Review: Asylum by Madeleine Roux


I discovered this book lately, entirely as a result of my recent interest in Ransom Riggs’ excellent trilogy Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children. It was advertised as a similar sort of book, which I agree with to a certain extent. The book has the same sort of vintage atmosphere (regarding the illustrations), with old-fashioned pages marking the start of each chapter and the weird pictures on the front cover and some inside. But in short, the story doesn’t compare to Miss Peregrine’s Home For Peculiar Children. There was a lot of potential within the idea of this story. I think I can speak on behalf of most readers when I say that as soon as I pick up a book, visions of an ideal story start to emerge based on the cover and title that would appeal to me, as a reader and I was excited and eager to see what actually happens.

So with Asylum, I was a bit disappointed when things didn’t turn out to be as eerie, creepy and old-fashioned as I’d anticipated. Mobile phones completely took away the lovely vintage-feel. I didn’t really connect with the characters as much as I’d hoped. I found most of them either boring or irritating – and well… weird, to be blunt. Their emotions and personalities were described in a sketchy way, in my opinion, which made them very two-dimensional. However, admittedly the storyline did intrigue me for a while. I did feel compelled to see the outcome of the story. I found the book quite fast-paced really and there’s no hanging about at the start. Basically the main character is a sixteen year old boy called Dan Crawford who is going to attend a summer program for gifted students, and realizes when he arrives that his dormitory used to be an Asylum for the Criminally Insane – a place with a questionable history.

It kept me interested for a while but by the end, I was disappointed. It felt like a bit of a waste of time, even though it didn’t take long to get through. I won’t be hunting out the sequels and I’m glad that I didn’t buy the book. I think the fact that it is compared to and described as similar to Ransom Riggs’ award winning series is an enormous mistake. Very overrated as a result, because Asylum doesn’t come close to Ransom Riggs’ trilogy, which is undeniably fantastic! Overall Asylum was a let-down.


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