- Series: Asylum
- Hardcover: 352 pages
- Publisher: HarperCollins (August 26, 2014)
- ISBN: 9780062220998
- Source: Library
Dan, Abby, and Jordan are still traumatized after the summer they spent at New Hampshire College Prep, formerly Brookline asylum. Despite their attempts to return to their “normal” lives, their experiences still haunt them. Then, they each receive a letter from Felix, another “survivor” of Brookline, now a patient at a mental institution. Included in his letters are vintage photographs from a carnival. In a chilling message written on the back of the photographs, Felix insists that the trio’s work at the former asylum is not finished. Desperate to bring an end to the terror haunting them, they return to the former asylum over a weekend for prospective students.
As they arrive on campus, they are shocked to see a carnival on its grounds for the first time in several years. Given sets of coordinates, Dan, Abby and Jordan tour abandoned homes that are linked to the events at Brookline asylum. They are soon aware that the darkness of the asylum reaches far beyond its walls, into the neighboring town. A cult, known as the Scarlets, is ever present, following the trio’s every move. If they are going to stop the terror that plagues them, Dan, Abby and Jordan must find the connection to the warden, ending his reign, this time for good.
When I read Asylum this time last year, I loved the terrifying setting. The photographs added another level of terror and fear to the reading experience. When I heard of this sequel, I was thrilled, hoping for the same or something more terrifying. Not so much. Rather than adding to the tone of the novel, the carnival photographs were disruptive. I didn’t really get the connection of the carnival to the storyline. If anything, it felt forced. Carnival oddities certainly had the potential to add a haunting feel to this read, but it failed.
Additionally, while I felt I had built a connection with Dan, Abby, and Jordan, the same three characters in this novel felt like they were a mere shell of the characters they were in the previous book. Despite the fact they were supposed to be in their older teen years, their behavior and response to situations felt more like they were in their younger teen years. I wanted to reach into the book and shake them, get them to wake up and face the situation around them. Their emotional response to what was happening was completely inappropriate, brushing violence off as if it were an everyday occurrence.
In my opinion, it would have been best if the author stopped at Asylum. I don’t feel like I, as a reader, gained much of anything after reading this book. Only a minimal amount of information/explanation was gained. Personally, I feel that a short novella could have relayed this better than a full-length novel.
All this said, I still plan on reading Roux’s future works. I loved the experience I had in reading Asylum, as well as her other books Alison Hewitt Is Trapped and Sadie Walker Is Stranded. This author has tremendous potential; one failed experience isn’t going to shun me away from her future work.