Thursday, March 27, 2014

Asylum by Madeleine Roux

Dan Crawford has the opportunity of a lifetime - he will be spending his summer at the New Hampshire College Prep programme.  It is an opportunity to extend himself in an environment where everyone actually wants to be there - a far cry from your average American high school.  On day one he meets Abby and Jordan and they quickly become a tight trio.  His room mate Felix is interesting and not too intense, but the photograph he finds in the room is more than a little unsettling.  When Dan, Abby, and Jordan follow in Felix's footsteps and explore the out of bounds office they find creepy remnants of the dorm buildings past - before it was turned into a co-ed dorm the building was an insane asylum.

As the every day settles into a routine, Dan and his new friends find an easy friendship, but there are some niggles in the back of Dan's mind.  When he discovers that the last warden of the asylum had the same name as him, Dan can't help but dig into the history of the asylum to learn more about the man and the asylum itself.  It is an uphill battle though because the locals want the place torn down and destroyed, and the name Daniel Crawford is most unwelcome.  When a body is discovered on campus it is just the beginning of a deeper mystery, because things are happening that make Dan uneasy, things he supposedly did that he doesn't remember.  As events take a darker and darker turn, Dan has to pull himself together and figure out what is happening - before it is too late.

Asylum is a creepy and atmospheric book and you never quite know how the story is going to twist and turn until it reaches the very satisfying conclusion.  For me this reads a little like an episode of the X-Files, Supernatural  or even Warehouse 13 - there is a spooky edge to the story, yet it is also thoroughly grounded in reality and it is all too easy to belive that the events are unfolding in a real college campus somewhere   Revealing too much about the story will ruin some of the great little twists and turns, but the dynamic created by the friendship between Dan, Jordan, and Abby really adds depth to the story and makes it more believable.  There is also a little hint that this may not be the last we see of the trio which is kind of exciting.

I am not a fan of the "horror" genre so I was a little reluctant to pick this book up at first, but I am glad that I did becaise it is well written and the way the book has been presented creates little thrills and shivers (there are photographs from real asylums inside).  This is one of those books where your own imagination drives the level of terror/anticipation you feel, and I have to admit that reading it in the reduced lighting and empty spaces I was in when I read the beginning made it super spooky.  A great read, and I am now hoping that there might be a sequel because the ending left the ending a little undone.

If you like this book then try:
  • Anna dressed in blood by Kendare Blake
  • The unbecoming of Mara Dyer by Michelle Hodkin
  • Thyla by Kate Gordon
  • The forest of hands and teeth by Carrie Ryan
  • Daughter of smoke and bone by Laini Taylor
  • Thirteen days to midnight by Patrick Carman
  • Burn bright by Marianne de Pierres
  • Something strange and deadly by Susan Dennard
  • Graceling by Kristin Cashore
  • Rot and ruin by Jonathan Maberry

Reviewed by Brilla

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