So since it’s that time around Halloween, that could mean only one thing, right? Time to read SPOOKY BOOKS! And if the title of ‘Asylum’ with the picture of that girl on the front cover doesn’t get you into the scary book mood, then I have no idea what will.
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.
There are so many elements of this book that make it as good as it is. There are the pictures (think Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children), there is the locked, mysterious door that leads to other chambers, there are the murders that are happening on campus, and there is Dan’s link to the asylum.
“If someone tells you you’re crazy enough times, eventually it becomes true. It’s that old psychiatrist’s joke: insanity’s all in your head.”
― Madeleine Roux,
I flew through this book, I think that I read it in a matter of a few hours. Roux had written this book at the perfect pace. You aren’t thrown into the action straight away, there’s a gradual build-up to the main plot points and scares. First, we are introduced to Dan and his new friends, then we are told that there is a locked door in one of the corridors, so what does Dan do? He goes to explore it, and see what is inside. If this was a horror movie, this would be the point where you are shouting at the TV for the stupid actors not to go into that dark, cobweb-ridden room. But no… Dan goes in, and his interest in the school’s past (an aslyum if you hadn’t guess by now), is piqued. He tries to focus all of his energy on finding out what happened there and drags his new friends into his ‘adventure’ as well.
Whilst all of this terror was going on, there are murders happening on the school campus, so Dan tries to figure out who is the murderer on top of discovering information about the school. Bloody hell, he’s a busy guy, isn’t he?
I did have a slight inkling as to who was behind all of this mayhem, but then I kept second guessing myself throughout the book and gave up on my theory. I shouldn’t have though because it turns out that my bad feeling about that character was spot on. (Really, I should be the next Sherlock!)
Asylum had a brilliant ending, it definitely keeps you on your toes and wanting to find out what happens next (which is book, 2 – Sanctum). I bought the second book straight after finishing the first and even though I have yet to read Sanctum, I can’t wait as I know it’s going to be a brilliant read!