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Asylum #1.5, 2.5, 3.5

The Asylum Novellas: The Scarlets / The Bone Artists / The Warden

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Three teens are pushed to the edge of their sanity in these chilling novellas set in the world of the New York Times bestselling Asylum series, featuring terrifying found photographs and a sneak peek at a new prequel novel, Escape from Asylum.

Before Dan, Abby, and Jordan ever stepped foot inside the Brookline asylum, its legacy of terror stretched far and deep. Enter the twisted world of the New York Times bestselling Asylum series with these three spine-tingling novellas starring supporting characters from the novels, available in a print bind-up for the first time.

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.…

Be careful where you go digging in history. Sometimes the past is better off buried.

This edition also includes a bonus sneak peek at Escape from Asylum, a prequel to the mind-bending novel that started it all.

337 pages, Paperback

First published February 2, 2016

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About the author

Madeleine Roux

39 books4,320 followers
New York Times Bestselling Author of the ASYLUM series, Allison Hewitt Is Trapped, Sadie Walker Is Stranded and the upcoming House of Furies series.

MADELEINE ROUX received her BA in Creative Writing and Acting from Beloit College in 2008. In the spring of 2009, Madeleine completed an Honors Term at Beloit College, proposing, writing and presenting a full-length historical fiction novel. Shortly after, she began the experimental fiction blog Allison Hewitt Is Trapped. Allison Hewitt Is Trapped quickly spread throughout the blogosphere, bringing a unique serial fiction experience to readers.

Born in Minnesota, she now lives and works in Seattle, Washington.

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5 stars
654 (33%)
4 stars
644 (33%)
3 stars
492 (25%)
2 stars
114 (5%)
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32 (1%)
Displaying 1 - 30 of 189 reviews
Profile Image for Ashley Daviau.
1,757 reviews754 followers
August 1, 2017
I was a little worried that this collection would go the way of so many other novellas and just be reiterations of stuff that we already read in the main books of the series. But I was pleasantly surprised that this ended up being all new material!

And was it ever stellar material! So much so that I'm left wishing that each of these novellas had a whole book of their own. Each story had my complete and total attention from beginning to end and I just couldn't seem to turn the pages fast enough!

I thought these three novellas each packed more of a punch individually than the whole rest of the series combined! They each had me on the edge of my seat and they were SO much creepier than the main trilogy.

I could honestly go on and on about how great this collection was, I really really loved it! Each story was exciting yet chilling at the same time and I couldn't pick a favourite if I tried. This was truly an excellent add-on to the rest of the series!
Profile Image for Cindee.
810 reviews35 followers
May 6, 2019
These novellas are the perfect way to find all of the pieces of not quite explained things from the other novels. In these three novellas I liked the characters they were all well written I especially liked Cal,Oliver, and Jocelyn these stories really explain many things about characters that were not explored in previous novels I really liked how they were depicted in these novellas. I really liked the plots of these stories in The Scarlets it explains really well how Cal ended up becoming like he was in the second book all the pieces made more sense after reading the first story. In the Bone Artists it really does a really good job of telling you how Oliver ended up like his did it makes the things that happened in the last book make more sense to me. In the Warden it shows how Nurse Ash ended up being the way she was in the prequel it made all that make so much more sense since I now had more of the pieces. So overall I really liked this novellas and would read more by this author.
Profile Image for Reading is my Escape.
850 reviews45 followers
November 25, 2016
Creepy backstories to Asylum...  
If you enjoyed the Asylum series and are looking for new insights into that world, you should read this. The book consists of three novellas, The Scarlets, The Bone Artists, and The Warden. It has been a while since I read the first two Asylum books, so I didn't get as much out of this. But if you just read the Asylum books, you will probably enjoy this and it will add to your enjoyment and give more clues to the mysteries of Asylum.
Profile Image for Irene ➰.
496 reviews76 followers
October 15, 2018
TOTAL: 3.6/6

The Scarlets ★★.6/5

The Bone Artists ★★★.2/5

The Warden ★★★★★/5

Nice collection of stories that expand our Asylum universe.
As you can see I found the first one kinda boring, in the second one there's definetely more action, but the third one was absolutely perfection. That's exactly what I wanted to read, loved it👌🏻
Profile Image for Zombieslayer⚡Alienhunter.
396 reviews67 followers
August 6, 2017
What follows is something of a micro review for the Asylum series as a whole.

Madeleine Roux's Asylum trilogy, though I would admit I wouldn't call those first two books 'horror', is a chilling ride of mystery that, for two years now, I've thoroughly enjoyed.
While the story of the Hydra- Dan, Abby and Jordan, was concluded in Catacomb, (though I, myself, am holding out for a reunion novel featuring them all six kinds of fucked up ten years out of Brookline) these three novellas provide small windows into the stories of characters we met briefly, and are told in Roux's usual atmospheric, easy tone.

The Scarlets
Cal Erikson, the boat shoe-wearing prettyboy from Sanctum wasn't always the aggressive, brash antagonist we met in that book.
He was just a second-year at New Hampshire College once, and at one time, he was a father's son, and an unwitting pawn in a conspiring game of secret societies.

5 stars.
I freaking hated Cal in Sanctum He was forgiven in the end for spoilery reasons, but altogether, I didn't like him at all. I was kind of pissed off in Catacomb when it turned out him and a certain dark-haired, bespectacled smartass were still an item.
Why the five stars, you ask?
Did everyone think he was beyond help?
When you can make me feel for a character I wanted to slap, you've done something impressive. Cal was way less hateble by the end of the story, and it even softened his character enough for me to be okay with him in Sanctum.
Also a side character said 'frakking'.
My life is complete.

The Bone Artists.
Oliver and Sabrina, the ass-kicking power couple from Catacomb weren't always the level, sneaky adults they are in that book.
Before Dan, Abby and Jordan stumbled into their store in the Big Easy, they were just regular teenagers with dreams, hopes and lives they hoped to live.
Oliver and his best friend Micah, who would later become Cal Erikson's roommate at NHC, just so happen to fuel those hopeful fantasies with money earned from shady business done for 'the Bone Artists'.
When Oliver wants out, the severance may be of a different kind than he expects.
"You won't never be right in the spirit again."

5 stars.
I've barely even thought about Oliver and Sabrina since I read Catacomb, but hearing their tragedies told like this, knowing how they became who they were, and that ending...
This one was my favorite, I think. It had all the voodoo-inspired, lively characteristics of that last book, but at the same time, at its root, it was just plain sad. A good horror story should always leave you this way.

The Warden
In the spring of 1968, Nurse Jocelyn Ash and friend Madge make the long journey to Brookline Mental Hospital, and right away, Warden Daniel Crawford takes an interest in bright, caring Jocelyn.
He decides to let her in on his 'secret project', involving violent little girl Lucy, and problem patient Ricky Desmond.
What follows are the very bones of what Brookline would later become.
The hammer blow of the punishment never fell. But Jocelyn still waited for it.

5 stars. I read Escape from Asylum just two months ago, and it was a frightening, depressing trot down memory lane to face Nurse Ash again.
Escape was a hell of a prequel, and The Warden was the perfect, sad, somewhat anti-climactic (on purpose, I imagine) cap to this series.

This series is definitely a favorite, and even though each individual book only got four stars, this collection deserves all five. For attention to character development, atmosphere, and emotion, Roux gets all my praise for this, the end.
I'm sad this is the last adventure in the Asylum universe, but it was an awesome ride, and I'll always have a favorite author in Madeleine Roux because of it.

I can't wait to jump back in Aunt Maddie's (oh, shut up. If one fanbase can do it, so can the rest of us) head with House of Furies very soon.

We're off on grander adventures.

Profile Image for Courtney.
740 reviews157 followers
April 25, 2016
It was okay.

Cal's story, the Scarlett's was the best out of the three, in my opinion. You don't see a major change from the character we met in the second book, since he's such a minor character there, but it's interesting to get some background info on what led up to Dan & co.s' arrival.
The one I liked least was the third one, the Warden. Unlike the other two we see events through a totally new character, a nurse newly hiring on at Brookhaven. (I think she's new anyway - if not, she didn't stand out much in the first book.) I think it was supposed to be creepy - odd events happening at the institution, mistreatment of patients - but it definitely fell short.

Overall, it's an okay read. Nice to wrap up the series with further insight, but that's about it. C grade novella set to finish up a B grade series.
Profile Image for Natalie.
2,445 reviews52 followers
August 9, 2016
Overall these stories were decent, but I like the novels. I would NOT recommend reading these before you read the main novels as it will give things away.

Here's the breakdown:

The Scarlets - it was interesting to get some background on Cal as his character was never really developed. I found I liked him a lot more in this.

The Bone Artists - gives a lot of background of Oliver and his situation. I wasn't very sympathetic to him when I read Catacomb but felt more sympathetic to him in this.

The Warden - this one will give you the most spoilers if you read it first. I liked how interconnected it was with the main series. The ending is very depressing though.

Overall good, but I prefer the main series.
Profile Image for Nicole Alycia.
557 reviews30 followers
December 5, 2018
4.5/5 stars!
An interesting look into the world of Brookline before our main trip from the Asylum series walks through its doors.
Each story gives a unique perspective into the parts of the story you don’t learn as much about. Overall, a great set of short stories that kept up that creepy, conspiracy theory vibe!
Profile Image for Mae.
11 reviews
March 16, 2016
I have the e-book of The Scarlets and The Bone Artists. I'm pretty certain that I'll get the e-book for The Warden too. Then, the announcement of release date happened. The e-book for The Warden and the novella compilation has the same release date so where did I settle? The physical copy, of course. It has photographs and a specific font for talking ghosts. I'm simple like that.

Rated the novella compilation 4/5 stars because The Warden was ace.

Spoilers ahead. Read at your own risk.

The Scarlets

It is the origin story of Cal or Mr. boat shoes as Jordan nicknamed him before he's associated with The Scarlets, a some sort of cult that is lead by Professor Reyes with Warden Crawford's visions/stuff as their holy relic. (I don't know how exactly how to describe it, okay.) The Scarlets is known by the New Hampshire College students as a fraternity with excelling students and alumni as its members. (Shhhh. We know better.) I can say that Cal is paralleled to Jordan. He likes boys, he is good in maths, he drinks alcohol before classes and finally, his friends are dating each other just like Dan and Abby. The thing that made them different was Cal is privileged. He is the son of the dean and his father doesn't give a heck if he likes boys as long as he has good reputation and grades. Cal has his set of...worries - He has a crush on this lacrosse player named Devon but he knows that he doesn't have the chance, his relationship with his friends Micah and Lara is getting distant and lastly, his father that keeps on pressuring him to be a reputable son. Along the road of being a reputable son, he met Fallon who tutored him in English and is also part of the school newspaper that desperately wants to dig the secrets hidden by The Scarlets. Cal also joined the excavations at the Warden's office with Professor Reyes where he start dreaming and seeing a ghost asking him if he's here to help or if they're like them. He wants his worries gone and The Scarlets can shoo it away for him but it caused a lot and before he knew the consequences, he became like them.

This novella for me is 3/5 stars. I can't really empathize with Cal's situation for it can be solved. It's not like he can't fight The Scarlets back. He has friends. His father, despite being a bastard love him. Cal could have turn the situation different but he went with the flow so I don't pity him at all.

The Bone Artists

This is the story of Oliver when he's associated with The Bone Artists, a group that robs graves for money. Together with Micah, Oliver does this job in order to save up for his dream college. He is in honor roll but Oliver doesn't want his father to spend money on him for they only have this antique shop as business. Like The Scarlets, The Bone Artists are keen and set their beliefs first and if you dare disobey/betray them, they'll take what's important to you. The Bone Artists make amulets by using the bone of the dead which is linked to Warden Crawford's superstitious belief of its power to control. Oliver learned the hard way and lost everything. On the other hand, Micah chose to be obedient.

It's 2/5 star rating. I'm not into Catacomb for I think the amulet business for people want control as the core of horror is pretty ridiculous in my opinion. I actually feel bad for Oliver. He's a good person like...inside and out and the bone stealing business made him glum. The thing I found really amusing is that Micah swore both for The Bone Artists and The Scarlets. He's really living the life. Ha-hah.

The Warden

Basically, this is the story of an unfortunate nurse named Jocelyn who worked at Warden Crawford's time. She came with her best friend Madge I can't even with this story. Warden Crawford's sanity is not tackled and that bothers me a lot. Lucy calls him a butcher but technically, he only crack people's head open then let them do their thing afterward. I mean, for what purpose? To save people's lives? You're doing it wrong, Mr. Warden. Like...we knew that he's some sort of prodigy despite his unorthodox methods. We knew that the Warden's childhood is not a pretty one yet despite knowing these facts, we still don't know what his true intentions are. He stated that he wants control but then, what? Take over the world?

I'm hoping that by after reading this, I'll finally understand Warden Crawford's nature but this story made him more complex and...I love it. I want more and that makes this story 5/5 stars. A prequel would be nice, Roux. Please. I need more Warden Crawford.
Profile Image for Angel (Bookn.All.Night).
1,417 reviews27 followers
April 29, 2020
Some readers don't enjoy novellas in a series. For the most part I do as they bring backstory to some of the main books. I enjoyed reading these 3 novellas as it explains some of the history behind the books I've already finished.
Profile Image for Leeann Sheriff.
78 reviews12 followers
March 10, 2016
The Scarlets tells a little more information about how some of the students become members of the Scarlets. They run the town, school and more. Only coming from prominent families.

The Bone Artist, tells how some of the students are paid to dig up dead peoples bodies in the cemetery for the Bone Artists benefits. Interesting to know that they are severely punished if they refuse to bring the bones or if they art caught in the act.

The Warden, talks about how there were people hired to work in the asylum. Has different stories about Warden Crawford and how He takes some of the patients and uses them in experiments where they are operated on without hopes of getting better. I like also how it talks more about Lucy. Shows that in the beginning there really was not that much wrong with her but that Warden Crawford made her worse by giving her a frontal lobotomy.
Profile Image for Jen.
139 reviews2 followers
February 19, 2017
these were pretty good little short stories set in the asylum world. even though they have the 1.5 and 2.5 distinctions, I would wait to read these until you have finished the series as some things that are "twists" will be spoiled in the novels. I enjoyed these little glimpses of what happened to character who were not one of the big three. it was cool to see the subtle hints or mentions of characters or events in that took place in the main works. another 3.5 star read.
Profile Image for Zach.
468 reviews1 follower
December 7, 2017
Overall, there was a decent amount of background info that added to the main stories, but this could have easily been part of the main stories in a condensed format. Not as much horror as I expected, and I had trouble getting interested enough to continue the book.

Recommended reading order for the series:


But that’s just my opinion.

Anyway, I think books 1 and 2 were the best.
135 reviews10 followers
January 13, 2018
Read 'The Scarlets' last night and LOVED it! Will update this review when I get to #2.5 in the series..'The Bone Artists'. I started #2 this morning 'Sanctum'...so far it is Creepy FANTASTIC!

**Update: Just finished #2.5 and man oh man..the plot thickens!! This story is a crazy roller coaster ride and I am screaming with delight!

*Update: Finished 'The Warden', and it was ok. I expected a better ending to this series. Overall, the series rocked!!
Profile Image for Andy.
168 reviews5 followers
August 12, 2016
Added nothing to the already established novels. All 3 stories had plots that finally became intriguing only for it to end abruptly. I would've loved to know more about the Scarlets and Bone Artists and how both groups came into play at Brookline. Pointless novellas in my opinion.
Profile Image for Kristina Kercher.
62 reviews4 followers
March 14, 2016
I'm only finished because I got halfway thru and couldn't keep going... The first novella is good, tho.
Profile Image for Konrāds.
102 reviews3 followers
July 3, 2017
These novellas didn't add much to the story but they were still nice.
July 27, 2022
i feel its unfair to give it a rating seeing as i haven't read the full series. the asylum novellas offer 3 different stories in one book, all of which are fairly engaging. having said that,

Profile Image for Ali.
490 reviews42 followers
June 25, 2022
☼ 152/ 108

Each novella in this collection is a one-star for me. I was bored, didn't care, and I feel like novellas are meant to add depth to the already well-known and loved stories and these gave me NOTHING that I cared about.
Profile Image for Jess Whatley.
97 reviews
September 10, 2022
Probably the quickest in the series. I enjoyed reading from the villains perspective…character development was fantastic for the limited amount of pages devoted to each short story. Read this one in a day
Profile Image for lee .
43 reviews
June 21, 2022
The first two stories in this are 3 stars, but The Warden is def 5 stars. Really liked the loose ends it tied up.
Profile Image for Kai Van.
543 reviews13 followers
October 17, 2020
CW: casual abelism (cr*zy, ins*ne, d*mb), multiple instances of the term s*v*ge

3 stories, each receiving a 4/5 stars. a nice little addition to the asylum series. liked it a lot!
Profile Image for mckaylah.
30 reviews
February 1, 2020
The Scarlets

”There are always two deaths, the real one and the one people know about.”


Seeing as it’s a novella, it’s no surprise how quick of a read it was. Only took me about an hour and a half max (including my ten minute homework break). Personally, Cal’s character always intrigued me ever since he was introduced in the second book (where his past/story was never truly explored and touched on), so I was pretty excited when I realized he was the main character. His personality and narrative was a fresh breath of air from the rest of Roux’s MCs. He lacked that “know-it-all” vibe that bothered me so much about Dan and Ricky.

The novella fulfilled its promises: patched up the missing gaps and answered unresolved questions from the second book. However, contrary to the title (Asylum #1.5), I would refrain from reading this prior to the second novel due to some major spoilers.

Extra note: it was also cute seeing Cal’s softer and innocent side, whereas in his other appearance, he’s more of a stone-cold, cocky heartthrob.

Extra extra note: the origin behind the boat shoes was kinda cute awh.

The Bone Artists

”If someone is deadweight, how long do you hold on? What if they’re dragging you down with them?”


Although weaker than the first novella, I didn’t hate this read. Could’ve been better, or at least a little more entertaining, but I didn’t have too many complaints about it.

However, Micah’s character seemed so off to me. He wasn’t the same lovable country boy he was in Sanctum, but rather selfish and arrogant. Perhaps that’s supposed to be his character development, who knows. . .

Also, Oliver’s character bores me (sorry not sorry). As for “side characters,” I loved Jordan, I loved Cal, I even loved Micah (at one point or another). But I just never really clicked with Oliver. Nonetheless, the story helped fill in some plot holes / mysteries from the third installment, so overall, I’m satisfied.

The Warden

”She will be the perfect demonstration—Lucy is tragic, yes, but to witness a fall from sound to unsound? To be powerless to stop such degradation? It will bring the girl around and it will sharpen her into a fine tool for my use.”

4.25 STARS

Chills. Literal chills from the final chapter. I can say without a doubt this was 100% my favorite book from the entire series.

It truly was disturbing, and I mean that as a compliment. Certain scenes really dug under my skin, making me shudder. I can’t stop thinking about the last few lines and how horrifically beautiful they were.

I do have certain unanswered questions, but none too pressing that they’ll keep me up at night. All in all, I was worried that the novellas were going to be disappointing compared to the main three books, but in fact, I believe they were 10x stronger.

P.S. I liked Ricky’s little cameo. I hate to admit it, but I KINDA missed him.
Profile Image for Shelley.
445 reviews19 followers
May 24, 2019
This collection of Asylum short stories gives insight into some of the side characters in the Asylum series by revealing their back stories.

The Warden is by far theist notable story because it has a lot of the darker undertones and mystery to it that the first two books in the series maintain throughout. In the Warden we learn the back story of Nurse Joy and along with her story, we learn that the Asylum has a dark secret and it’s not just the unethical and disturbing experiments on the patients, but that even the nurses and orderlies are not free from insanity at Brookline’s Asylum.

In the second story we learn how Oliver and Micah get mixed up with the Bone Artists, a secret society that steals human bones and artifacts in belief that they can create powerful magical artifacts with them. After Oliver realizes that what the Bone Artists are doing is truly wrong, it’s too late. And the price for leaving the Bone Artists is deadly. After Oliver tries to leave the cult, two people both mysteriously die in an automobile accident, on the same road, hit by the same car. Coincidence? I think not.

The Scarlets is a very difficult story to get into considering the author is trying to make us feel sympathetic to an unsympathetic character. However there is a rather big twist at the end of this short story that makes it well worth reading.

If you’ve fallen into the mystery of the Brookline Asylum then you’ll enjoy these stories.
Profile Image for emily_oriley.
356 reviews2 followers
February 25, 2020
So, at the end of Monkey Island 2, the computer game from the 90’s, you get a very sarcastic congratulations for finishing the game and then an enormous list of things you could’ve done INSTEAD of playing this game.

That’s how I feel right now. Only whereas that was a funny joke in tune with the tone of the game, this feeling is frustrated. Because there are so many things I probably should have done instead of reading these novellas.

First of all, the author is taking two barely even sub-characters and trying to inject personalities into them they CLEARLY did not have in the previous books. Then adding in a sprinkling of some Easter eggs that really don’t add anything to the overall story. So mee-maw worked at the asylum? Cool beans. Just one question though, why the f*** does Dan see ghosts when the lore establishes there are no ghosts within this universe?!?!?! What up with the visions?!? How come Abby hears things sometimes but Jordan’s pretty much unfazed once he leaves Brookline? These are the things I want to know!

Anyway, yeah, did not like. But, hey, if you’re a fan of this series, you’ll probably like these. I dunno - world building, I guess? Even though not really. Just so pointless.
424 reviews
March 20, 2017
If you haven't read the series or the prequel this could give you a taste of what to expect. I had read the trilogy, then the prequel and then the novellas. The novellas do give you a little extra than what you got in the books but nothing earth shattering and you could easily skip these. The only one I thought really added something was the Warden, which is kind of a prequel to the prequel, Escape from Asylum.

In Escape, the incident with Madge is referenced vaguely. In the novella you find out what happened to her - sort of. I say sort of because you learn what happened to her but are left questioning how she got to that point. And also really left wondering why Tanner was so angry at Jocelyn in Escape as nothing in the novella explains that. I was surprised that the time between the novella and Escape was very short. When I'd read Escape it seemed to me that Jocelyn had been working there a long time, but apparently not, when you read the novella.

Overall it was an okay read. If you're new to the series or really into it, then might be worth a read. Otherwise you can read the trilogy and prequel and skip these and it won't matter.
Profile Image for Diego Sanchez.
88 reviews33 followers
June 19, 2017
I read this book because I got so excited about this saga, since the first book was good for me and I loved the development of the characters. These stories function as a prequel for each of them, with "new characters" that later will be introduced in the books from the saga. First of all, the three stories are not related, which helps you to read it as short "scary stories" that you can read in one day.

"The Scarlets" was good, I enjoyed seeing the development of the character and how he gets involve in that world, but didn't find it scary, was more informational for me. About "The Bone Artists" it was a really good story, but I found hard to get involved with the characters and I found this main character very different from the one of Sanctum.
Finally, "The Warden" was my favorite, I think that it serves as a good prequel and it completely blow my mind, I love the hospital environment and the emotions transmited by the nurses.
A book that you will enjoy even if you are a fan or not from the saga, but some questions will appear, so it is better if you read all of them.
Profile Image for The_Books_Music_Life.
346 reviews15 followers
September 15, 2018
I didn’t know how to rate this so i rated and reviewed each story individuality.


The Scarlets -

The Scarlets was some what interesting, it was nice to see Cal again but i didnt find the story that great, it was really slow for me and i felt like i was re-reading things. — 3 stars


The Bone Artist -

I had such a hard time getting through this book. I love Madeleine Roux writing and the world that is the Asylum series. But i just didn't find the Bone Artist that interesting. I couldn’t get into Oliver and Micah’s story no matter how hard i tried. — 2 stars


The Warden -

Was the best story in my opinion, it was quick and interesting and i didn't want to put it down. Ever since i read the Asylum series i wanted to know what happened to Madge; and though we didn't get the clearest picture of just what happened to her-mainly what made her go, crazy for lack of a better word- I thought Madeleine Roux did a brave yet risky thing for Madge's fate it was graphic but i felt the story would have been lessened if it didn't go that way.
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