author : madeline roux
pages : [hardcover] 313
favorite character : abby
memorable quote : No great mind has ever existed without a touch of madness.
Asylum is a thrilling and creepy photo-novel perfect for fans of the New York Times bestseller Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children.
For sixteen-year-old Dan Crawford, New Hampshire College Prep is more than a summer program—it’s a lifeline. An outcast at his high school, Dan is excited to finally make some friends in his last summer before college. But when he arrives at the program, Dan learns that his dorm for the summer used to be a sanatorium, more commonly known as an asylum. And not just any asylum—a last resort for the criminally insane.
As Dan and his new friends, Abby and Jordan, explore the hidden recesses of their creepy summer home, they soon discover it’s no coincidence that the three of them ended up here. Because the asylum holds the key to a terrifying past. And there are some secrets that refuse to stay buried.
Featuring found photos of unsettling history and real abandoned asylums and filled with chilling mystery and page-turning suspense, Madeleine Roux’s teen debut, Asylum, is a horror story that treads the line between genius and insanity.
Asylum tries to do something that too many horror stories have done before. An asylum is a terrifying place. I hate the concept of losing control over what happens to yourself, both physically and mentally. There are plenty of stories about sane people being tormented in asylums, tortured patients coming back to haunt the living, and dead doctors attempting to experiment on intruders in closed asylums. Roux’s novel plays on all of that, though not in a new, exciting light.
I think that I could have forgiven the contrived horror if the characters had been more distinctive; I never truly got to know them because too much about the book was never explained in order to fixate on things that might make situations creepier to the reader. Despite the pictures cleverly inserted in the book to make the reader see what Dan is finding in this closed asylum turned dorm, I never found myself truly scared or afraid for these characters. And I’m usually someone who can be kept awake at night by anything.
Without a horrific plot or interesting characters, what does Asylum have? An unrealistic setting. No sane college campus would put student in an old asylum without clearing out the building first! They can’t honestly expect that teenagers wouldn’t go poking around where they don’t belong. With all of the medical instruments and other deadly stuff in the basement, that’s a lawsuit waiting to happen. It was odd to me that Dan and his friends were the only ones interested in and fixated upon the fact that the building used to house mental patients. Well, maybe not so surprised because we don’t really get to hear about any students other than Dan and his two friends.
I wouldn’t recommend this book to anyone looking for a frightening story that’ll keep them up at night. I can’t really think of who this book will appeal to. Apparently there’s a sequel to this, which I might pick up out of pure curiosity to see where else this plot is going to go. It kind of ended itself in Asylum, so I don’t see why book two is necessary. I think this horror series is one you can skip.