Thursday, June 21, 2012

Wherein I review House on the Corner by Andrew Leon

Cover Art by Rusty Webb, a blogger buddy, who simply kicks much ass when it comes
to this kind of thing. My hat is off to you Rusty.
I should have done a review of Andrew's book a long time ago. Better late than never I say, so here it is:

In general, I liked this little yarn spun by Mr. Leon. It took me back to the eighties, had plenty of nerdy D&D references, and really made me remember how cool Star Wars was as a kid. I was pretty cool (especially the whole Hoth sequence).

I'm 40, single, and don't have kids. This illustration shows what
I wanted to email Andrew during the first 100 pages. But I am
not this book's target audience. However, I stuck with it!
I think that the first third of this book will appeal to people who just like to hang out with screaming kids (let's call it "character building" for lack of a better description). If asked for a synopsis of these chapters, I would say "a family with three loud and annoying kids moves into a house". Personally, I could have done with a hundred less pages of "character building" since the story for me didn't start until Chapter 15 entitled "the imagination room".

That's where the story finally got interesting. The imagination room is kind of like a gateway to another world, similar to the wardrobe in Narnia. And there is magic, monsters, strange food, and Arthurian legends enough to make any kids' eyes pop. Now, I LOVE all things Arthur. As a caveat to the naysayers who groan at Arthurian stuff, I know it's been done to death, and I too borrow from the legend in my own writing. But I never get tired of it. Does any guy NOT like knights in shiny armor and magic swords? If you answer yes to this question then WE CANNOT BE FRIENDS :P. Just kidding, but be careful what you say.
Morgana is a great villain in the show Merlin.That icy stare
sends shivers down my spine. So you better not be dissin'
on Arthurian legends. We need MORE!

Morgana is watching! =====>>>

We find out later that although there is something special about the imagination room, the true magic resides in a very rare bloodline that produces one wizard and one guardian to a mystical tower that has a lot to do with King Arthur, Merlin, and the sword Excalibur (how's that for a kickass legacy). When I was 7-years-old, I wanted nothing more than my own Excalibur. I read bunches of knight stories and wanted so much to see the movie called Excalibur (it was rated-R). My parents refused to take me because it was "smutty".
My parents wouldn't let me watch Excalibur, most likely,
because of this scene which has Uther ravishing Igraine
and includes some pretty hot armor sex. io9 did a
whole article on armor sex HERE.

The book doesn't have any bad language. I would rate it PG-13 because there is a death in it, but only after a nifty fight scene with a troll named Scromb. The book is also written in first person up to Chapter 22. I don't mind reading first person, but Andrew chose to alternate points-of-view in each chapter to one of three children (their names being Tom, Ruth, and Sam) and you never have any idea who is talking until halfway down the first page of each chapter. Then the book shifts into full-blown third person omniscient in Chapter 22 without any warning to prepare the reader. Maybe this is artistic expression? It doesn't work for me. But I think 13-year-olds and younger won't care, and these are the people for whom I believe the book is aimed. And the content of the story is pretty good. You've got magic, monsters, wizards, a spooky house, mysteries, old books, strange neighbors, and a lot of pop culture references, including the old G.I. Joe dolls from the sixties.

So if you're looking for a book that you can read out loud to your class or to your children, you might want to give House on the Corner a try.

I give this book 3-1/2 stars out of 5.


Check out Andrew's blog HERE.

If you want to own House on the Corner, you can buy it on AMAZON. I don't recommend purchasing it on the NOOK at this time as my copy had severe formatting issues. Andrew was kind enough to supply me with a complimentary pdf to read.

You can mark Andrew's book "to read" on Goodreads HERE, if you would like to be supportive.

Have a happy Thursday my bloggy friends :)


  1. I really enjoyed this review! I remember when you did a blurb on the cover.

  2. Nice review. The book doesn't sound too bad either, being a fan of Authurian legends myself. Don't know about the point-of-view changes though. Guess I'll have to read it to know how it affects the storytelling. :)

  3. Interesting review. I think as human beings we're genetically programmed to want more Arthurian legends.

    I'm not a fan of that kind of pattern of POV shifts, though, but I'm sure it works well for some.

  4. Enjoyed your review. I too like Arthurian legends. Hmm? I think this is the first time I've ever put that thought to computer screen (paper).

  5. Good review. Too bad I missed that armor sex thing on io9 before now. I hate feeling like I don't know stuff.

  6. nice review, Mickey and love the part about Uther :) But you knew I'd love that one....

  7. I haven't read it but I do have his other books on my iPad.
    Yes, the iPad is really, really full at the moment...

  8. Armor sex sounds like it would be pretty painful. And in case you're wondering, there's no armor sex in any of my Scarlet Knight stories. (They always take the armor off first.)

  9. You do a great job of being fair and objective, Mike.

  10. gooder, mike

    funny thing: proud owner of the pendragon cycle trilogy by stephen r. lawhead, consisting of 'taliesen', 'merlin' and 'arthur', written way back in 1987; bought a few days ago from second hand bookstore! :O lol

  11. A good review. I keep hearing about this book and just might give it a read, after I read Slipstream of course.

  12. Thanks for the review, Michael! I really appreciate that you read the book and that you made it through the "screaming kids."

  13. I love the cover for this book--I've seen it on a few blogs and it always caught my eye.

    Great review!

  14. I'm a girl and I love magic swords. (I was going to put one in my current story, but I can't pull it off.) And knights are cool, too.

  15. Do I get banned from commenting if I'm not into Arthur? Nice balanced review, Michael.

  16. I like that you give a link to an armor sex article. That's why I keep returning!

    Thanks for letting me know about Andrew's book.

  17. You write the most interesting reviews. Also, I agree that Rusty Webb's cover art is full of awesomeness.

  18. I appreciate the review. I have so many books on my to-read list right now and mostly I have no idea what they're about, haha. Now I'm more curious to get to this one!

    I have always had a soft spot for the Arthurian legends, although I think they should have more female knights.

    FWIW I don't see why armor sex would necessarily be painful. I guess it depends who's wearing the armor and what pieces of armor they are wearing. But maybe it's obvious to everybody else & I'm just being shockingly naieve. I'd just think it would be unnecessarily heavy and hot. For the armor-wearer. *blushes* I'm shutting up now.

  19. I've seen the book around, but it looks like horror, so I haven't thought about reading it.

    Looked at this cover and think it's pretty cool that it has that 'first person edition' tag. I'm assuming that the writer also did the work and has a third person edition on sale.

    Balanced review, I think.