For sixteen-year-old Dan Crawford, New Hampshire College Prep is more than a summer program—it's a lifeline. An outcast at his high school, Dan is excited to finally make some friends in his last summer before college. But when he arrives at the program, Dan learns that his dorm for the summer used to be a sanatorium, more commonly known as an asylum. And not just any asylum—a last resort for the criminally insane.
As Dan and his new friends, Abby and Jordan, explore the hidden recesses of their creepy summer home, they soon discover it's no coincidence that the three of them ended up here. Because the asylum holds the key to a terrifying past. And there are some secrets that refuse to stay buried.
I guess that when Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children came out, more authors thought it would be a nice idea to publish a book with creepy/strange pictures, and a story written around them. Because I personally loved Miss P very much, but thought it wasn’t horror enough (even though I still loved it to bits), I picked up Asylum a while back, hoping it would have that horror story that I had been hoping.
Asylum tells the story of Dan Crawford, a student at the NHCP, the New Hampshire College Prep a five-week summer program, who one day finds a strange picture in the drawer of his desk. The person on the picture has had his eyes crossed out, and that is what intrigued Dan so much. Together with his new friends Abby and Jordan, they discover an out-of-bounds area full of pictures similar to the one Dan’s found. Throughout their weeks at the NHCP, the three uncover a disturbing story about the dormitory that used to be an asylum for the criminally insane.
To be honest, I was rather disappointed in this book. I had been hoping for a super scary story with loads of creepy pictures, but it wasn’t at all scary. It was actually rather boring. The real exciting part didn’t start until we were 200+ pages in, and even that couldn’t get me that exciting anymore. This story could have been so much, could have been so scary, so creepy – but it failed at that.
First of all, I didn’t like any of the characters. I didn’t like Dan, I didn’t like Abby, I didn’t like Jordan or Felix or Joe or basically anyone. I didn’t believe in the insta-love between Dan and Abby, and I actually didn’t like the way Dan was around her. I mean, he sees her and he’s almost instantly in love with her. From that moment, he starts acting jealous every time another guy talks to her. Seriously? Stop it. And I just didn’t believe in their friendship at all. I mean they barely know each other, and they were fighting half the time, that is not what a good friendship should be like. Okay maybe friends bicker sometimes, but this was just unbelievable.
Also, I found this story so predictable. I knew half of the plottwists before they happened already, and that made me so sad because they were good plottwists, but the hints were way too obvious which just wasn’t fun anymore. View Spoiler »I had guessed Felix was the guy behind it all from moment we ‘met’ him. Okay, I didn’t really suspect him, but I just didn’t trust him right away. And in the end, I was 100% right. He was possessed or something, I guess, but still it was Felix’s body that did all those things. « Hide Spoiler
The writing also didn’t really appeal to me, I don’t know it sometimes sounded very childish. These characters were supposed to be around sixteen, but they sometimes just felt like children to me. The upside about this, was that it was a super easy read and I finished it within a day (even with my current Harry Potter Lego addiction).
It honestly was an enjoyable story though, I didn’t give it two-and-a-half stars for nothing. Like I said after the 200-page mark it started getting more interesting, when murder happened. And it did kind of turn out to be a ghost story after all. Even though we didn’t see actual ghosts View Spoiler »but it was Felix sort of being possessed by that Sculptor serial killer « Hide Spoiler so yeah, in the end Asylum was an enjoyable book, but it was still not the book-with-creepy-pictures-that-is-actually-a-horror-story book that I have been looking for. *sighs*