By: Kelly Moore; Tucker Reed; Larkin Reed
Publisher: Arthur A. Levine Books
Pub. Date: October 1st, 2012
Series: Amber House Trilogy, #1
Source: For Review
Synopsis via Goodreads
"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.
When Amber House arrived in my mail, I had never heard of it before. But when I read the synopsis and saw the cover online, as my copy was an ARC without the official cover, I knew this was going to be the book for me. Turns out, I was right.
One of the many great aspects of Amber House was its wide and varied cast of characters. First is the main character, Sarah. I admit, there were times when she really annoyed me but as a whole, I thought she was very witty and came off as genuine and real, like she could be someone I actually knew. Her relationship with her little brother, Sammy, was sooo sweet and it really helped make this book something special that would stand out in my memory. Seriously, Sammy was an adorable little kiddo and I absolutely loved him! Now on to the part you all really care about, the romantic interests. ;) Well unfortunately, I wasn't really in love with either of them. Jackson could be brooding, somewhat mysterious, caring, etc. You know, the typical romantic interest. I felt pretty indifferent to Jackson, with him getting emotion out of me only a couple of times during the whole book. Richard was a little different. I periodically went from disliking him and thinking he was a d-bag to thinking he actually wasn't so bad underneath that spoiled rich boy exterior. I did feel pretty bad for him towards the end. Now, onto Sarah's mom. I felt much like Sarah did when it came to her. Just when she would do something that made you think she had a heart, she'd turn around and say something cold, insensitive, or just straight up mean. She did show some growth throughout the book, though, and I really liked that. Some other minor characters were Sarah's dad, Rose, and Kathryn, all of whom I liked.
The plot for Amber House was intricately crafted, possessing many intriguing elements. First there is the unique atmosphere and setting of Amber House, an ancient borderline mansion that is just overflowing with history and mystery. Then there are Sarah's dreams and the echoes, flashes of the past brought on by her touching or connecting with certain things or places in the house and on the property. Throw in some complex family drama and secrets and you have one heck of a compelling plot. There were a few areas where the plot seemed to lag somewhat, but overall, it was terrific.
The writing was simply beautiful. The authors' use of imagery throughout the story really helped to build and create the perfect setting from the ground up and painted such a vivid picture in my mind of how everything looked. There was also a pleasant amount of dry humor and sarcasm. Yay!
The ending wrapped things up nicely for a first book in a series. Only, I didn't think so initially. There was a new thread subtly added to the plot and when it wasn't knotted up with an answer, or even a nod of acknowledgement, I was confused and mad. It was after that when I realized this book was going to be part of a series. Then I was all, "Oh, well, that explains it." All of that being said, I thought the ending was rushed and I'd have liked to have seen the author(s) take more time with it.
Characters: Memorable and plenty. Great cast of major and minor characters.
Plot: Full of mystery and twists. Excellent atmosphere.
Ending: Tied up the first book nicely but felt rushed.
1st in Series: Excellent beginning.
Enjoyment/Likability: Very enjoyable. Not too heavy, not too light.
Recommendable: Yes! Highly.
Cover: Gorgeous! Like, seriously!
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