Review: Asylum (Asylum #1) ~ Madeleine Roux

AsylumFor 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.

1 Thumbs-UpOh dear.  I could leave this review at that, but it really doesn’t express what I found so disappointing in this book and, as it is only possibly the third time in my blog history I can remember giving out a one thumb rating, maybe I should elaborate, I’m sure if I’m wrong in this someone will correct me.

I had such high expectations for this based on not only the synopsis but the cover image, and none of those expectations were filled.  As I read through this I got the uncomfortable feeling that, not only was this Author aiming to produce a novel with the calibre of Miss Peregrine’s House for Peculiar Children but somewhere in the mix the Author had actually submitted a draft copy to the publishers instead of their final edited copy.

The characters are supposed to be 16 years old, so unless the baseline for all 16 years old has now changed, these were not in that age group.  The protagonist is not the kind I was expecting in a book of this genre; he was whiny, possessive and had a superiority complex bigger than any I have seen in a novel.  Throughout the novel he is constantly telling the readers about how much better he is than anyone else, and after a time this becomes tedious to the point where I wanted to ground him in his room at home without any outside contact;  yes I wanted to put him in solitary confinement.  Despite him gradually losing some of these traits as the book progressed, the damage had been done and I found myself being unable to like or even care about him or what happened to him.  Too many of the characters were written in a stereotypical manner, or how the Author visualized teenagers to be; the female character who the Author felt they had to reminder the reader every few sentences how beautiful they were, the cookie cutter girls’ gay best friend.  This may have been acceptable in this book had the Author only taken time to give the characters depth and something interesting that the reader could catch hold off, unfortunately I found them all to rather too one-dimensional for my tastes.

Abandoned asylum, strange happenings.  All the workings of what could’ve have been a very good horror tale were buried so deeply in this book that they were gasping for air.  I’m also not sure what yardstick the Author used to decide this would be scary reading for the intended audience but, in my experience of teenagers I think only those with a very weak constitution would have found this remotely disturbing compared to the daily horrors they are subject to in the media.  The book does contain some very stunning photographs, unfortunately these are not the Authors original works, which led me to believe that they couldn’t even be bothered to take the time to discover original locations for inclusion.

With good editing and maybe a little more plot and character development this could have been a better book than it actually was; the one thumb rating is purely because I finished it.  I’m not going to be reading any other books by this Author and I understand this is the beginning of a series, which will also go unread.  However if you looking for a book that doesn’t contain a taxing plotline and deep meaningful characters that you can connect with, this may be the one for you.

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