Happy Halloween! The Asylum Series Review

Happy Halloween!! It’s a work day, so it won’t be too fun or exciting. BUT… It’s still Halloween!!!  Today Kim brings the perfect series for a Halloween review: The Asylum Series by Madeleine Roux!! She has the best “Bookstagram” picture:

The Asylum Series
Author: Madeleine Roux

Books in the Series:
The Asylum Novellas
Escape from Asylum (Prequel)

Reviewed By: Kim
Kim’s rating of the series: 5 Stars

Description from Amazon:

Asylum: For sixteen-year-old Dan Crawford, the New Hampshire College Prep program is the chance of a lifetime. Except that when Dan arrives, he finds that the usual summer housing has been closed, forcing students to stay in the crumbling Brookline Dorm—formerly a psychiatric hospital. As Dan and his new friends Abby and Jordan start exploring Brookline’s twisty halls and hidden basement, they uncover disturbing secrets about what really went on here . . . secrets that link Dan and his friends to the asylum’s dark past. Because Brookline was no ordinary mental hospital, and there are some secrets that refuse to stay buried.

Sanctum: Dan, Abby, and Jordan remain traumatized by the summer they shared in the Brookline asylum. Much as they’d love to move on, many questions remain, and someone is determined to keep the terror alive, sending the teens photos of an old-timey carnival, with no note and no name. Forsaking their plan never to go back, the teens return to New Hampshire College under the guise of a weekend for prospective students, and there they realize that the carnival from the photos is not only real, it’s here on campus, apparently for the first time in many years. Sneaking away from sample classes and college parties, Dan and his friends lead a tour of their own—one through the abandoned houses and hidden places of a surrounding town. Camford is hiding a terrible past, and the truth behind Dan’s connection to the asylum’s evil warden is more terrifying than Dan ever imagined.

Catacomb: Sometimes the past is better off buried. Senior year is finally over. After all they’ve been through, Dan, Abby, and Jordan are excited to take one last road trip together, and they’re just not going to think about what will happen when the summer ends. But on their way to visit Jordan’s uncle in New Orleans, the three friends notice that they’re being followed . . . and photographed. Then Dan starts receiving messages from someone he didn’t expect to hear from again—someone who died last Halloween. When the trio arrives in New Orleans and the strange occurrences only escalate, Dan is forced to accept that everything that has happened to him in the past year may not be a coincidence but fate—a fate that ties Dan to a group called the Bone Artists, who have a sinister fascination with notorious killers of the past. Now Dan’s only hope is that he will make it out of his senior trip alive.

Asylum Novellas: In The Scarlets, Cal is drawn into New Hampshire College’s twisted secret society—one with a deadly initiation. In The Bone Artists, Oliver tries to make a little extra money for college by working for a seedy organization that traffics in human bones. In The Warden, a young nurse starts a new job at the Brookline asylum but soon becomes suspicious of its unorthodox procedures. . . .

Escape from Asylum: The nightmare is just beginning. Ricky Desmond has been through this all before. If he could just get through to his mother, he could convince her that he doesn’t belong at Brookline. From the man who thinks he can fly to the woman who killed her husband, the other patients are nothing like him; all he did was lose his temper just a little bit, just the once. But when Ricky is selected by the sinister Warden Crawford for a very special program—a program that the warden claims will not cure him but perfect him—Ricky realizes that he may not be able to wait for his mom a second longer. With the help of a sympathetic nurse and a fellow patient, Ricky needs to escape now. Set long before Dan, Abby, and Jordan ever walked the hallways of the Brookline asylum—back when it was still a functioning psych ward and not a dorm—Escape from Asylum is a mind-bending and scary installment in the Asylum series that can stand on its own for new readers or provide missing puzzle pieces for series fans.

Kim’s Review:

I absolutely love this series! I first discovered it 2 years ago while on one of my many trips to Barnes and Noble. I had just finished Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children and I was looking for something new and still in with the dark and eerie atmosphere. If you’ve read any of my other reviews, then you know that I love asylums and mental hospitals. So, when I saw Asylum, with its creepy cover, I snatched it up and I’ve been hooked ever since. Asylum is exactly what you want in a scary read. It has everything: ghosts, an asylum, mystery, human experimentation, history, etc. I usually read it all in one sitting, it’s an easy read but without being boring and oversimplified. I fell in love with Dan, Abby, and Jordan. I couldn’t help but feel sorry for Dan. As someone whose family tree has been researched and listed out for the last 15 generations, I can understand how important knowing where you came from can be. Dan doesn’t have that benefit. Abby, the passionate artist, is one of the most courageous characters I’ve read. She’s scared, and has no problem admitting, but it doesn’t stop her from doing what she believes is right. And Jordan . . . you love him, you hate him, you never forget him! He provides some much-needed comic relief. The story drew me in and I ended up finishing Asylum in one evening and went back to B&N the next day and picked up the next book.

Sanctum scared the living crap out of me! As with most sequels, this story isn’t quite as strong as the first book, but the scary element wins out! I started reading it while Ivan was working a night shift, and I had to stop, get up, get dressed, and drive back to sit at the B&N Café just so I could keep reading. Yeah, it’s that scary! And I’ll admit that the first time I read it, I didn’t get it. There were some details that were a bit murky to me. But reading it again this year, I finally got it. The story resolved itself in a way that makes sense. After reading the series several times, I’d say that this is the place to read the novellas.

I’m not a big novella person, but I really liked these. They did what novellas are supposed to do. They gave added info that made the stories clearer. The Scarlet and The Warden give much needed background info that clears up a lot of that murk that I described in Sanctum. And Escape from Asylum would have been confusing without reading The Warden first. The Bone Artists is actually a very good sedge way into Catacomb.

Catacomb, I feel, is the weakest book in the series. I understand that Roux felt that Dan and Abby and Jordan’s story wasn’t finished, but this book is where it stopped being about the asylum and started being about Dan. Part of me says that Catacomb should have been a stand-alone book, completely separate from the series. But the more I ponder it, the more I’m ok with it being in the series, just not the highlight of it. There’s a very thin tie to Brookline Asylum and Warden Crawford, and that’s what I didn’t like. If she had connected this book to the other stories a little better, I think I would have liked this book better.

Though Escape from Asylum is considered a prequel, I would not suggest reading it as the first book in the series. There is a lot of info that will fly over your head if you don’t have the foundation of Asylum, Sanctum, and the novellas. This one isn’t quite as scary as the other books are. This one is the perfect asylum story. Crazy doctor who experiments on the patients, electroshock, hypnosis, rebellious nurses, patient conspiracy, some paranormal activity, etc. This one could also function as a stand-alone, even with those couple of details that are explained earlier in the series.

Overall, I love this series. It’s the first one I bring up when someone asks me for a book suggestion. I absolutely recommend this to anyone wanting a scary, Halloween read, or for anyone looking for an interesting series.

Purchase Links:
Amazon US
Amazon UK