Dan Crawford is off to a college prep summer school in New Hampshire where the students are being housed in a former asylum that housed the criminally insane. He befriends Jordan and Abby who join him in roaming the sealed off offices in search of the asylum’s sordid history. The more they discover about the past, the more bizarre events seem to be happening in the present. When the strange occurrences start turning violent, Dan and his friends race to uncover what is going on and put a stop to it.
Utilizing found photos of sanatoriums, in the same vein as Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children, the idea for Asylum was incredibly intriguing. Unlike Miss Peregrine’s however, this story fell short for me. The premise was promising and it was one of my highly-anticipated reads for the Fall but the connection between the narrative and the idea was lacking. The synopsis paints a dark and mysterious story but the dialogue between characters was so mundane. Characters acted erratically with no satisfying explanation later on why that was. An uncomfortably awkward attempt at romance between characters felt forced and cliché. The resolution at the end felt both obvious and out of nowhere at the same time, if that’s possible.
The found photos were creepy, sure, but interspersed with ones that seem to be created for the purpose of the narrative it actually might have lost the effect it was going for. The fact that all the images used were not real diminished the impact of its intended purpose being in the book for me. Personally, the images of letters and notes that were obviously created for the novel made the rest of the actual photos seem less credible. Some of the story seemed contrived and oddly written in order to coincide with available photographs rather than have the pictures enhance the writing.
There were some aspects of the novel that worked well and that being said, the general idea for Asylum had potential, it was just the execution that didn’t quite jive with me unfortunately.