Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Asylum by Madeleine Roux

Asylum by Madeleine Roux.  2013, HarperCollins
Dan is a geek, and he readily admits it.  His academic career is stellar and he's ready to go out and conquer the world.  His first step into post-high school?  A summer spent at the New Hampshire College Prep Program for gifted students.  And this summer, he'll be part of something more than the sum of its parts...

The college has a beautiful campus nestled into the background of the East Coast.  Quaint and picturesque, it's close enough to the small town of Camford but far enough away from the city to keep its own identity and anonymity.  The students that are accepted know they're attending this program to receive challenging coursework in a collegial environment.  While Dan and others venture into Camford, the residents there don't mix well with the students and keep their distance from campus.  They know the secret the buildings hold and even though the campus may be changing through renovation, the darkness never leaves and the townspeople still murmur among themselves about it's gruesome history.

Before it became part of the college, the Brookline Dorm that Dan and his friends, Abby and Jordan, will be living in was once part of a sanitarium for the criminally insane, where most of the patients endured probing experiments only to end up dying at the hands of a merciless doctor.  Dan has no idea about this until, unexpectedly, a door opens to a secret room and they dare to enter. But did they find the door, or did something....or someone...find them?
When they cross the theshold, they are in none other than the "good" doctor's office, complete with images of the patients and their records.  But there are more rooms to explore and the deeper Dan goes, the closer he comes to the danger that has eagerly waited for his arrival...The Sculptor has returned and he's ready to meet Dan.

Roux fills her book not only with a story of possession and revenge, she also adds images and notes throughout the book that coincide with the plot of the story.  The images also help solidify the story conjured up in the readers' minds.  At times, the writing and image pairing may be somewhat disjointed, but overall Roux does what she intended to do - create a horror read captured with more than words, which she most certainly does.  The characters in the book add to the appeal, with the central character creating a relationship with the reader through his emotional reactions to everything going on in his world. Roux also adds breadcrumbs the reader will pick up on that will lead them to the ending with satisfaction.  A great addition to your horror collection.  Recommended 7-12.  Fiction book pair:  Bliss by Lauren Myracle, Harry N. Abrams, 2008

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