Madeleine Roux is a new author for me. This series is relatively new as well, with Asylum only being written in 2013. Coincidentally, I picked this book up on a whim mainly because I keep hearing about this book on facebook. If you are unfamiliar with the series, here is the following order:
Now, those are the MAIN stories, it looks as though there are in-between stories as well that you’ll have to check out.
As far as the writing goes for Roux, it’s very laid back and easy. As far as books and writing go for me, I’m kind of all over the place, it really depends on what kind of a mood I’m in. Occasionally I’ll enjoy harder books with a harder vocabulary. The kind where you really have to think what’s going on in the story. Other times, I just need a book that I can zone out with. You know, a quick read, a weekend read.
A quick read is exactly what Asylum was for me. The writing flowed. It’s a bit reminiscent of R.L. Stine for us 90’s kids. It’s creepy, not Stephen King scary. Creepy enough for this (almost) 29 year old to jump at night when I hear my stairs creak!
The main character of the story is Daniel Crawford; a typical teenager dealing with the usual adolescent tribulations of fitting in, making friends, and the occasional break out. The setting: New Hampshire College Summer Prep school hosted at Brookline; a retired mental health facility and historical site. Perfect place for college prep, right? Dan’s inner dialogues usually consist of wondering if he’ll make friends. Upon arrival, he meets his roomate, Felix, and finds an old photograph in his desk. It’s a man with his eyes scribbled out. Felix immediately tells Dan that an office in the closed off section is unlocked, and would be an awesome place to explore. Dun dun dun!
Our main character meets Abby Valdez, another summer student involved in the art program. These two kids become chummy after Dan basically faints during the meet and greet ice cream social. And of course to score points with a girl, Dan mentions the unlocked office and of course the have to go exploring; as soon as Abby introduces Dan to her friend Jordan. Jordan and Abby met on the bus ride to Brookline. Immediately Dan is jealous that Abby’s attention is cut in half, but the three amigos decide to go spelunking in the abandoned office.
What kids wouldn’t want to go into an abandoned asylum office? Definitely not this kid (at heart)! But curiosity does not kill these 3 adventurers. If anything their findings dredge up more questions, and more reasons to explore the unexplored further.
Mysterious calligraphic notes seem to appear out of thin air among Dan’s things. Riddles, creepy messages, meeting places. Dan begins to question not only his sanity, but also his “condition” which conveniently happens to be blacking out for periods of time. Dan comes to a realization that he looks disturbingly like the warden from the time Brookline was up and functional. And it seems that this warden has tapped the most inner recess of Dan’s mind.
Roux takes her reader on a semi-predictable journey. Granted there were some surprises for me, but I absolutely loved reading all of the detail. To make the book have an edge to it, she includes some creepy black and white photos scattered throughout.
If you are looking for that perfect quick read, or even summer read, or definitely a beach read, I’d highly recommend picking up this series. While it most likely will never be a re-read for myself, I do plan on finishing the series. You will find yourself asking so many questions while reading this book, and then coming upon your ah-hah moment, you’ll tell yourself “I told you so!”