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Book Review: Whirlwind (Dreamhouse Kings Book 5) by Robert Liparulo

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The fifth installment in Robert Liparulo’s Dreamhouse Kings series picks up from the cliffhanger ending of Timescape, with David King trapped in a bone-filled prison, and Xander locked into a life threatening confrontation with Taksidian. Unlike the previous installments in the series, Liparulo graciously incorporates some expository details to reminds readers of the general elements of the previous titles in the series. Still, each title builds upon the events of the others, creating deeper layers of mystery and meaning; as always, head back to the beginning, House of Dark Shadows, if you’re new to this captivating series.

Liparulo’s staccato, intense prose sweeps readers once more into the world of the King’s and their mysterious home on a wild adventure ride. When Whirlwind arrived in the mail I devoured it in a day – par for the course with the addictive Dreamhouse Kings series. Liparulo’s writing continues to maintain it’s excellence, with no lack of momentum, plot failure, or disappointment, each additional title only serving to add to the growing sense of anticipation that readers are now feeling as we look towards the March 2010 release of the series finale Frenzy.

If you read very, very slowly, and pace yourself (is this even a possibility with this series?), you’ll be able to avoid the aggravating wait between each new book. Thankfully the entire series has been scheduled for release over a period of a little less than two years, keeping reader anticipation high – no wait of years between new episodes.

Though still keeping his cards close to his chest, and revealing detail in incremental quantities, Liparulo gives a few more glimpses into the purpose of the house, and more importantly – of the King family’s special calling. Woven together with these revelations, more notable inclusions of God’s work are included in what has largely been somewhat light in traditionally Christian elements. There’s no doubt that plenty of further unfolding of the Dreamhouse Kings mysteries remains to be unveiled in the story’s climax.

A stronger emphasis on the importance of history and its study is felt in Whirlwind which might very well result in the series’ inclusion on summer reading lists. Parents and educators reading for worldview will likely detect some subtle old-earth references working their way into the storyline, but it’s not distinctive enough for me to make a solid call in this area.

As Xander and David catapult through dangerous time periods — barely managing to emerge from them alive — I’m surprised that they are ever able to make a difference as they blast through the realms behind the portals. Still, they continue to press on bravely in their ongoing search for answers, encountering ever more surprising settings. The final time the brothers find themselves in is incredibly intriguing – and Liparulo’s trademark ending will certainly leave you on tenterhooks in this remarkable (and surprising) culture.

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