In general, I really love horror stories. I love the movies, the books, the TV shows–all of it. I prefer the more psychologically scary stories, and Amity by Micol Ostow was definitely a mind bender. I did not put together that it was about the Amityville house, ever, but apparently there are a lot of similarities. I haven’t seen those movies in a very long time, and I was able to appreciate Amity as a stand-alone novel. Unfortunately, between the incoherent plot, muddled writing, and the fact that I could care less about the characters, I was completely let down by Amity.
Basically, Amity is a strange, old house located in New England. The story is told between Connor ten years earlier and Gwen in the present. Both Connor and Gwen have known mental disorders. Connor is more of a sociopath while Gwen sees things that aren’t there. The plot goes on to show how Amity is affecting both characters’ mentally. They become more detached from reality. It is not just these two characters that can feel the house; their families, though in denial, also sense something terribly wrong with the old house.
This was a fantastic premise for me. Though a little cliché, I enjoy the classic haunted house story. Where Amity went wrong was not in the imagery. I felt that the novel had a very good way of describing what was mentally happening to Connor and Gwen.
Where Amity disappointed me was in the plot execution. I know that adults in these types of books seem to be more unwilling to accept that something awful is happening to their house, but, seriously? These parents were blatantly ignoring doors that lock without locks anywhere on them, things moving without anyone touching them, and not to mention the fact that one of the family’s sons decided that sleeping in the creepy basement with an axe was A-Okay. I just could not connect with any of the characters. Maybe because Amity took so long explaining just what was wrong with Connor and Gwen, but I just didn’t care what happened to them or their various relatives. The only character I was really invested in was Gwen’s aunt who was hardly in the book. Also, the plot was very hard to follow. I didn’t know if what the characters were seeing was actually happening or a psychotic delusion.
Amity was a very fast read. My Kindle app said it would take me under four hours to finish the book. It was right. I’m not sure who I can recommend this book to. Not teenagers. There was too much gore and horror for children under 17, but it also seemed too childlike for adults or even young adults. It was like the author took Stephen King’s ideas and diluted them for another audience. All-in-all, I wasn’t too disappointed since it was such a short book.
Sarah Emily Lelonek has a BA in English Literature from Kent State University. She is currently enrolled at Tiffin University in their Master’s of Education program. She enjoys traveling and gaming while on breaks from working on her novel.
Review copy was provided free of any obligation by EgmontUSA. No monetary or any other form of compensation was received.