Inspiration – there’s a right way and a wrong way to use it. Asylum gets it all wrong.
The integration of old photographs into a narrative, or the creation of a story around found imagery, has been done well before (Ransom Riggs) but this book was far less successful. I went in with the expectation for an asylum type story. I never really expect these to be highly original, but Roux’s work felt formulaic at best, lazy at worst.
It was clear that she developed the plot with only the photos in mind. When not referencing an image, the characters’ actions felt like filler. However, the images frequently differed from the ones being described. Not a lot, but enough that it was annoying. The most aggravating example was the description of the warden and his nurses. In the text, images were highlighted that were not obvious in the photos. I think I found the people being described, but I’m still not entirely certain. It took me out of the book to have to search for details. Anything that takes you that far out of the story is always a deterrent.
There are some plot holes that needed to be tightened up for this novel to even begin to work. Jordan’s erratic emotional state was probably intended to be a red herring, but it never really worked out. He’s moody – not suspicious. Abby is spastic and the most interesting part of entire book. Her discovery of the picture of the little girl and then figuring out that it might be her aunt would have made a much better book. But the entire storyline is totally glossed over. I wish the novel had been written from Abby’s perspective instead of Dan’s. And Dan… oh Dan… could we have a less interesting main character. He’s such a wet noodle. Even when he’s battling with the spirit of his namesake, it didn’t evoke any feelings. It was a completely unbelievable storyline. It ruined the tiny bits of the story that I actually enjoyed.
It was an easy read – the equivalent of mental popcorn – probably best enjoyed in a darkened room, on a stormy night, with a cup of something warm, and a blanket – just like a moderately enjoyable horror movie. I could make this review longer, but honestly, I didn’t care enough about the book to dig any deeper. Read at your own risk – no lifeguards on duty.
I read this book last year and just saw today that it’s getting a sequel. Now I’m angry! Great books get ignored and good authors struggle to get published, but this laziness gets rewarded for using a gimmick? Lame. Totally Lame.