Phoenix's Reviews > Danvers Asylum

Danvers Asylum by Chrystian Marrero
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Jul 27, 11

bookshelves: blogged-review
Read in June, 2011

As I look at the cover of this novella and read the blurb, I can’t help but wonder what horrors this asylum hold, just what lies in the pages. This first novella of Chrystian Marrero promises to be an exciting, terrifying read, and I’m eager to begin.
Chrystian paints a vivid picture as though he was there, and the writing perspective at the start feels as if you’re reading it from the perspective of the rookie guard, or maybe a reporter following their steps, a very interesting effect.
The contempt for the inmates is almost palpable, as well as the fear and nervousness, and excitement upon discovering who the new inmate is. The story then goes so far as to almost exude the anxiety felt by the guards at what would happen if 2 yet-to-be-named characters found out they knew the identity of that guy.
And this is just the prologue!
The rest of the story does not fail to live up to the imagery built in the prologue.
The sinister excitement felt by the doctor is contagious, and I feel myself pulled in to his mind, seeing, hearing and feeling what he is experiencing.
As John settles in to his room, curiosity is piqued, and makes the reader eager to hear more about the asylum, and what makes this new inmate so special, why the doctor is so eager for him to be institutionalized, and why the mysterious Edgar is second-guessing this unexplained plan.
One truly feels for John, trapped against his seemingly sane will, in a place he doesn’t belong. As he strains to pinpoint sounds, Chrystian’s skill had me holding my breath with John, straining to listen, as if I would hear what John heard.
As the story develops, thanks to the gossiping guards, one feels all the more sorry for John, and contempt for the wicked doctor increases.
However, once the tale delves in to John’s writing, it makes you wonder, is he truly sane and locked up due to a whim of an evil man? Or is there something sinister lurking deep within, yet to be seen?
John’s novels, Inside A Madman’s Delusions and Evil At Tydeman’s Hotel are touched upon, and, in doing so, Chrystian creates the desire to read them, and discover for ones self just what it is about them that causes such reactions. Thankfully, he obliges, and as the doctor discovers the horrors within, so does is the reader taken along for the shocking ride.
As secrets slowly unravel, larger ones emerge, and the desire to continue reading grows. The horrific scenes described in this novella certainly don’t totally overwhelm, as Chrystian has the talent to sneak in a slight chuckle from time to time, just enough to ease tension of not yet knowing the whole story, but not so much as to detract from the horror and suspense woven in to every word.
The characters in this novel are relatable in one way or another, and this is very important for the success of any story. The constant little surprises keep the curiosity high, and allow the mind to try to guess what lies between the lines.
The twists and turns keep you guessing, and keep the mind well and truly hooked. The fact that Chrystian has kept the character list quite small is wonderful, as there is no trying to remember how someone fits in to the story. As for the characters themselves, they each have a slight history that is explained in such detail, you feel like you almost know each of them.
As for how it ends? Well, you’ll just have to read it and find out, won’t you?

Very few novels/novellas draw me in quite as Chrystian has managed to do with Danvers Asylum. The horrifying scenes have been written so deftly that they’re clear in the mind’s eye, and you want to make them stop playing, but you just can’t take your eyes off the page. Fantastically horrifying, this is a must read for horror and suspense fans!
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