by Micol Ostow
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For fans of Stephen King and American Horror Story, a gruesome thriller suggested by the events of the Amityville Horror.Connor's family moves to Amity to escape shady business deals. Ten years later, Gwen's family moves to Amity for a fresh start after she's recovered from a psychotic break. But something is not right about this secluded house. Connor's nights are plagued with gore-filled dreams of demons and destruction. Dreams he kind of likes. Gwen has lurid visions of corpses that aren't there and bleeding blisters that disappear in the blink of an eye. She knows Amity is evil and she must get her family out, but who would ever believe her? Amity isn't just a house. She is a living force, bent on manipulating her inhabitants to her twisted will. She will use Connor and Gwen to bring about a bloody end as she's done before. As she'll do again. Alternating between parallel narratives, Amity is a tense and terrifying tale suggested by true-crime events that will satisfy even the most demanding horror fan.
While the tagline boldly states for fans of Stephen King and American Horror Story, I am not entirely sure that it did Amity any favors. Amity by Micol Ostow is not a retelling of the original Amity house, but rather a book inspired by the events that occurred there. While the tale is atmospheric and has creepy moments, it does not have that smooth, eerie, descriptive vibe that is notoriously King. Amity is a young adult horror that explores the psyche of two characters, and its intended audience will enjoy the atmospheric, suspenseful tale.
Amity delves into two different families arriving at and living at Amity. One occurs ten years ago and another in the present. There is Gwen’s family who has just moved into the present day Amity, then Conner, and his twin sister Jules, who lived there in the past. All of the characters are creepy, no downright weird would be more appropriate. Even their parents will make you shiver. Gwen suffered a mental breakdown prior to the move, and the author explains what occurred later in the novel, leaving us to guess for most of it. Conner, on the other hand, is disturbing and the more the author shows -well let us just say it made me shiver and leave it at that.
Amity takes us back and forth between the two families and the creepy events that unfold during their stay. As the tale progresses the two stories intertwine leaving the reader, scrambling to sort out what is real. The tale has some horror scenes that will remind you of the Amityville Horror movie, but these are tamer and toned down. Amity is itself a living breathing entity with a personality all of its own and I must give credit to Ostow in this regard.
As much as I enjoyed the creepy moments and suspenseful vibe, the tale had flaws that kept me from completely losing myself within its pages. I loved how Ostow weaved in historical facts and the multiple perspectives but at times, it did not move fluidly. Some moments felt rushed while others were over the top. The author does an excellent job of keeping the reader off balance through her characters and the house itself. I questioned the magical aspect of Gwen and wonder if it did not hurt the story. The characters are strange, and the author makes you look at them askew. They are not likeable, and I do not believe we were supposed to connect to them in any real way but it created a disconnect. Despite some predictable moments and lag in areas overall, I enjoyed this atmospheric tale and applaud the author’s approach.
Young adults looking for a creepy, hair-raising horror will find Amity weird, horrifying and twisted.
I often wonder if those comparisons are doing anyone any favors – maybe people pick up the book, but then it’s like their doomed to be disappointed. The creepy sounds pretty good, but I really need to connect to my characters. The fact that there wasn’t just a disconnect, but that they are not at all likeable makes me think this really isn’t for me. Great review though!
No, it was just wrong to mention them, and it is a shame because some aspects were well done, and I liked the author’s approach to it.
Yeah . . . I didn’t think this would be a good one for me, and you have confirmed it. I don’t like creepy and horrific under the best of circumstances and books with significant plot holes definitely do not fall into the category of best of circumstances. Neither do books with unlikable characters. I’m sorry this wasn’t a great book for you, but I’m glad to (for one, LOL) be able to solidly cross a book of the list 😉
It wasn’t one I would purchase, but aspects were good. I think you will be fine passing on this one.
Sharon - Obsession with Books
I remember Amityville Horror from years ago! I don’t think this one would be for me.
A great review Kimba.
Thanks Sharon 🙂
Tyler H Jolley
I’m bummed it wasn’t as awesome as the synopsis. I think building it up with comparisons to Stephen King and American Horror Story (first season only please), really sets the bar high.
I agree Tyler, and while aspects were well done overall it was a let down.
I found this book very confusing. I was disappointed, but it’s made me want to look for more YA horror.
I hope we see more Horror in YA, The Girl from the Well is suppose to be really good
I haven’t heard of that one but I’ll check into it. Say Her Name by James Dawson was really good, but I had to order it from Book Depository. It doesn’t appear to have been released in the US.
bummer it isn’t in US, but I will take a look at BD for it, thanks Jenna!
One movie where the house felt like a character, the original “The hauntin” – it terrified me years ago lol ! But I don’t think this novel is for me 🙂
Ooo I love when that happens, and the author did a good job of making the house feel alive.
I don’t like it when they print an author or book comparison on a book cover. It sets the book up for failure since there is some level of expectation beyond the synopses. To bad about this one not working out. The premise sounds good. Thank you for your review.
Agreed, and while not many YA readers are old school King fans, it did set the bar way to high.
The cover kinda reminds me of the movie ”Monster House.” I had the creeps watching that movie when I was younger and this one sounds SO SCARY.
It has some creep-tastic moments that kept me reading Lola
Ah how unfortunate! I find that when books try to really hype it up via using “big names”, it can result in high expectations and sometimes disaster. I’m glad there was still a few things you enjoyed despite it not living up to to the hype.
Yeah, it was a mistake, and overall it fell flat for me.
Well, the cover kicks butt! Too bad the story didn’t live up to the description.
Moments were lovely, others not so much 🙂
I haven’t heard of this one before- but that cover sure looks creepy! Great review.
Agreed, the cover is creep-tastic!
I have a feeling I’d be majorly disappointed in this as a huge horror/King fan. It does sound like it has promise, but I just know I’m going to have the same issues you did. Thanks for your honest review!
It was a mistake to mention him, aspects were good but ultimately I wasn’t thrilled
It’s a shame you didn’t love this one to death, but I think I may still check it out. the Amityville house has always held a huge fascination with me, and I’d love to see how this story incorporates it. And a little twisted and creepy is good!
It was an interesting twist Liz, as long as you don’t expect King. It wasn’t bad, or I would have done a DNF
I’ve heard mix things and i will give it a pass.
Thanks for commenting Roro 🙂
I think all the reviews I’ve seen for this book have been in the 1-2 star range. It’s too bad, the premise is cool and I love scary books when they’re done well, but I think many of the things that bothered you would bother me, too. It doesn’t sound like a fun read at all. Hope your next book is better!
Thanks Wendy. Aspects were good , but overall I was disappointed.
Fab cover but I’m not liking the disjointed feel of the book. Think I’ll be passing on this one. Hopefully the publishers will realise that setting expectations too high is setting a road to failure.
Thanks Trish, yeah it was a bad decision on their part.
Amber from my review, “it did not move fluidly. Some moments felt rushed while others were over the top. I questioned the magical aspect of Gwen and wonder if it did not hurt the story. The tale has some horror scenes that will remind you of the Amityville Horror movie, but these are tamer and toned down. I think for its intended audience the horror aspect is good, but none of the characters were likable creating a disconnect.
I’m my mother’s child and my mother hates Stephen King so I’ve never read a SK novel (nor do I plan on it) so I wonder if I would like this.
Hm…it does sound creepy though. I’m sorry that you didn’t like it, what were the flaws if I may ask?
Amber Elise @ Du Livre
I hate that this didn’t turn out for you. It really does a book a disservice to compare it to such great works as Stephen King and then have so many flaws.
Agreed Melanie, thanks 🙂 aspects were good but overall it failed.
Good to hear the creep level and suspense was there, but sorry there were a few flaws that kept you from completely immersion into the story
Braine Talk Supe
Thanks to my very long TBR I won’t be able to read this anytime soon and I don’t think I’ll add it either. I am a fan of the original one and I won’t be able to not compare this with that and from your review, I think I will be disappointed.
I loved the original too but this was suppose to be different..sadly it didn’t pass.
Ooh, being compared to Stephen King is…not always a good thing, especially if they’re writing’s not on that level. And King is his own level. Creepy is good but it sounds like it needed more to really capture you.
Agreed Mary, it was a big mistake
I loved the original Amityville Horror book and movie, but this doesn’t sound that good to me. Not connecting with a character would be a DNF for me, I think. Thanks for the well thought out review.
Thanks Lorna, aspects were well done, but sadly this one just didn’t wow me.
I love stories like this, although another review I read said it misleads readers into thinking there’s a connection to Stephen King and/or The Amityville Horror, when it has neither!!!
Yes, I stated that in my opening paragraph as well, and I think it hurt this book as my expectations were not met. To be fair it does state this is not a retelling, but the flow just wasn’t there.
I am so glad I skipped this one. I was tempted having read the original book and watched both the original and remake, but I had a feeling this would be a flop. You reaffirmed my decision.
I loved the original book and since this was suppose to not be a retelling I had hoped for more. Thanks Heidi
I was too big of a weenie to give this one a try, but it might not have had me sleeping with the lights on after all. Sorry this one didn’t blow you away, but I’m glad there were still some aspects you could enjoy. Great review!
You are not a weenie..LOL
Sounds like a nice Halloween book, if you aren’t looking for anything too substantial. Sorry it didn’t entirely work for you!
Thanks Lauren, aspects where fantastic but overall it fell flat for me.
That is one creepy cover! As you probably can guess, this book is probably not for me. I can handle some horror in YA but this sounds like one I wouldn’t even pick up. Sorry it wasn’t better for you though.
Yes, not for you Candace even the watered down YA version 🙂
I have seen Ostow’s name around before but don’t think I have read anything by him yet. Your review keeps his name on my radar. It is pretty hard to keep up with King. LOL
I agree Sherry, thanks 😉
When I saw the title, I muttered not again. I’m glad I read your review at the very least my mind is open again. I love horror, so we’ll see what we’ll see.
Anna from Shout with Emaginette
Yes, I think having read the original and being a die-hard Stephen King fan hurt my enjoyment.
That’s too bad this book was a let down. Sounds like it could have been really great!
Thanks Christa 🙂
Felicia the Geeky Blogger
This does sound interesting. Even though it didn’t completely pull you in, I am glad to see horror books for teens! That is awesome!
Me too Felicia 🙂
Yeah, I was hoping for something better too. My review will come next week. I just don’t think publishers do their authors any good when they set the bar so high..SK and AHS are way out of this stories league. If I wouldn’t have went into it thinking it’s going to be as good as Steven King then maybe it would have been better..or I am just desensitized to horror novels..after reading SK..lol.
I don’t read almost any pure horror anymore, but this certainly sounds creepy. I read the true story book, and saw the original Amityville Horror with James Brolin, what a good one! Thanks for sharing this– I’m sure it’s a good fit for a younger horror audience.
That is the biggest issue with comparing a book to another masterpiece in the blurb! You’re left with these huge expectations and feelings of excitement and then when it doesn’t deliver, you’re disappointed.
Fluidity is so important in horror books for anyone to really feel like they are also in the story. I’m sorry to hear this was a disappointment for you, Kim! 🙁
Lovely review though!
Yeah, I think doing that only sets the reader up to be disappointed,
Hmm, I’ll have to put this on the maybe list. I absolutely loved the original Amityville Horror movie and anytime I see those fan-like windows in other houses, it still creeps me out! lol Anyway, great review!
I loved the movie too, but this is based on the original real-life Amity and aspects were done quite well. I am not displeased that I took the time to read it.
Hmmm… I really enjoyed the Amityville movies (and the Amityville themed CSI:NY) but I’m not sure about this one. I haven’t read much horror so this may be a good way to try the genre but I’m guessing the things that didn’t work for you wouldn’t work for me. I’ll have to add this to the think about it pile. Great review!
It wasn’t a compete loss or I would have done a DNF. Some aspects were brilly but I struggled with others.
Oh man! I got all excited just reading the title! I’ve always been a fan of the movies and books about the Amity house. I guess I won’t waste my time with this one. 🙁
It might be worth a library read, there were some commendable points to the book.
Hmm, point taken. Just maybe. 🙂
I’m not a fan. I can’t even watch a horror movie, a creepy sound makes my bones go mushy. LOL I liked the way you wrote the review though. You’ve written what you liked most and what you don’t. Interesting yet creepy. (It’s supposed to be I guess. LOL)
Thanks Margarette, even though this wasn’t a winner with me, I kept reading..so aspects were good. It just didn’t work as a whole.
I’m not fan of either creepy or horror stories so I’ll stay away from this one. But it does sounds good and I’m glad you enjoyed it overall. I’m not sure that that comparison in the blurb will do good for this book, but well we’ll see. Great review, Kim 🙂
Yeah Tanja, while this was toned down, it is edgy for it’s intended audience.
Wow, well that sucks. I was looking forward to this one but I am not liking the sound of the flow or the characters. Hmmm…
It is hard when there isn’t a character to root for.
Oh It’s sad I was really curious about this book mainly about the creepy cover but it’s the second mixed review I see about it so well I think I’ll pass finally.
I know, it does have elements I enjoyed but overall it didn’t work for me.
Thanks for the review…
Sharon's Book Nook!
What a shame this one didn’t work for you, the blurb sells it well though.
Agreed Sharon, and it’s not bad. Aspects made it worth the read.
Faye D'Social Potato
This sounds interesting enough to take a look and to satisfy the horror fan in me, but I guess that’s only as far as it goes 🙁 I have never watched or read or whatever the original material this was inspired from, but I’ve heard enough to know that it was creeptastic. Sad that it doesn’t live up to its reputation D: But of well, there are still creepy scenes, and I’ll take that! 🙂
This is creepy, and for young adult I think satisfying enough, it just didn’t work for me as a whole.
Boo to flaws. That is really too bad, I was hoping this one would wow you more.
It wasn’t bad, and I think for a younger audience it will be creepy, but I did have issues with it.
That is one bloody house
Yes it is, and I like how the house feels like a character.