Asylum by Madeleine Roux Book Review
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Dan Crawford can’t wait to start college prep classes. It’s a chance to escape being an outcast and find friends he can connect with. But he never expected an old asylum to be converted into a dorm. Dan can’t help but entice his new friends Abby and Jordan to explore the older sections they were told to stay out of. Together they will uncover unsettling truths about the asylum and stir up ghosts better left alone.
Dan finding true friends was a great theme to add to Asylum, but the character relationships were rushed. Readers barely have enough time to learn about Dan before the story adds Abby and Jordan into the mix. Jordan and Abby bonded outside of the main story, which worked quite well. But Dan did not have enough time with each of them individually to form a connection. The story does mention Dan has difficulties socializing, and the reader is able to witness the internal debates he has with himself as he tries to adjust to different social situations. But there needed to be more examples of Dan’s behavior. Instead of telling the reader, show them his issues and give some background information on what has not worked in the past for him.
The characterization was also inconsistent throughout the story. In one chapter the three friends would be carrying on just fine, then rapidly one of the others would have a complete personality change. Either growing easily frustrated or downright ignoring characters. While eventually, the reader finds out the why behind these sporadic behaviors, it would have been great to have more of a foundation for the reader to guess what happened and then do small reveals to lure readers into the overarching mysteries.
There were many subplots and mysteries to solve in Asylum. Too many. This story brought the teens together at the asylum and tried to connect each one to its past. In addition to this, they each had home lives filled with drama. If this had been a longer book, it may have worked out better, but not enough time was spent on each key point to make the story work. Instead, it seemed to skip forward without properly explaining the character's actions, and not leaving behind enough breadcrumbs for the reader to form any sort of conclusion.
Listening to the audiobook of Asylum did cut out the vintage photographs which are included in the print edition. But even with the photos to add to the mood setting of this story, the plot was too tangled. This was an extremely ambitious book, and if it had cut down on the subplots it would have been able to spend more time on the main story. Not a series I will be continuing.
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