Book Review: Catacomb

|+| Triggers: Stalking, torture, kidnapping, grave robbing, murder |+|

“Never know what that kind of thing might stir up. Bad energies and the like.” ~Fats (Catacomb)


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Author: Madeleine Roux

Genre: Mature YA Horror

Previous Reviews in the Series: Asylum, Sanctum

Summary: Sometimes the past is better off buried.

Senior year is finally over. After all they’ve been through, Dan, Abby, and Jordan are excited to take one last road trip together, and they’re just not going to think about what will happen when the summer ends. But on their way to visit Jordan’s uncle in New Orleans, the three friends notice that they are apparently being followed.. And Dan starts receiving phone messages from someone he didn’t expect to hear from again—someone who died last Halloween.

As the strange occurrences escalate, Dan is forced to accept that everything that has happened to him in the past year may not be a coincidence, but fate—a fate that ties Dan to a group called the Bone Artists, who have a sinister connection with a notorious killer from the past. Now, Dan’s only hope is that he will make it out of his senior trip alive.

My Opinion: Apparently the final book in the Asylum Series Catacomb had a lot to live up to. It had the diversity that I was looking for, it did a fine job connecting the dots and it had a pretty big task of connecting Bookline to other areas. Unfortunately for me this book fell short in a number of ways. I was pretty bummed by this book and gave it 3 stars.

Ok, so the idea is that the kids run into a lot of haunted areas that all connect back to Brookline. This is where the plot really had me and where it really fell short. Early on we see connections between Micha and the places Dan and his friends visit. There’s some creepy stuff at the start connected to this, and you know it’s going to connect back to Brookline. It doesn’t. At the very end there’s a bit of connection, but it’s all speculation. Now in horror and in a story like this, speculation is a given. There’s always a bit of open ended-ness when it comes down to a story like this yet Catacomb gave us a perfect ending…so perfect that it didn’t make any sense with the rest of the series or even the book. The ending felt like a cop out and like the ending to a different series.

The Asylum series has treated everything else, the torture that mental patients underwent, the impact of the torture on the victims and their families, the loneliness of being an outcast, social anxiety, mental illnesses, and the history of the places very realistically. That’s one of the biggest selling points for me about this series, and Catacomb while touching on these issues, just didn’t fit into that.

This book felt much more like a legal thriller than anything else. Sure there were some random spooky parts, but the spookiest was actually at the beginning and never elaborated on. Like a ghost it was there one minute, gone the next. Unlike a ghost, no one actually thought about it afterwards.

The writing style was there. The characterizations were there. I’ve come to love and expect good plot twists from Roux and those were there too. Yet the story never tied into Brookline. We spent two books dealing with Brookline, Dan and his friends even talk about how they can’t leave Brookline behind yet that’s exactly what the book does.

It was endlessly frustrating for me and it made me lose interest in the book around the half way mark. Catacomb had a great idea going for it and so much potential. It had great characters, it had great writing, and it had so much to dig into, yet I really did feel like it held back. If I had known this book was a thriller more towards the legal/conspiracy side than it was an actual horror and ghost story like it’s predecessors, maybe I wouldn’t be so disappointed. And despite that perfectly wrapped bow ending, which didn’t feel like it belonged in this book, I personally think there’s a lot more to be answered for (like the whole dropped plot line with Brookline and the Warden, there’s still a lot of questions to be answered).

While Catacomb fell short for me in a lot of ways, it kept the good things with Dan, Abby, and Jordan. Their friendship faced more hurdles and it’s always fun and interesting to see their group dynamics. Even if the ideas didn’t seem fully fleshed out, they were interesting. I’m a huge fan of the first two books and despite my issues with it, I did enjoy this book. Just not as much as I expected. I’m glad I read it and I’m glad I have this series. Maybe when I go back and re-read this book I’ll enjoy it more the second time.

TL;DR: While good, this book disappointed me. It read more like a thriller/conspiracy theory book instead of a ghost/horror story like the other two books. It fell flat in making connections to the first two books although the writing style in was still strong and consistent. Over all it really didn’t feel like it was following the same story line as the rest of the series. Catacomb failed to make some vital connections that could have really brought in the scares. But it was still a good book and I still enjoyed reading about Dan and the gang again. I just wish I had had a heads up that it read so differently plot wise than the other books and strayed so far from Brookline. Maybe I’ll enjoy it more when I go back and re-read it. And trust me I will, the Asylum series is one of my favorites. If you’ve read and loved the first two books, by all means finish the series, this is a good book! Just don’t expect the same sort of creepy that Asylum and Sanctum delivered.


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