The Horror Here is the Flat Ending | Review of ‘Asylum’ (Asylum #1)


By Cynthia Ayala

Dan

Asylum by Madeleine Roux
HarperTeen
Image Credit: Goodreads

Crawford, a sixteen-year-old, has taken off to the New Hampshire College Prep program for the summer. It’s exciting, but for Dan, he has discovered that his dorm used to be a sanatorium that housed the criminally insane, some of which were tortured in barbaric experiments. With his newfound friends, Abby and Jordan, they explore the dark depths of the sanatorium, they discover that some secrets were better left unburied.

Published August 20, 2013, by HarperTeen, Asylum
by Madeleine Roux is the first in her Asylum series, a young adult horror that brings the past and present into a twisted collision course.

Filled with creepy photos of actual sanatoriums and patients, photos and the written word come together to bridge the gap between reality and fiction in a marvelous way…for the most part. The novel has a good premise and the atmosphere is perfect to capture that eerie and creepy atmosphere that haunts subjects like hospitals and the like, especially old abandoned ones. The imagination just goes to weird places instantly when the subject just wakes up. And Roux has used that to her advantage in writing this story. For these kids, something is happening around them, something they cannot explain, however, the way the story unfolds doesn’t seem to connect with what has been established leaving far too many unanswered questions. Now, the questions might be excusable considering that this is part of a series, but where’s the hook? The need to continue reading the series? The story unfolded into a rather unbelievable ending when it held such believable and haunting aspects, but it wasn’t able to latch on to them to tie everything together. However, many readers may find it hard to pick up the sequel because there is nothing at the end of the novel that screams “Read me! Read me!” it just falls flat.

Moreover, there isn’t a whole lot of character development. The reader doesn’t really get to know Dan. He’s an overachiever who doesn’t fit in at school, who doesn’t have many friends or plays sports, and is adopted. That’s it. There’s nothing that makes Dan a three-dimensional character worth feeling for. He has panic attacks, he’s always nervous, but why? Anyone can get not fitting in at school and being someplace new, whenever someone enters high school, college, or even a new job, those feelings surface, but for Dan, they just float up there and the reader, well they just don’t get to know him that well.

But again, the story does unfold in an interesting way that intersects the past and the present making for an interesting read. It’s not a bad book the fault is really in the ending that just plops down for the reader as if to say “here ya go, the ending, enjoy”. It needed more oomph, more power in the story telling—and character development—that would have served to make this a stronger story. (★★★☆☆ | C+)

Product Details:

Pub Date: Aug. 20, 2013

Page count: 313pp

Age Range: 13 & Over

ISBN: 978-0-0622-2096-7

Publisher: HarperTeen

List Price:  $17.99

Get a Copy:

Kindle eBook $8.99

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