September 17, 2015

Double Review: Sanctum and Catacomb by Madeleine Roux

Today I'm reviewing the last two books in the Asylum series.  I reviewed Asylum earlier if you want to check that one out.

Dan, Abby, and Jordan remain traumatized by the summer they shared in the Brookline asylum. Much as they'd love to move on, 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 the surrounding town. Camford is hiding a terrible past, and the influence of the asylum runs deeper than Dan ever imagined.

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 are apparently being followed.. And Dan starts receiving phone messages from someone he didn’t expect to hear from again—someone who died last Halloween.

As the strange occurrences 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 connection with a notorious killer from the past. Now, Dan’s only hope is that he will make it out of his senior trip alive.

I'm going to review both books together - just thought it would be easier.  Now if you look back to my review of Asylum you'll see I wasn't overly excited about it.  That would make you wonder why I read the next two.  I'll be honest - I hoped they would hit the spooky factor I was looking for!!! Did that happen?

Sanctum actually had some creepy aspects that held my interest quite well! In this book they do a lot of creeping around old empty houses where Dan sees some ghosts and those parts were well done! Plus (without giving away too much) there was a group of people after the three of them, and I found that part really creepy! Sanctum also had some nice plot twists and some real cringe worthy moments that made it, in my mind, a stronger book than Asylum.  There were also some times that I felt a lot of tension, and I was worried about the characters! That made this a stronger book in my mind.  

Asylum also brought together some of the pieces that Dan was questioning in the first book.  A fuller picture of the Warden emerged, and it was nice to see those pieces fit together.  

My only kinda beef with the book was the whole idea of them being there as perspective students.  It just didn't seem realistic enough in terms of any college actually letting something happen that way.  But I was able to set that aside and enjoy the story.  

Now Catacomb.  This book frustrated me.  I kept trying to find connection between it and the Asylum from the first and second book.  It wasn't until almost 2/3 of the way through the book that I truly understood this book had turned away from that whole story and was now focusing on a different story about Dan's parents.  I thought there would be some huge connection between them (and I kept looking for it!) and Brookline but instead it was a completely new story.  I just found that super frustrating.  Had I really understood that going in I think I might have enjoyed it better because Catacomb had some nice twists and a few "ewwwww" parts.  I just can't say I enjoyed it because of my confusion.  

I did like some of the answers that Dan got about his past - that part was nice.  And I did feel like it ended nicely with no lose ends left open but yet not so neatly that it felt unrealistic.  

Over-all the series was ok.  I liked the second book the best, and I think I would've felt better about the series as a whole if I had known the last book connected the personal life of Dan not the events of the first two books.  

1 comment:

  1. I just read your review of Asylum and reread mine and we both had similar feelings about it. I haven't read Sanctum yet (but I think I have it) and I didn't even know Catacomb was out, but I just signed up for the waiting list at the library on that one. Thanks for the warning on Catacomb. I'll go into it a little more prepared than you were.