Author: Madeleine Roux
Genre: Young Adult, Horror, Mystery
Age Group: Young Adult
Rating: 2 stars
In this haunting, fast-paced sequel to the New York Times bestselling photo-illustrated novel Asylum, three teens must unlock some long-buried secrets from the past before the past comes back to get them first. Featuring found photographs, many from real vintage carnivals, Sanctum is a mind-bending reading experience that blurs the lines between past and present, genius and insanity, perfect for fans of the smash hit Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children.
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.
I’m not sure how I feel about Sanctum. I enjoyed the first book in the series, and was eager to read more about Dan and his friends, and their weird connection to the insane asylum. I honestly expected the largest part of the book would happen in aforementioned asylum.
However, it seems like the author grabbed some creepy ideas at random and threw them all together. No problem with that, except that it ended up making the book not scary at all. At some point, it mentions creepy clowns, but then never really goes anywhere with it. We see all these amazing, haunting black and white pictures of people working at a carnival, and there is mention of a carnival, but it ends up being a significantly smaller part of the book than I thought it would, and it doesn’t really become creepy. On top of that, I wonder in how much the carnival was actually necessary. It ends up leading to a weird, confusing storyline that takes away a lot of the suspense building up during the first book.
Then there’s the brainwashing/CIA angle, and I thought that was completely out of place. In book one, we got a madman trying to brainwash people for his own sadistic purposes. That’s creepy. When you add in brainwashing/CIA, it just turns ridiculous. You can’t have crazy doctors, carnivals, the CIA and creepy cults in one book without it becoming laughable at some point. I loved the ghost story unfolding in the first book, but now it turned out to be something more psychological, and it lost my interest almost completely.
When I picked up this book, I expected it to be another creepy paranormal read, in the same vein as its predecessor. Unfortunately, it’s not. Parts of it are boring, some parts are totally random and don’t have any connection to previous events. It almost felt like I was reading a completely different series. The worst part? It wasn’t scary at all. A dissapointment. I bought the third book on a whim (I bought book one, loved it, and then purchased two and three) so I’ll read it just for the sake of finishing the series, and hopefully it’ll be a better read than this one.