Miss Peregrine's was such an unique read because all of the photos that accompanied the story were original. Ransom Riggs wrote a story around the creepy photos he had found at flea markets and photograph collectors. It is quite obvious that the photographs in Asylum were staged to complement the story. All of the photos feel very fake and don't really add much to the overall feel of Asylum. There were times when I felt like creepier photos should have been in this book rather than the mundane photos that were included. I know my ARC didn't have all of the interior art and photographs so it's a bit unfair to deride this book based on the visual components.
The characters in this book are definitely developed, but I wasn't the biggest fan of them. Dan acted like a petty child at sometimes and it bothered me how infatuated he was with Abby. Dan would notice such trivial things about Abby's appearance and obsess over it. It was a bit strange in my opinion how he fawned over her hair and how wavy it was. Last time I checked this isn't normal behaviour for a teenage guy. Abby was kind of a strange character but I still kind of liked her. I didn't understand why Dan was so enamored with her but she was definitely an interesting character. I felt like Jordan got the short end of the stick in this book because even though he is a main character, at times he felt kind of arbitrary. There were pages and pages went by where the author didn't even mention Jordan and I really wanted to know what was going on with him. He wasn't under-developed but I would have liked to see his character furthered in this book.
Asylum is a well-done mystery-thriller-horror combination and the plot is executed extremely well. There was a perfect balance of thrill and macabre ingrained in the plot but there were still moments where I felt a need to roll my eyes. Asylum is a very original novel but it still has some of the horror movie cliches. Seriously why would you enter an abandoned mental asylum alone? Besides the cliches, the plot was pretty original and enjoyable up until the ending. The ending felt like a total cop out and just a lame way to expand this book into an entire series. I seriously feel like this book would have worked better as a stand-alone, does every YA book need to be apart of a series? Whatever happened to good ol' stand-alones?
Bottomline: I enjoyed Asylum for the most part and I will reluctantly read the sequel. Asylum is a fast-paced thriller with just enough spookiness to give readers chills. This book isn't the next Miss Peregrine's but it's definitely a must-read for horror fans.