Author: Madeleine Roux
Genre: YA/Horror/Slight Romance
Review: Madeleine Roux’s Asylum is the story of three teens who attend a prep-school in New Hampshire, and discover some strange happenings in the abandoned mental institution on campus. The former mental institution, Brookline, is temporarily serving as the students’ living quarters because the dorms are under renovation. The main character is Dan Crawford who meets soon-to-be best friends Abby and Jordan at the school.
One night Dan’s room mate, Felix, decides to go exploring the abandoned mental institution and discovers some odd photographs in the basement, which is supposed to be off-limits. Felix tells Dan about this and, naturally, Dan, Abby, and Jordan go take a look for themselves. Once in the basement they find artefacts and pictures of patients who attended Brookline and the horrible treatments and experiments they underwent. Upon venturing further into the bowels of Brookline, the trio finds patients’ rooms, operation rooms, and vulgar tools to preform god-knows-what kind of procedures. Roux describes these tools in detail which is good for imagery, but doesn’t really give any background to what they were used for.
Abby and Dan also discover that they seem to have some history at Brookline. It is revealed to Abby that her long-lost aunt, Lucy, was a patient who had the unfortunate experience of having a lobotomy. Coincidentally, Dan finds out that his distant relative, Daniel Crawford, was the head master of Brookline. As for Jordan, he just seems to be a tag-along character without much purpose. The trio also discovers that a serial killer was treated there by Daniel Crawford himself, and was released as a recovered patient. Dan wonders what could’ve happened that determined a serial killer to be recovered.
After some mysterious occurrences on campus, (the death of a student, and the coma of another), Dan is lured back to the basement of Brookline where he is assaulted by room mate Felix who seems to be possessed by the spirit of the serial killer. Possessed-Felix wants revenge on Daniel Crawford for the torturous treatments that were performed on him, so torturing head master Crawford’s nearest relative is the best way to get such revenge. As Dan is about to be horrendously mutilated, Jordan and Abby save the day by rushing to Dan’s aid. They knock-out Felix and escape outside the mental institution where there are dozens of cops at-the-ready. Dan, Abby, and Jordan retell their stories to the police about Felix going crazy, and are eventually allowed to go home. Felix becoming the bad guy seemed to come completely out of nowhere. I still can’t figure out why he became “possessed” by the serial killer’s spirit in the first place. But this hopefully will be cleared up in the other two novel Roux has written in this series.
I was thrilled with Asylum. I read Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children and found it to be too far fetched and unimaginative whereas Asylum is far more believable minus the chucky like possession It was a very quick read, and used very simplistic language making it resonant that little bit more as it is being told by a normal person experiencing extraordinary events. Overall, Asylum felt creepy, dark and exciting. I also felt it used the black and white photos far better than Ransom Riggs’ series and they complimented the story and increased the tension and suspense of the novel. On a final note I highly recommend Asylum and would advise reader to read this series before Ransom Riggs’ Miss Peregrine’s series as the comparison isn’t even worth going into. Asylum earned its 4 *’s and would have been 5 but I felt some characters needed a little bit more backstory like Abby and her aunt but I hope this will be resolved in the other 2 novels in this trilogy.
Buy it here:
Kindle Edition: www.amazon.com