Book Club Book Review: Asylum by Madeleine Roux

Before I start, I would love to mention a lovely blog that I was able to guest post on. Head over to Everything & Nothin’ to see it!

Number of Stars: 4

So I just finished this book like maybe 4 hours ago. It was great! Not only was it a page turner, but the characters were well built and the writing style was compelling. When I read a book, I like to be swept up in everything, from the characters to the plot.

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My boyfriend isn’t a bookworm like me, but I really wanted to have mini book club with him, so I chose a book that I knew he would be interested in. I once had him read Hangman’s Curse and he really liked it. Asylum seemed similar, so that was what we chose to read.

Asylum was both a great choice, but also a terrible choice for our mini book club. It was a great choice because it had so many things that could be talked about during our weekly meetings. I designed these sheets for us to write our thoughts on and as you can see, I went a little cray cray the first week, but wrote nearly nothing the last couple of weeks. Josh seemed to have a pretty constant flow of thoughts (but he lost his sheet lol).

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This is available for download down below! This sheet is the second option. The first option is more basic than the one above.

Book Club Printable

Book Club Printable 2

It was a terrible choice because of all the cliffhangers. Almost every chapter had some type of cliffhanger and it was so hard to stop reading! I never wanted to wait for book club, but Josh refused to talk about anything until that Friday. However, the cliffhangers were good because they kept getting me to come back for more!

Our Thoughts after Week 1:

  • Dan’s friends are acting suspicious at times
  • Will they all end up ganging up against Dan?
  • Are they all plotting against Dan to make him FEEL like he’s going crazy?
  • We don’t think Felix actually went into the office

(Okay so we were kind of scattered with our discussions after week one, and our conversations consisted of “I want to know what happens.” We bounced ideas back and forth about what was really going on, but neither of us ended up figuring it out, which makes this a pretty good book because who likes to be able to predict everything?? Not me, that’s for sure!)

Josh’s Thoughts Throughout the Whole Book:

  • All of the characters have an ulterior motive against Dan

I loved the characters in this book. Each one had their own personality. Since the setting was at a college program for high school students, there were characters built with different interests in mind. You had Abby, the artsy fartsy girl with a temper. Then there was Jordan, the math buff (I think?) who had an even bigger temper. The main character in the book was Dan, the history buff with an obsessive curiosity. Dan’s roommate, Felix, was withdrawn and very into working out. Of course, there were other characters, but those were the notable ones.

This book takes place in Brookline, an abandoned asylum that was turned into dormitories. Throughout the book, there are (creepy) pictures taken at real asylums. This little touch is great for visualization! It’s horrifying to think that things mentioned in the book (torture methods) actually happened.

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SPOILER ALERT:

So in the very beginning, Dan seemed pretty needy in the friends front. He was thirsting to fit in, so mentioned an office. Felix had mentioned going in there and said there were a bunch of pictures (Dan found an odd picture in his drawer and showed it to Felix). Dan was able to persuade Abby and Jordan (the three became fast friends) to go check it out with him. Jordan was pretty cautious…you find out later that his parents thought he was at a “pray the gay away” camp, so getting caught would be a huge problem!

In the office, Abby noticed a picture of a little girl who had received a lobotomy (ouch). She became protective of it and wanted to take it out of the office. Dan and Jordan wouldn’t let her because, let’s be honest, that is so creepy. This soon turned into an obsessiveness over the little girl. (There were so many different plots among the main plot!!) The little girl ended up being Abby’s aunt, Lucy.

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Abby became so obsessive over her long lost aunt, Lucy, that she even started drawing pictures of her.

Fast forward to later in the book (when stuff started to get serious). Someone is killed. Someone is injured. Someone is making Dan go insane. Texts sent from his own phone that he never sent? Emails in his sent box that he never wrote? This book brings up SO MANY questions! You are constantly wondering which character is just messing with Dan. For the longest time, I thought Jordan was the bad guy because he was so angry! All. Of. The. Time.!!

Abby and Dan’s blossoming relationship was a good change of tone in the book. It was actually quite sweet. I’m such a hopeless romantic (as you would know if you read my TMI Book Tag), so those parts made my heart happy.

Throughout the book, Dan would have weird hallucinations where he thought he was the Warden from Brookline (that was the man who performed all of the surgeries…aka torture methods). He would have memory lapses, making him wonder if he was going insane. It was all becoming a huge mix of questions and confusions.

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Abby’s aunt, Lucy, who received the lobotomy (notice the cut on her forhead). 😦

The antagonist ends up being none other than Felix (Dan’s roommate). He always seemed odd in the book, but I never suspected him as being the one who was messing with Dan. See, there was a patient at Brookline called the Sculptor. He was a murderer who would position his victims as if they were posing. Felix was channeling the Sculptor, while Dan was channeling the Warden. The oddest part in the entire book was the fact that the Warden’s name was Daniel Crawford. Why is this odd? Well, this Dan guy I keep talking about? His name was ALSO Daniel Crawford. Weird.

The ending of the book was my least favorite. It felt so unfinished. The book created SO MANY questions and some were left unanswered. (Maybe they will be answered in the sequel, Sanctum?) Was Mrs. Reyes (one of Dan’s professors) involved in the whole mess? How was the Sculptor cured? What came out of all of Jordan’s excessive math calculations? Things just felt unfinished. Isn’t that the worst?

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I asked Josh to write me a little blurb with his overall thoughts of the book ande here is what he said. “The book was very mysterious. There were so many clues giving hints to many paths; the story could have gone many different ways. I also loved how it kept us guessing the whole way. It always kept us on our toes! Overall, the book was pretty good.” I’d say this means it is boyfriend approved!

Have you read Asylum? If so, what did you think? Did you read Sanctum? Was it better or worse than Asylum? Asylum was a really good book, so I definitely recommend it, but just beware that the ending ends up feeling a bit unfinished. Fingers crossed that Sanctum answers some more questions (because I do plan to read it)!

-Jamie

 

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