Author: Madeleine Roux
Rating: 2.5 out of 5 stars
Shelves: Young Adult, Horror, Paranormal, Mystery
Recommended for Fans Of: Katie Alender, Ransom Riggs
Synopsis: Dan Crawford cannot wait to attend an educational summer camp at one of New Hampshire's best universities where everyone in attendance will love learning, just like him. But when he gets there, he, along with all the other students are forced to dorm in the old Brookline house. It used to be an asylum, a place to house the criminally insane. Strange events start to occur among the students, and soon Dan is starting to wonder just what secrets this building hides. As Dan and his friends dive into the mysteries of the old asylum, they discover some things so horrifying, the dead must rise to keep them hidden. Told through the point of view of a seemingly naive high school student and accompanied by eerie photographs taken from real sanatoriums of the past, Asylum is a thriller sure to leave you chilled to the bones.
Review: 2.5 stars is a generous rating. And I'll be kind and list some of the good points first. The photographs were a nice touch, though not as scary as I would have liked, but most matched what was described in the story. The overall aura of horror and psychological thriller was given off well with this book. However, I had a lot of issues with this book. First off, I did not like the characters. The three friends, Dan, Abigail and Jordan were all quite frankly, very strange. I do not think it was intended to be this way, but Abby seemed like an emotional wreck of a girl, while Jordan was distant and emotionless half the time, and Dan was quite smug and hypocritical-especially at the end. One of my biggest annoyances with this book is how half the "issues" were not explained/resolved. The author hinted that Jordan was being possessed, or was not right in the mind in some way, but at the end, he is portrayed as the calm hero! There must be an explanation for his erratic behavior, and since it was not provided, I was very annoyed. The subject of Abby's aunt was also extremely underdeveloped. The reason behind her father's irrational anger at the subject of his sister was never explained either. Things such as the full background of the asylum, including what happened to all the patients inside, was not included. This bothers me because I enjoy books where there are no plot holes, and I believe a book should not leave readers asking questions about things that should have been explained or crystal clear. If you do read this book, keep an eye out for the part where they mention a picture of the staff, and one nurse has her head turned at an unnatural angle. This part bothers me because if the author mentioned it, there should be more of a conflict or problem involving this. But there wasn't. The ending just did not satisfy me either. It was an uncomfortable way to end the book, and although there were hints of a sequel to come, I am not sure what the storyline would be like.
Conclusion: Asylum has an original idea, but it was poorly executed. I am willing to give the sequel a chance, but if you are a reader that does not want to waste your time on sub-par novels, then do not read Asylum. But if you are looking for a good Halloween scare, then give Asylum a try. Who knows, you might like it.
Getting ready for Halloween with more horror novels to come!