Robert Liparulo has done it again. And again. And again. He has given us a serial novel to stand among the longest and greatest of its kind. I no longer will regard Dreamhouse Kings as a series for two reasons. One, the books are all being published within 6 months of each other. And two, the books don't even come close to standing alone. In fact, Liparulo actually has a note at the front of the book saying not to read Timescape unless you have read House of Dark Shadows, Watcher in the Woods, and Gatekeepers first. Preferably within a few months of reading Timescape. Otherwise, you won't have a clue of what's going on. In fact, my only quibble with book 4 of the Dreamhouse Kings series/serial is that there is no "story so far..." segment before Chapter 1.
But that's very minor. And that's the only downside to this book.
Wait, I wish it was longer, too.
When last we met David, Xander, Toria, Ed (their father), and Jesse (their great-great uncle) King, along with Keal (Jesse's caretaker), they were trapped inside a horrific dystopia of the new future. They realize it is what will happen if the villainous Taksidian wind the battle for the King house. But when they return from this future, they find other horrors in their own house-- namely, Taksidian, who severely injures (no, I'm not telling) one of the Kings before leaving. Their only hope is to turn the tables on Taksidian.
The Kings journey from the deck of the Titanic to a Viking raid to try to find their mom, and in the middle of it all, they must uncover the secrets behind the house. Gulp.
Timescape has what made all of the prior Dreamhouse Kings books so great, and it has it in spades. Because Robert Liparulo is working on the story across six books instead of one, he has time to explore the repercussions of the Kings' adventures across time. This is handled well, and it is a refreshing twist not often found in most series. The writing is also top notch, making the pages fly as if blown by a gust of wind. It's ironic that a book with "time" in the title can cause readers to lose track of it, but I wouldn't have it any other way. This only serves as an additional reminder to me why I need to get my hands on a copy of Comes a Horseman, Liparulo's debut.
I can't wait for Whirlwind, coming out in December 2009/January 2010. I hope it lives up to its title.
My rating: 9.5/10
Coming Soon: The Running Man and The Long Walk (Bachman Books)