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InspiringInsomnia

Inspiring Insomnia

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The Dollhouse Asylum

The Dollhouse Asylum - Mary Gray The Dollhouse Asylum features one of the worst love triangles imaginable: a girl who is spineless, insipid, and subservient; a guy who is a murderous, raving lunatic; and another guy who is only notable because he is the lunatic's brother. If those were my only choices, I might hope for the disease called the Living Rot, to take me instead.

The events of The Dollhouse Asylum are so out there that I kept waiting for Cheyenne, the protagonist, to wake up and declare it all a mere nightmare. Instead, Cheyenne mostly sits back and waits for kisses from her absolutely insane and absolutely abominable boyfriend, Teo, while madness swirls around her.

The Living Rot is a (fantastically-named) disease that had supposedly been eradicated. When it returns, Teo brings Cheyenne and fourteen other people to a disease-free community called Elysian Fields. He tells them that he has a vaccine, but to obtain it, the residents must impersonate famous couples - some fictional, some real. If they portray these couple accurately, they will be rewarded with the vaccine. If not, they will be killed. I'll pause here while you try to absorb this, because I'm still not sure I understand...
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OK, I'm back. Of course, the first question is, why did these people tolerate Teo's madness? Even after he murdered several of them, the survivors still obeyed his orders. This wasn't a situation where they were born into a cult and indoctrinated into its bizarre ways. Instead, they were plucked out of their normal lives and told, "Make me believe you're Romeo and Juliet, or you die." It was never adequately explained how Teo was able to wield such power over them, and that was one of the biggest failings of the book.

The other major failing was the love triangle between Cheyenne, Teo, and Marcus, Teo's brother. I think Teo was supposed to be a sexy, dangerous type, a la The Darkling, but he was simply abhorrent. He reveals his madness very early on, but Cheyenne continues to swoon over him. She's convinced he's merely misguided, even after he murders several people and threatens her own life. Her stupidity made it impossible for me to have an ounce of sympathy for her. As for Teo, what exactly was it that drew him to Cheyenne? Perhaps he was attracted to her gullibility, but this is another aspect of the story that didn't make any sense. The third side of this twisted love triangle is Teo's brother, Marcus. He's as dim-witted as Cheyenne, but at least he wasn't trying to murder her; I suppose that's a point in his favor.

I'll leave you with this quote from Cheyenne: "Am I really one of those girls who needs to have a boy?" If you have to ask yourself that as you continue to happily make out with a guy after watching him murder people, the answer might be, "YES."

Note - I received an ARC from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.