Amity by Micol Ostow

Amity by Micol Ostow
Published by EgmontUSA on August 26, 2014
Genres: Horror, Young Adult
Pages: 361
Format: ARC
Source: NetGalley
Purchase on: Amazon// Barnes & Noble// BookBub
Add to: Goodreads // StoryGraph

I voluntarily reviewed a complimentary copy of this book. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Here is a house of ruin and rage, of death and deliverance.Here is where I live, not living.Here is always mine.
When Connor's family moves to Amity, a secluded house on the peaceful banks of New England's Concord River, his nights are plagued with gore-filled dreams of demons. destruction, and revenge. Dreams he kind of likes. Dreams he could make real, with Amity's help.
Ten years later, Gwen's family moves to Amity for a fresh start. Instead, she's haunted by lurid visions, disturbing voices, and questions about her own sanity. But with her history, who would ever believe her? And what could be done if they did?
Because 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 violent end as she's done before. As she'll do again. And again. And again.
Inspired by a true-crime story, Amity spans generations to weave an overlapping, interconnected tale of terror, insanity. danger, and death.


Well, it seems in doing the RIP IX challenge this October, I am destined to teeter between the good and the bad of horror novels. Last week, we had the really great Darkness. This week, we have the not so great Amity. I should begin by saying that the low, two star rating has more to do with my expectations going into the book, rather than the book itself. Unfair? Possibly, but when you work at creating a tie between your story and an actual, well known story/urban myth, then you open yourself up to be judged by these expectations.

Amity features alternating point-of-view chapters, the first focused on child sociopath Connor, who moves into Amity with his family ten years before our second narrator, Gwen. Through their shared experiences, we uncover the secrets of the Amity house, yet its nothing new or exciting or horrifying. Most of the alternating chapters are simply regurgitating what the previous one touched upon. If we had seen it through a different angle, it would have made more sense. But we don’t. We see Connor having nightmares that wake him at 3:14am, we then see Gwen having nightmares at 3:14am. Connor sees a strange creature going into the boat house in the middle of the night. Following chapter, Gwen sees a strange creature going into the boat house in the middle of the night. There are differences between the narratives at times, but they are few and far between.

Then, there’s the horror, or lack of, in Amity. We hear about all of these things that have poisoned the earth at Amity, have created such a toxic and evil environment that it infects all of its inhabitants forever. But we never see it. The only “scary” things we see are the swarm of flies/wasps that attack on one occasion, the possible cryptid sighting, animal corpses, one attempted drowning, and one allusion to familicide. Yes, it’s meant to be a young adult book, but there is so much more that could be done within the confines of that age group that weren’t. The setting, which at first seemed ominous, just grew boring by the end of the first third of the book. Maybe young tweens might like the book and find it scary, but above twelve, I find it hard to believe readers haven’t been exposed to better horror in either literature or cinema.


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