Review: Amber House

3:25 PM

Publication Date: October 1, 2012
Publisher: Arthur A. Levine Books
Pages: 368
Source: library
Format: Hardcover

"I was sixteen the first time my grandmother died . . ."

Sarah Parsons has never seen Amber House, the grand Maryland estate that's been in her family for three centuries. She's never walked its hedge maze nor found its secret chambers; she's never glimpsed the shades that haunt it, nor hunted for lost diamonds in its walls.

But all of that is about to change. After her grandmother passes away, Sarah and her friend Jackson decide to search for the diamonds--and the house comes alive. She discovers that she can see visions of the house's past, like the eighteenth-century sea captain who hid the jewels, or the glamorous great-grandmother driven mad by grief. She grows closer to both Jackson and a young man named Richard Hathaway, whose family histories are each deeply entwined with her own. But when the visions start to threaten the person she holds most dear, Sarah must do everything she can to get to the bottom of the house's secrets, and stop the course of history before it is cemented forever.

My brain actually hurts from the explosions it just went through. Oh, gee, guys. This book packs a punch. I can't even think right now (because I've just finished the book), which is why this is the only part of the review I'm gonna write now-- the intro.


Okaaay. I've had some time to recover. I'm as ready as I'll ever be! I picked this up at the library, just because of its gorgeous cover. So pretty. *strokes* Then I read the blurb, and I was like. Hm. This sounds super creepy. I don't do super creepy.  Of course that made me a little tentative going in...

I really connected to the main character Sarah. She reminded me a little bit of myself and I just empathized with her almost instantly. Her dialogue and stream-of-consciousness were written very uniquely. The sentences were choppy, blunt, and straight-to-the-point. They were abrupt. And no, I'm not talking about something like Katniss's voice. She spoke matter of factly. I could almost see from the way that she spoke that she was used to being disappointed and hurt, and so she didn't want to put to much emotion into her words (I'm having a very hard time trying to put my thoughts into words here..grr).

Her relationship with her little brother Sammy was the most precious thing.  I have a little brother that's two years younger than Sammy...I understood her fierce protectiveness for him (I mean, hey, I was getting protective of him) and, at the same time, her treating him sort of like a peer. Sammy was so adorable, and the scenes with him and Sarah were so cute. You could tell that they loved each other so much.

Ah, yes. In the blurb it mentions a certain Jackson and Richard. Cue the bored yawn, right?

This is the what out of a billion love triangles I've read. Oh, no, she has to choose between two guys. The DILEMMA. *cough* Sarcasm *cough* That's what I thought at first. That's what my sister thought at first too, because when I read that part of the blurb to her, she sighed.

Fear not. The book wasn't about a girl trying to choose between two guys. It was so much more. It was learning to understand family even though it didn't feel worth it, it was seeing things through different people's eyes. The book was complicated. Not only did it dive into the bad relationship between Sarah and her mom, it showed the sweet moments between her and her brother. Reading this book makes you understand that almost everybody has been hurt and that lives sometimes intertwine in ways you wouldn't imagine.

This wasn't all about people either. Let's remember, this is set in a creepy house that's hundreds of years old. Things happen. I don't want to spill any spoilers, so I'll try to give you an idea of what the book's all about while being vague.

Sarah's the one getting visions of the past but she doesn't know her own abilities until she visits Amber House for the first time. She's creeped out but tentatively decides to embrace it. Most of the book follows her on her journey to find diamonds. What I say next, may be spoilerly so you were warned.   

In essence, this book explored the concept of time. Time wasn't sure, or solid. Time was a moving, living thing that was able to be manipulated. Traveled through over and over again.

Despite all my gushing, there were a couple things that I did not like about Amber House. I feel like it had way to much description going on, especially toward the beginning. For example, if Sarah was going down a hall, she would describe each and every room she passed by which made it a little tedious for me. This was the one major problem I found! There were some nautical terms I didn't understand, and there were scenes here and there where there was a teensy bit too much telling and not showing. But...

I STILL LOVED THIS BOOK. It was amazing, with a fresh concept and setting. The characters were diverse, unique, and three-dimensional. The ending was one of the best I've read so far this year and resulted in a huge, one-ton-of-rocks-falling-on-my-head hangover.

I recommend this to people who love fantasy, historical fiction, complicated characters, twisted stories, and mazes.

My Rating:

(Finally decided on 4.5 here despite the five on Goodreads because of the excessive, I felt, description.)

Disclaimer: I was not reimbursed for this review in any way. I have written it solely for the entertainment of the readers of this blog and myself.

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  1. I tried to enjoy this I did, I DID, PINKY PROMISE. Buuuuut sadly, all it did was confuse me and I DNF half way through. *looks sad*

    1. Aw, well, I can understand how some people wouldn't really like it. :) I thought I was going to DNF near the beginning (because of the LOADS of description) but I didn't and I sorta *grins* liked the confusion. *shrugs* Oh, well. :D


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