I read a paperback edition of The House With a Clock in Its Walls. This is the first book in the Lewis Barnavelt series.
Genre: Children’s fiction, middle grade fiction, fantasy.
Illustrator: Nathan Collins
Publisher: Templar, Picadilly Press
Originally published: 1973
Pages: 192 (paperback)
Audiobook length: 4 hrs and 33 mins
Synopsis by the publisher:
A DEADLY CLOCK…
When orphaned Lewis Barnavelt comes to live with his Uncle Jonathan, he is amazed to find out there is a wizard in his family!
Lewis experiments with Uncle Jonathan’s spells and uncovers the mystery behind the ticking that he can hear throughout the house, sometimes loud, sometimes quiet, sometimes fast, sometimes slow. It’s an evil clock and it could destroy humankind.
I had never heard of this book or the movie adaption of it before the trailer popped up on our Netflix feed. Immediately after having watched it, I thought “This sounds like it must’ve been adapted from a book!”, so I did a bit of a Google search and found the Lewis Barnavelt series where this was the first book.
The movie trailer looked absolutely magical and dark, so just up my alley, and I had to read the book before we watched it. I also have somewhat of a soft spot for Jack Black when it comes to movies because he’s such a wonderful actor and he’s perfect for quirky and mysterious roles in my opinion.
I loved the magic and darkness in this story. It’s one of my favorite things when authors dare to be a bit more on the darker side in their children’s books. I remember loving that as a kid myself.
We get to experience some of the grief that Lewis experiences after having lost his parents, and also the struggle of trying to find your place and to fit in. This book also touches on the subject of bullying and the challenges of finding out who your true friends are.
And the banter between Uncle Jonathan and Mrs. Zimmermann was hilarious!
But even though there were a lot of things in this book that I really liked and enjoyed, there were a few things that I didn’t like as much.
I think one of the biggest drawbacks for me as a reader was the amount of buildup to the big climax, and then having it resolved so quickly. It felt somewhat anticlimactic, and as if a chunk of the story was just left out altogether.
I also felt like I had quite a few questions that went unanswered, but knowing that this is the first book in a twelve book series makes me think that I’ll get more answers further down the line.
But all in all, I did enjoy The House With a Clock in Its Walls, but I did not love it. It’s one of those very rare instances where I actually liked the movie more than the book. That doesn’t happen too often.
Even so, I will continue on with this series, and I will let you know what I think of the other books as well.
It is creepy, dark, quirky, and funny, but I just had a bit higher expectations for it that it failed to meet. But if you have kids who like Goosebumps and other slightly dark and creepy children’s books, then I would recommend giving this book a chance.
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