizzini” (here).

Publisher: Harper Collins Children’s
Publication Date: May 2013
Format: ARC
Pages: 550
Genre: Adventure, Fantasy
Age: Middle grade
Reviewer: Caroline
Source: Provided by publisher
Challenge: None
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A Day In The Life Of Ned Vizzini

house of secretsWhen Brendan, Cordelia and Nell move to Kristoff House they have no idea that they are about to unleash the dark magic locked within.
Now the Walker kids must battle against deadly pirates, bloodthirsty warriors and a bone-crunching giant. If they fail they will never see their parents again and a crazed witch will take over the world.
No pressure then…
House of Secrets is the first book in a major new series.
It’s going to be epic.

This is probably a cliché, but there is no ordinary day in the life of a writer.

The advantages of being a writer are many:

  1. you get to make your own hours
  2. you get messages from people who appreciate what you do, or hate it — both should be a source of pride
  3. people think you are interesting, unless those people are also writers
  4. almost anything you do can be justified as research
  5. as long as you have a pen and paper, you can do what you need to do

The disadvantage of being a writer is that there is no ordinary day.

For example, today, I am flying to New York City. HarperCollins just published a book that I co-wrote called House of Secrets.

My co-author is the filmmaker Chris Columbus. You might know him from The Goonies, which he wrote, or the first two Harry Potter movies, which he directed. The book is the first in a planned trilogy; we have been working on it for two years and now it’s out! So this isn’t an ordinary day.

Then again, what about yesterday? Yesterday I had a meeting to go to. I work in Los Angeles in television so I go to a lot of meetings. These meetings are like job interviews where you have to prove your compatibility as a human to people who like you as a writer. So that’s not ordinary.

And tomorrow, I’ll be speaking with Chris at Barnes & Noble in New York City. So that’s not normal.

The only normal thing I can do is make myself write.

I find it works best in the morning. 05:00am is ideal. Then the world is still asleep and I can get started without checking my email. I wrap up in a blanket and write on the couch, or I make myself sit at my chair in my office. I drink coffee. Time goes slow when you’re actually writing. I try to get seven pages done before my family wakes up.

So when you talk about a day in the life of a writer, the only thing it really needs to include is writing. And today I was busy telling people that House of Secrets is out, so didn’t even get that done.

But that’s another advantage of being a writer. You break rules.

Guest Post by Ned Vizzini

Ned Vizzini is the bestselling author of the acclaimed young-adult books The Other Normals, It’s Kind of a Funny Story (also a major motion picture), Be More Chill, and Teen Angst? Naaah…. In television, he has written for ABC’s Last Resort and MTV’s Teen Wolf. His essays and criticism have appeared in the New York Times, the Daily Beast,and Salon. He is the co-author, with Chris Columbus, of the fantasy-adventure series House of Secrets. His work has been translated into ten languages. He lives in Los Angeles.

House Of Secrets is published in the UK on the 25th of April by Harper Collins Children’s Books.
House of secrets is available in ebook, paper and hardback formats from Amazon.co.uk.
For US purchasing links click on the book titles in the bio above.

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